Wildfire burning in Greenland

August 4th, 2017 |
GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above; a zoomed-in version is available here) displayed a subtle hazy signature of a smoke plume along with an intermittent “hot spot” (darker black pixels) associated with  a small fire — located near the center of the cyan circle — that was burning close to the southwest coast of Greenland on 01 August 2017. The approximate latitude/longitude coordinates of the fire were 67.87º N / 51.48º W, a location about halfway between Ilulissat (station identifier BGJN) and Kangerlussuaq (station identifier BGSF) and about halfway between the western edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the west coast .

Closer views using daily composites of 250-meter resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images (from 30 July to 04 August), sourced from RealEarth (below) indicated that the fire may have started close to 1540 UTC on 31 July — when a small white smoke and/or cloud feature (just north of the cursor) was seen at the fire source location on the Terra image (overpass time). The Aqua overpass time was around 1600 UTC.

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Similar daily composite RGB images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (31 July to 04 August) are shown below. Note that the initial fire signature was not seen on the 31 May VIIRS image, due to the earlier overpass time  (1513 UTC) of the Suomi NPP satellite.

Daily composites Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images,.from 31 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images,.from 31 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

On 03 August, a 1507 UTC overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite provided a 30-meter resolution Operational Land Imager (OLI) false-color RGB image of the fire (below). This was the same day that a pilot took photos of the fire, as reported on the Wildfire Today site.

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

A comparison of one “before” (27 July) and two “after” (03 and 05 August) Landsat-8 OLI false-color RGB images (below) showed differences in smoke plume transport as the wind direction changed.

Landsat-8 false-color images on 27 July, 03 August and 05 August [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 27 July, 03 August and 05 August [click to enlarge]

It is possible that this “natural fire” is similar to the Smoking Hills type of spontaneous combustion that has been observed in the Canadian Arctic (thanks to Ray Hoff, retired UMBC Professor of Physics, for that tip).

Credit to Mark Ruminski (NOAA/NESDIS) for first bringing this interesting event to our attention.

===== 09 August Update =====

The animations of daily Terra and Aqua true-color RGB images (below) have been extended to 09 August and 08 August, respectively.

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 09 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 09 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 08 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 08 August [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images from 04-09 August (below) include VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red. The 09 August image showed that smoke from the fire had drifted west-southwestward over the adjacent offshore waters of Davis Strait.

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, from 04-09 August, with fire detection points plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, from 04-09 August, with fire detection points plotted in red [click to enlarge]

===== 12 August Update =====

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 03, 05 and 12 August [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 03, 05 and 12 August [click to enlarge]

Another overpass of Landsat-8 on 12 August provided a glimpse of the fire burn scar, which appeared as a darker hue of reddish-brown. Note that the fire had burned eastward to the coast, during a day when stronger westerly winds prevailed.

Related sites:

NASA Earth Observatory

NPR

ESA Space in Images

AGU EOS

 

GOES-16: wildfires in southern California

July 8th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface plots [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface plots [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

As southern California experienced a record-setting heatwave, 2 large wildfires were burning in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on 08 July 2017: the Alamo Fire and the Whittier Fire. GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the smoke plumes and hot spots (red pixels) associated with these 2 fires.

The dense smoke plumes also exhibited a signature on the Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm) images (below), even though they were not composed of ice crystals (note that 10.3 µm Infrared Window brightness temperatures of the smoke plumes were warmer than -20º C, cyan color enhancement, the entire day). This example demonstrates that in a dry atmosphere, the “Cirrus” imagery will also be able to detect the presence of any airborne particles that are efficient scatterers of light (which includes smoke, dust and volcanic ash).

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left), Near-Infrared Cirrus (1.38 µm, center) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left), Near-Infrared Cirrus (1.37 µm, center) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

During  the nighttime prior to sunrise, with the benefit of ample illumination from a Full Moon, a long smoke plume streaming southwestward from the Alamo Fire was clearly seen on Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) imagery at 0910 UTC or 2:10 am local time (below). A very bright glow — larger than that of some nearby city lights — was co-located with the large hot spot on the corresponding Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) image.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Views a fire in Oakland, California

July 7th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) imagery, 1152-1357 UTC (Click to play animated gif)

GOES-16 data (and products) posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing

The San Francisco Bay Area National Weather Service office Tweeted out an image (as noted by the Media) during the early morning of 7 July of the GOES-16 Fire Temperature, a GOES-16 Baseline Product (link) above a massive fire in Oakland (News Report). The animation above shows the evolution of the fire as detected by the 3.9 µm Brightness Temperature shown in AWIPS. The first indication of a fire appeared around 1200 UTC; the fire was difficult to discern after 1330 UTC.

