Science and Technology News

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hurricane Season 2010: System 93P (South Pacific Ocean)

NASA's Aqua Satellite Sees System 93P Fire up in the South Pacific

A low pressure system that has a fair chance of becoming the world's next tropical cyclone has developed in the South Pacific, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured in infrared image of the storm.

System 93P, which is also designated in the Fiji Islands as "03F" for third tropical disturbance formed in the South Pacific Ocean. On Monday, January 10, 2011 at 0600 UTC (1 a.m. EST), it was located about 115 miles east-northeast of Port Vila, Vanuatu near 16.9 South and 170.0 East.

Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,090 miles (1,750 kilometers) east of northern Australia, and 301 miles (500 kilometers) northeast of New Caledonia and west of Fiji.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 93P on Jan. 10 at 1419 UTC (), it had maximum sustained winds near 28 mph and a minimum central pressure of 998 millibars. The infrared image provided an appearances of a circular motion, but didn't show a well-organized storm.

Animated multi-spectral imagery showed that convection in System 93P is strengthening and consolidating over the low level circulation center. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the weather station at Bauerfield efate, Vanuatu, is reporting that pressure has fallen three millibars over the last 24 hours, which indicates the low is strengthening.

Currently the deepest convection and strongest thunderstorms remain confined to the northern side of the system. Sea surface temperatures are currently near 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius) and any temperature near 80 F or higher can power a tropical cyclone and help it develop. Wind shear remains light, so there's a fair chance that this system could become a tropical depression in the next 24 hours.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

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