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Archive for the ‘Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission’ Category

Brazil Floods

Posted by feww on May 20, 2009

Extreme rainfall in northern Brazil caused by the Intertropical Convergence Zone  (May  2009)

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Northern Brazil.  Weeks of heavy rain over northern Brazil, which stareted in early April 2009 and persisted for several weeks, caused “the most severe flooding in more than two decades.” By May 20, flooding and mudslides killed about 45 people with nearly 400,000 others evacuated to emergency shelters, AFP said.

The image was based on data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite between April 12 and May 12, 2009, compared to average rainfall (millimeters per day) observed during that period between 1998 and 2008. Areas in which rainfall was heavier than normal are blue, while drier-than-normal regions are brown. The most prominent feature in the image is the large east-west band of very heavy rain stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the East to the northern Andes mountains of Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia in the West. This band is a direct result of the ITCZ.

The ITCZ is a normal rainfall pattern, so what caused the unusual rain in 2009? The anomaly image provides a clue: immediately north of the heavy rain is a strong east-west band of below-normal rainfall, shown in brown. The overall anomaly pattern shows that the ITCZ remained locked over northeastern Brazil instead of migrating northward over French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana as it would normally do.

One possible reason for this change in the ICTZ has to do with what is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. The oscillation describes changes in the relative strengths of two semi-permanent atmospheric pressure features over the North Atlantic: the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. When the index is positive, the pressure features are stronger. The NAO became strongly positive at the beginning of May, indicating that the Azores High was stronger than normal. As a result, stronger-than- normal trade winds from the northern hemisphere can flow in towards the ITCZ in the southern hemisphere. These winds not only create a surge in moisture into the ITCZ, but they can also impede its movement both directly and indirectly by blowing additional warm ocean surface waters southward.

Using both a passive microwave sensor and a space-borne precipitation radar, TRMM measures rainfall from space. For increased coverage, TRMM can be used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other additional satellites in an analysis called the TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA). This image was made from TMPA rainfall totals for Brazil and the surrounding region. Additional images and a more detailed caption are available on the TRMM website. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA. Image produced by Hal Pierce and caption by Steve Lang and Holli Riebeek. Instrument:  TRMM

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Trizidela do Vale, Northern Brazil. Locals do their laundry in the flooded streets. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Giving a new dimension to drought and deluge, more than 100 municipalities in southern Brazil are experiencing their worst drought in nearly 100 years, with government declaring a state of emergency throughout the region.

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Posted in Andes mountains, brazil flooding, North Atlantic Oscillation, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tropical Cyclone Bijli

Posted by feww on April 21, 2009

TC Bijli dumped as much as 50 mm of rain per hour in parts of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar


Tropical Cyclone Bijli came ashore over eastern Bangladesh on April 17, 2009. The storm caused little damage, according to news reports, but did dump as much as 50 millimeters of rain per hour in the regions where rainfall was heaviest, shown in red, on Bangladesh and neighboring Myanmar. This image, made with data captured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on April 17, shows the rainfall associated with the storm. Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC). Caption by Holli Riebeek [Edited for brevity by Moderator.]


Tropical Storm Bijli draped the east coast of India in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on April 16, 2009. Bijli became a tropical storm in the northwest Bay of Bengal on April 15.  NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid [sic] Response team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey. [Edited for brevity by Moderator.]

Posted in Bay of Bengal, Terra satellite, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, Tropical storm | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »