NASA takes potential Tropical Cyclone 10’s temperature


Credit: Credits: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

Cloud top temperatures are an important factor when it comes to determining the strength of storms. NASA's Aqua satellite gathered cloud top temperature data from potential tropical cyclone 10, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast.

On Aug. 28, the National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Surf City to Duck, North Carolina and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A Tropical Storm Watch is in also in effect south of Surf City to South Santee River, South Carolina.

The Atmospheric Infrared or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared data on Potential Tropical Cyclone 10 on Aug. 28 at 2:47 a.m. EDT (0647 UTC). Infrared data provides temperature information to scientists. The higher the cloud tops, the colder and the stronger the storms.

The image showed that the coldest cloud tops were colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). NASA research has shown that storms with cloud tops that cold, reached high into the troposphere and had the ability to generate heavy rain.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the low is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches along the northeastern South Carolina, North Carolina, and southeast Virginia coasts, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 9 inches. The heavier rains may result in some flooding concerns along coastal areas.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Aug. 28 the National Hurricane Center said "the area of minimum pressure associated with the disturbance was estimated near 31.4 degrees north latitude and 80.3 degrees west longitude. That puts the center about 100 miles (160 km) south-southwest of Charleston, South Carolina and about 240 miles (390 km) southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The system is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 p/h), and this motion with a gradual increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track the system will move over or near the coast of South Carolina today and move along the North Carolina Outer Banks on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the disturbance will likely become a tropical depression or a tropical storm later today or Tuesday.

Ocean swells generated by this disturbance will affect portions of the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coasts during the next day or two, creating dangerous surf and rip current conditions.

The potential tropical cyclone has a high chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next two days.


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By Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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Rob Gutro
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