GOES-16 Baseline Products include Fire-Detection products: Fire Temperature, Fire Power, and Fire Area. These products returned values from 1222 to 1247 UTC, when the fire was at its most intense. The table below shows the values as noted in AWIPS.  The fire peaked in terms of Power and Area at 1237 UTC.  The animation below is for Fire Temperature, and only one area is indicated (Fire Power and Fire Area caused the same region to show a non-zero values, the same values noted in the table below). GOES-16 Engineers and Scientists are investigating why the pixel size below does not match the correct pixel sizes above in the 3.9 µm imagery.

Time Fire Temperature (K) Fire Power Fire Area (Square Meters)
1222 UTC 892 K 86 4000
1227 UTC 873 K 92 4000
1232 UTC 849 K 153 4671
1237 UTC 833 K 167 5402
1242 UTC 889 K 137 4000
1247 UTC 1041 K 94 4000

 

GOES-16 Baseline Product Fire Temperature, 1217-1247 UTC on 7 July 2017 (Click to enlarge)

The fire was hot enough that it emitted detectable near-infrared 1.61 µm radiation, as shown below (animation). The brightest pixel, pointed to by the red arrow, over downtown Oakland in Alameda County (outlined in magenta) shows an albedo of 4.2% before sunrise!

GOES-16 Near-Infrared 1.61 µm image, 1237 UTC on 7 July 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Deadly Fire in Portugal

June 18th, 2017 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band Visible Imagery (0.70 µm) at 0240 UTC on 18 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)

(Images in this blog post were created by William Straka, SSEC. Thanks William!!)

Parts of Pedrogao Grande in central Portugal (northeast of Lisbon) burned over the weekend in a massive forest fire. At least 62 people were killed (News Link; Youtube Video 1, 2). Suomi NPP overflew the region shortly after the fire started, and annotated VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) Day/Night Band imagery is shown above (Click here for an image without annotation).  The size of the bright light signature from the fire (overlain with thin clouds) rivals that of Lisbon.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared imagery ( 3.75 µm) at 0240 UTC on 18 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Shortwave Infrared channels on Suomi NPP also testify to the intensity of the fire. The 3.75 µm above (Click here for an image with no labels) shows a saturated pixel (exceeding 367 K) over the hottest part of the fire.  The 1.61 µm channel in the near infrared also had a strong signal.   The 4.05 µm imagery (Click here for an image without annotation) shown below had a maximum brightness temperature exceeding 550 K! (This channel was specifically designed for fire detection).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared Imagery (4.05 µm) at 0240 UTC on 18 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Meteosat-10 Severi Infrared Imagery (3.9 µm) from 0000 to 0400 UTC on 18 June 2017 (click to enlarge)

The SEVERI Instrument on Meteosat-10 also detected this fire, and because Meteosat is geostationary, it provided better temporal coverage vs. the single snapshot from Suomi NPP. The animation above shows considerable cloud cover over Portugal, but very warm pixels are present starting after 0145 UTC. The toggle below compares 3.9 µm SEVIRI at 0245 UTC with 3.75 µm Suomi NPP VIIRS at 0240 UTC. The better spatial resolution of the VIIRS instrument is apparent, as are much warmer temperatures as expected given the smaller pixel size on VIIRS.  Note also a slight parallax shift.

Shortwave Infrared Imagery (3.9 µm from Meteosat-10 SEVIRI at 0245 UTC and 3.75 µm from Suomi NPP VIIRS at 0240 UTC) over Portugal (Click to enlarge)


=================== ADDED =======================

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band visible (0.70 µm) imagery at 0145 UTC on 19 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Data from the 0145 UTC 19 June overpass on Suomi NPP show that the fire continues, although with less intensity. The Day/Night Band (above) and the 3.75 µm Shortwave Infrared (below) show the fire locations.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) imagery at 0145 UTC on 19 June 2017 (Click to enlarge)