Bopha over the South China Sea

Bopha over the South China Sea

Bopha weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm after passing over the southern Philippines in early December 2012. On December 6, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Bopha had maximum sustained winds of 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 70 knots (130 kilometers per hour).

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on December 6, 2012, when Bopha was situated over the South China Sea. Although the storm retained the apostrophe shape characteristic of strong storms, it lacked a distinct eye.

Bopha reached the South China Sea after passing over the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. It was the worst typhoon to strike the Philippines in 2012. As of December 7 (Philippines Time Zone), the storm had left nearly 200,000 people homeless, 380 people missing, and more than 300 people dead, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The Guardian reported a death toll of 379, adding that the typhoon had ”washed away emergency shelters, a military camp, and entire families.”

  1. References

  2. Agencies in New Bataan. (2012, December 6) Typhoon Bopha: Philippines death toll climbs. The Guardian. Accessed December 6, 2012.
  3. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Accessed December 6, 2012.
  4. Unisys Weather. (2012, December 6) Bopha Tracking Information. Accessed December 6, 2012.
  5. Yap, D.J. (2012, December 7, Philippines Time Zone) Search on for 380 missing. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Accessed December 6, 2012.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 720x480
  • JPEG
  • 5600x7200
  • JPEG 9 MB
  • GeoTIFF 63 MB
  • KMZ 2 KB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    December 6, 2012
  • Visualization Date:

    December 6, 2012
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration