Friday, May 28, 2010

Potential for First Named Tropical Storm in Pacific

 Satellite Image of   System 90E  (Credit NASA)
NASA Satellite Spots Forming Cyclone

The Eastern Pacific is likely to see its first named tropical cyclone of the hurricane season this weekend. NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of a low pressure area called "90E" in the Eastern Pacific that forecasters are watching for tropical development.  Once named, System 90E would become "Tropical Storm Agatha."

AIRS, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on Aqua, provides scientists with infrared satellite imagery. That imagery measures cloud top temperatures and sea surface temperatures.  Cloud tops of tropical cyclones are colder than -63 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cold temperatures in that range are indicative of strong thunderstorms and strong convection (rapidly rising air that condenses and forms the thunderstorms that power tropical cyclones).

The developing cyclone, with winds estimated to be 20 to 25 knots (23-28 mph), was first spotted 205 nautical miles south of Salina Cruz, Mexico early AM on May 27th,   The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) indicated that potential for the development of a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is good.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has begun to monitor this potential tropical storm and will issue advisories if warranted.   We will keep an eye on this potential storm also and provide updates.    Monitor the NHC (Eastern Pacific) RSS feeds in the left navigation pane for advisories.

See where ships are relative to tropical storms
Interactive tracking map (real-time ship tracking)

NASA is also tracking another potential tropical cyclone in the Western Pacific near Hong Kong.  We will monitor System 90W for further development also.

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