Extreme Weather News

GPM Spots Potential South Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone

GPM Spots Potential South Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone

The GPM Core Observatory satellite saw possible tropical cyclone formation in the South Indian ocean on March 15, 2016 at 0900 UTC. A rainfall analysis using data collected by GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) shows rain bands wrapping around a tropical low. GPM's DPR measured rain falling at the extreme rate of over 220 mm (8.7 inches) per hour in powerful storms south of the low's center of circulation.

GPM Spots Potential South Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone

GPM's radar (DPR Ku Band) data were able to show the 3-D structure of precipitation within the tropical low. Storm tops heights were measured by GPM radar reaching altitudes above 15 km (9.3 miles). Intense showers were returning radar reflectivity values greater than 52 dbZ to the satellite.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) indicates that tropical cyclone formation is likely with this low due to favorable environmental factors such as low vertical wind shear and very warm ocean temperatures.

  • Images and caption by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC)