Tropical Cyclone Enawo as seen by Meteosat-8 and 10

Tropical Cyclone Enawo as seen by Meteosat and Metop

3 March 2017 00:00 UTC—8 March 18:00 UTC

Tropical Cyclone Enawo as seen by Meteosat-8 and 10
Tropical Cyclone Enawo as seen by Meteosat-8 and 10

In early March Tropical Cyclone Enawo battered Madagascar with winds in excess of 205 km/h.

Last Updated

22 October 2020

Published on

02 March 2017

By Jochen Kerkmann (EUMETSAT) and HansPeter Roesli (Switzerland)

Tropical Cyclone Enawo formed as a moderate tropical storm on 3 March, before strengthening into a tropical cyclone on 5 March and further into an intense tropical cyclone on 6 March. Enawo's lifespan, from the severe convection that led to the tropical cyclone's formation to just after it made landfall, can be seen in the Meteosat-8 Tropical Airmass RGB animation , from 3 March 00:00 UTC to  8 March 18:00 UTC. Using the Tropical Airmass improves the details of cloud structures, because it uses ranges more appropriate for cold, high clouds. In particular, for the green range (IR9.6–IR10.4) it uses a range from -25 to +25 K (instead of -40 to +5 K).

 Tropical Cyclone Enawo close to making landfall in Madagascar, Meteosat-10 Airmass RGG with tropical tuning, 7 March 07:00 UTC.
Figure 1: Tropical Cyclone Enawo close to making landfall in Madagascar, Meteosat-10 Airmass RGG with tropical tuning, 7 March 07:00 UTC.

Comparing the Meteosat imagery from 5 March and 6 March, the details of the cyclone are much clearer on the Meteosat-8 imagery, this is because of the positions of the satellites (Met-8 at 41.5 deg East, Met-10 at 0 deg). This can be clearly seen in both the Meteosat-8 Airmass RGB animation and infrared animation , from 5 March 02:00 UTC to  8 March 02:00 UTC, which concentrate on the Category-4 period when the tropical cyclone had a pronounced eye. This pronounced eye could also be seen on the Metop-B Natural Colour image from 7 March at 06:06 UTC, as the satellite passed directly over it.

Enawo was forecast to hit Madagascar on 7 March (see the forecast track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre ). It reached peak intensity at 06:00 UTC on 7 March, with ten-minute maximum sustained winds of 205 km/h and a central pressure of 925 hPa — equivalent to Category 4 hurricane. As predicted Enawo made landfall in Madagascar on 7 March, at 09:30 UTC, the strongest cyclone to hit the country since Gafilo in 2004. Five people were reported to have died after Enawo made landfall on the island.

On the Meteosat-8 Day Microphysics RGB image, 5 March 12:00 UTC (Figure 2, left panel), the cloud structures can be clearly seen because the resolution is better at that position (41.5 deg East) than the Meteosat-10 image from the same time (Figure 2, right panel), where it is at the edge of the disk.

Image comparison

Meteosat-10 image compare1

Figure 2: Comparison of Meteosat-8 and -10 Day Microphysics images showing the difference in resolution. Source: EUMeTrain, ePort Pro

On the Meteosat-10 Severe Convection RGB image, 6 March at 06:00 UTC (Figure 3, left panel), the sunglint from the smooth cloud tops blurs the details (everything appears as yellow), a common problem with morning imagery over the Indian Ocean from that position.

Meanwhile, the most active parts in the spiral cloud bands and the eye of the cyclone can be clearly seen on the Meteosat-8 Severe Convection RGB image from the same time (Figure 3, right panel), because it doesn't have the sunglint issue.

Image comparison

Meteosat-8 image compare1

Figure 3: Comparison of Meteosat-8 and -10 Severe Convection images showing the effects of sunglint. Source: EUMeTrain, ePort Pro

As Tropical Cyclone Enawo was making landfall another tropical storm was forming in the Indian Ocean. The 'twin' storms are visible on the Meteosat-8 Severe Convection and Dust RGBs in Figure 4.

Image comparison

Meteosat-8 Dust RGB compare1

Figure 4: Tropical Cyclone Enawo the day after it made landfall over Madagascar. Note the upper level symmetric cirrus outflow spirals. Source: EUMeTrain, ePort Pro

Tropical Cyclones in the Southern Indian Ocean are not uncommon at this time of year. The cyclone season in that area typically lasts from January to June and Madagascar is quite often in the path of the storm (see

Previous Case Studies ). In fact the ASMET 4 training module 'Tropical Cyclones over the Southwest Indian Ocean' uses an example from Madagascar.

Related content

Tropical Cyclone Enawo (NASA Earth Observatory)
NASA Sees Powerful Tropical Cyclone Enawo Make Landfall in Madagascar (NASA Goddard)
Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Enawo Hits Madagascar (Weather Underground)
WATCH: Video clips of cyclone Enawo hitting Madagascar (News 24)

Previous case studies