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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Cyclone Fani

Cyclone Fani

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, May 3, 2019/Categories: natural history, photography, sustainability, environment, climate change

                            Cyclone Fani in the Bay of Bengal, 5-2-2019 (credit: AQUA project)

The AQUA Earth monitoring satellite captured a dramatic image of Cyclone Fani over the Bay of Bengal as it headed towards India's east coast. At the time of the remote sensing photograph, the cyclone's wind speeds of ~150mph and gusts up to 190mph as a Category-4 storm. Predictions vary but winds could exceed 200mph by the time it hits India making it a super-storm weather system. The storm has been amplified by high water temperatures in both the Sea of Bengal and the Indian Ocean surrounding the region. NOAA's Coral Reef Watch mapped surface water temperatures, up to 88F, that combined with the warm/humid atmosphere to rapidly fuel the storm.


A second environmental monitoring instrument, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) produced an infrared scan of Fani showing cloud temperatures within the cyclone. According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that manages AIRS, purple regions indicate cold clouds carried high into the atmosphere by deeper thunderstorms while warmer areas are shown in blue. Shallower rain cloud bands appear green. Orange represents cloud-free air moving away from the storm.


Weather maps produced by remote sensing satellites are critical environmental tools allowing for 'early warning' of pending disasters. At this point, details about the direct impacts of Cyclone Fani on the populated regions of India affected are unknown. As climate change continues to warm the atmosphere, expect many more of these extreme weather systems to occur.



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