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NASA infrared image sees the new 9th East Pacific tropical depression

By Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

The ninth tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season formed over this past weekend, and it looks like it’s on a slow track to getting a name. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center note in their discussion on August 10 that computer models indicate that it may strengthen enough to become a tropical storm in couple of days.

This AIRS Infrared image from August 10 shows cold high clouds (in blue) from TD9E are in two areas, indicating a disorganized tropical cyclone. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

This AIRS Infrared image from August 10 shows cold high clouds (in blue) from TD9E are in two areas, indicating a disorganized tropical cyclone. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 9E (TD9E) remains disorganized, and that’s evident in NASA’s satellite data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. The AIRS infrared image reveals 2 areas of clouds that make up TD9E, not a tight circle or comma shaped storm, which would indicate a well- organized tropical cyclone.

At 11 a.m. EDT, TD9E had sustained winds near 35 mph, and was moving west near 9 mph. It was quite far from land, near 14.9 north and 123.1 west. That’s about 1,025 miles west-southwest of the Baja California, an area that seems to be a hot-spot for tropical development this season. TD9E’s minimum central pressure is 1007 millibars.

AIRS satellite imagery from August 10 at 5:47 a.m. EDT shows that the storm doesn’t have any intense precipitation areas yet. NASA false-colors the AIRS infrared imagery to indicate the location of the highest clouds in a storm. In the AIRS imagery, purple coloration indicates the highest clouds, while blue coloration indicates lower clouds. The AIRS image indicated only the lower clouds in TD9E. Those clouds, however are still icy cold, about 240 Kelvin, or minus 27F.

The bottom line in storms is: the colder the clouds are, the higher they are, and the more powerful the thunderstorms are that make up the cyclone. TD9E has a way to go to get those powerful thunderstorms and the purple coloration show up in the NASA AIRS infrared satellite imagery.

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