Extreme Weather News

Tropical Cyclone 02S Formation Observed By GPM

Australia is normally affected by 11 cyclones a year but only three formed during Australia's last summer. This year sea surface temperatures in the tropical waters around Australia are much warmer so an average tropical cyclone is forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). Tropical cyclone 02S formed in the Indian Ocean northwest of Australia yesterday. Another tropical cyclone is also expected to form soon in an area of intense convection west-northwest of Darwin, Australia.

Tropical Cyclone 02S Formation Observed By GPM

The GPM core observatory satellite flew above tropical cyclone 02S just a few hours after it's formation on December 19, 2016 at 2116 UTC . Tropical cyclone 02S was relatively small but GPM found that it contained some very intense thunderstorms near the center of circulation. GPM Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) data showed that 02S was dropping rain at a rate of over 127 mm (5 inches) per hour in this area of intense convective showers.

Tropical Cyclone 02S Formation Observed By GPM

GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) sliced through TC02S and revealed the 3-D structure of precipitation in storms located near the center of circulation. A few storm top heights in this area were revealed by DPR to reach altitudes above 17 km (10.5 miles).

The upper level winds above 02S are light so the tropical cyclone is predicted to be steered very slowly for a couple days. During this period the tropical cyclone's winds are predicted to increase to about 45 kts (~52 mph). 02S is then expected to move toward the northwestern coast of Australia but interaction with tropical disturbance (90S) may cause the direction of movement to be erratic.

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