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Cyclone Hagupit captured by Altimetry and Scatterometry

Cyclone Hagupit, also known as Ruby, hit the Philippines earlier this week. Fortunately the area escaped the same devastation that it experienced last year when hit by Typhoon Haiyan. See BBC news for more information.

Hagupit winds and waves

The cyclone's winds were observed from the ASCAT instruments aboard EUMETSAT's METOP spacecraft. The instrument made a direct pass over the typhoon at 0036 UTC on 5th December 2014. As luck would have it, this coincided almost exactly with a pass by the Jason-2 spacecraft (0135 UTC), allowing a direct comparison of the altimetry and scatterometry. 

The figure on the right shows the winds measured by ASCAT and the significant wave heights from Jason-2 (as processed by ESA's GlobWave project). As expected, the wave heights increase near the centre of the typhoon.

A further comparison can be done with the sea level - both SSHA (Sea Surface Height Anomaly) and TWLE (Total Water Level Envelope) - as tracked using the ALES altimetry processor developed under eSurge. This is shown in the figure on the left (click to expand), using both ALES and the standard SGDR measurement. Within the TWLE measurement, it can clearly be seen the effect that the typhoon has on the sea surface height.

Finally, the figure below shows all three measurements (scatterometry winds, altimeter wave heights and altimeter sea height) aligned with each other.