3 Nov 2014

190mph Super Typhoon Nuri from space: a beautiful beast

Nuri, yet another powerful super typhoon, is currently roaming the vast expanse of water in the north west Pacific Ocean.

Thankfully, it is what is sometimes referred to as a fish storm – one that will only bother fish out at sea, rather than make landfall.

It’s just as well that Super Typhoon Nuri is going to stay over open water, as it could be the most powerful storm on the planet this year, nudging past the ferocious 180mph sustained winds of Super Typhoon Vongfong a few weeks ago.


The latest forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggests Super Typhoon Nuri will peak with sustained winds of 190mph during Monday night, local time.

Gusts are forecast to be even stronger in this beast of a storm, with winds having occasional bursts to around 230mph.

The reason that Nuri has become such an intense storm is due to it drawing up energy from the warm tropical waters beneath it, where sea temperatures are around 29.5C – around 3.5C above water temperature needed for tropical storms to form.

In addition, the nature of the wind flow pattern in the upper part of the atmosphere favours strengthening of the storm during the next 24 hours.

Looking at the coloured satellite image below from NOAA, the strong symmetry of the cloud structure around the eye of the storm is a sign of it being very well-organised.


The red and orange colours show the most active clouds that reach highest up in the sky, rotating around a clearly defined eye at the storm’s centre.

A video (below) recorded from the live earth cam on the International Space Station, captured Super Typhoon Nuri from space on Sunday afternoon.

If you look closely, as well as seeing the eye of the storm, you can also see striations in the cloud, indicating the rapid swirling motion of the air in an anti-clockwise direction.

After peaking in intensity later on Monday, it will gradually weaken in the next few days, curving to the north east and staying over the ocean.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Super Typhoon Nuri’s progress and posting updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

Images and video: Nasa, NOAA, YouTube

Tweets by @liamdutton