McIDAS images of GOES-15 (GOES-West) and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 Âµm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) revealed the large smoke plume associated with the “Sunflower Fire” that was burning near Payson, Arizona on 15 May 2012. Note toward the end of the animation the appearance of pyrocumulous clouds with overshooting tops over the fire source region. Due to the different satellite viewing angles, the overshooting tops were brightly illuminated on the GOES-15 images, while casting a distinct shadow onto the top of the cloud/smoke plume on the GOES-13 images. Photos of the Sunflower fire from the ground can be seen on the Weather Underground site. Other fires were also burning at that time in Arizona, including the “Gladiator Fire“Â located to the northwest of the Sunflower fire.
The GOES-13 satellite was placed into Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) mode later in the day, providing images as frequently as every 5-10 minutes (compared to the routine 15-minute image interval with GOES-15).