It is very much true that a picture is worth a thousand words.
As astronauts from the International Space Station, look down from about 400 kilometers above Earth, they couldn’t help but gape at the huge typhoon churning in the Western Pacific.
On March 31 of this year, European Space Agency astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti captured this impressive photo of Typhoon Maysak also known as Typhoon Chedeng at its near-peak strength as it drifted towards the Philippines.
Maysak was the record-breaking second major cyclone to form in the Western Pacific before April, the typical start of the region’s typhoon season. Packing winds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour, the storm swirled about a well-formed eye that Cristoforetti’s crewmate, Terry Virts compared it with a “black hole from a sci-fi movie.” The typhoon killed five people and caused extensive damage in the Federated States of Micronesia.
The unusually intense preseason typhoons may have stemmed from El Niño, an eastward shift of warm water in the Pacific. Sea surface temperatures that were 1 to 2 degrees Celsius above average provided more fuel for budding storms. On April 9 the National Weather Service estimated that El Niño conditions have a 70 percent chance of continuing through summer. If El Niño sticks around, Maysak may prove a harbinger of a perilous typhoon season.
via Science News