Appreciating the Power and Majesty of Super Typhoon Wutip (Imagery Credit: Himawari-8)
DISCUSSION: In the days leading up to the peak intensity of what is now the late Super Typhoon Wutip, there is no question that there several remarkable and historical things which were especially captivating about this tropical cyclone which both formed and dissipated over in the Western Pacific Ocean basin. First off, in going to the previous article from this evening (which can be found within the “Western Pacific Ocean” section under our “Global Regions” section tab), there is a more detailed discussion regarding how Wutip was the most intense tropical cyclone to ever be observed north of the equator during the month of February over the past 70 years (or during the period of modern records). Thus, this was most certainly a very impressive tropical cyclone from a longer-term historical perspective as far as tropical cyclone records are concerned.
However, there were other quite impressive aspects of this tropical cyclone as well on top of its historic record-breaking achievements. One such facet of this storm which was quite impressive from a satellite imagery perspective were some of the neat features which were observed in association with this storm while it was at as well as near super typhoon status. While Super Typhoon was both at and near peak intensity there was a prolonged period during which there were consistent core storm-top cloud features known as “gravity waves” emanating the center of Wutip’s circulation. This is very well captured in the brief visible satellite imagery animation which was produced courtesy of the Himawari-8 satellite imager which is approximately positioned over the Western/Central Pacific Ocean basin(s). To be a bit precise, gravity waves are “ripple-like” cloud features which can sometimes form near and moving away from the center of intense tropical cyclones. They form as a direct result of intense changes in air pressure values in going outward from the eye of the storm. They are essentially a pressure-differential inner-core storm response to rapid changes in atmospheric pressure values over a relatively short distance in comparison to the overall spatial extent of the storm itself.
Thus, this just goes to show that there are often many things which can be studied from any given tropical cyclone which go well beyond the scope of the simple maximum intensity and historical context of any given tropical cyclone.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz