At one time Dianmu was a very powerful super typhoon packing winds of 155
knots (178 mph) over the central Philippine Sea back on the 16th and 17th
of June 2004. As forecast, Dianmu weakened significantly as as it
approached the main islands of Japan. Dianmu made landfall near the city
of Muroto on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan early on the morning
of the 21st of June 2004 (local time) as a minimal typhoon. The center of
Dianmu passed over the center of the main Japanese island of Honshu before
emerging into the Sea of Japan. The system continued to weaken and rapidly
accelerate northward crossing over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido
before heading out into the north Pacific. The storm was responsible for 3 deaths and 3 missing in Japan.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite continued to monitor
Dianmu as it approached Japan. The first image was taken at 11:08 UTC on 19
June 2004 and shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity. Rain
rates in the center swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), while
rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI).
The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible
Infrared Scanner (VIRS). At the time of this image, Dianmu was east of the
central Ryukyu Islands and still a strong storm with winds estimated at 105
knots (121 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center soon after this image
was taken. However, Dianmu was already in the process of rapidly weakening.
TRMM shows Dianmu has a rather large eye with very little rain surrounding
the center (blue areas represent light rain). Tropical cyclones are like
large heat engines and require strong heating near their core to maintain
their circulation. Rainfall provides a measure of that heating, and so
without it, Dianmu can only continue to spin down and weaken.
The next image was taken at 15:07 UTC on the 20th and shows the storm has
become less organized and weaker as it nears Japan with almost no evidence
of an eye visible in the rain field. A broad area of light to moderate
rain (blue and green areas) wraps around the eastern and northern part of
the storm. At this time, the maximum sustained winds were down to 70 knots
The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi- satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA)
at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center provides quantitative rainfall
estimates over the global tropics. The final image shows MPA rainfall
totals for the period 18-22 June 2004. Dianmu's track is marked by cyclone
symbols at the 00:00 UTC times and crosses every 6 hours in between. The
heaviest rainfall totals associated with Dianmu are on the order of 10
inches (red areas) and occur near where the storm made its initial landfall
in southern Japan. Amounts from Dianmu are not excessive as the storm was
moving rather quickly. The area of heavy rain that extends from the Korean
peninsula across the Sea of Japan and merges with the rain from Dianmu
over northern Honshu is associated with a seasonal frontal system and is
not directly due to the typhoon.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.
As it passes high above the equatorial tropics, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite collects data and images of tropical cyclones that can be used to provide valuable information on their intensity and location, especially over remote parts of the open ocean. This set of TRMM images follow Typhoon Tokage from its birth in the central West Pacific Ocean east of the Mariana Islands to its impact on the southeast coast of Japan.