Hurricane Force low in the North Pacific Ocean

November 17th, 2016

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly surface and buoy/ship reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly surface and buoy/ship reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (above; also available as a 52 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the development of a Hurricane Force low in the North Pacific Ocean during the 15 November – 17 November 2016 period. Surface analysis charts for this storm, produced by the Ocean Prediction Center, are shown below.

Surface analyses from 12 UTC on 15 November to 12 UTC on 17 November

Surface analyses from 12 UTC on 15 November to 12 UTC on 17 November

Although it was more of an oblique viewing angle, JMA Himawari-8 AHI Water Vapor (6.2 µm, 6,9 µm and 7.3 µm) images (below; also available as a 27 Mbyte animated GIF) provided a nice view of the storm on 15 November as it was intensifying to produce Hurricane Force winds.

JMA Hmawari-8 Water Vapor (6.2 µm, top; 6.9 µm, middle; 7.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

JMA Hmawari-8 Water Vapor (6.2 µm, top; 6.9 µm, middle; 7.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Since the ABI instrument on GOES-R is nearly identical to the AHI, there will also be imagery from 3 water vapor bands (6.2 µm, 6.9 µm and 7.3 µm) available once GOES-R becomes operational (as GOES-16) in 2017.

 

Fires continue in the southeast United States

November 14th, 2016

Terra MODIS (1650 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1829 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1913 UTC) true-color images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS (1650 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1829 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1913 UTC) true-color images [click to enlarge]

Fires (as seen on 07 and 10 November) continued to burn in parts of the southeast US on 14 November 2016. A sequence of 3 consecutive true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from Terra MODIS (1650 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1829 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1913 UTC) viewed using RealEarth, above, showed the aerial extent of the dense smoke that was most concentrated over Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. With the aid of some of the 16 spectral bands on the ABI instrument aboard GOES-R, true-color images like these will be available at least once every 5 minutes over the Lower 48 states and adjacent areas.

GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) images with plots of surface weather and visibility (below; also available as an MP4 animation) revealed that visibility was restricted to 3 miles or less at one or more sites in all of the aforementioned states. A pair of pilot reports in eastern Tennessee indicated that he top of the smoke layer was at 6000 feet above ground level.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface weather (yellow) and visibility (statute miles, in cyan) [click to animate]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface weather (yellow) and visibility (statute miles, in cyan) [click to animate]

High loading of particulate matter (PM) due to smoke led to AIRNow Air Quality Index ratings of Unhealthy (red)  to Very Unhealthy (purple) over much of that 4-state region (below).

Hourly AIRNow Particulate Matter (PM) Air Quality Index (AQI)

Hourly AIRNow Particulate Matter (PM) Air Quality Index (AQI)

===== 15 November Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um) and Day/Night Band (0.7 um) images, plus METAR surface reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um) and Day/Night Band (0.7 um) images, plus METAR surface reports [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um) and Day/Night Band (0.7 um) images (with and without METAR surface reports) at 0735 UTC or 3:35 am local time on 15 November (above) showed the “hot spot” signatures and bright glow from the larger fires that were burning in northern Georgia and western North Carolina. With ample illumination from the Moon — which was in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 99% of Full — smoke plumes from some of these fires could be seen drifting southward or southeastward,  thanks to the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band.

During the subsequent daytime hours, Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images (below) again revealed the vast coverage of the thick smoke — and VIIRS Aerosol Optical Depth values were quite high over South Carolina. Unhealthy AQI values persisted during much of the day across parts of Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images, with VIIRS Aerosol Optical Depth (click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images, with VIIRS Aerosol Optical Depth (click to enlarge]

A sampling of pilot reports (PIREPS) showed some of the impacts that the smoke was having on aviation (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image with a PIREP over South Carolina [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image with a PIREP over South Carolina [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image with a PIREP over Georgia [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image with a PIREP over Georgia [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) image with a PIREP over North Carolina [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) image with a PIREP over North Carolina [click to enlarge]

===== 16 November Update =====

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true- color images [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true- color images [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images (above) showed that much of the smoke had moved over the adjacent offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean on 16 November.

 

Halos due to the presence of ice crystal clouds

November 14th, 2016
Photo showing an Upper Tangent Arc, a Parhelia (Sun Dog), a Parhelic Circle segment and a faint 46 degree segment (upper right).

Photo showing an Upper Tangent Arc, a Parhelia (Sun Dog), a Parhelic Circle segment and a faint 46 degree segment (upper right).

Photos taken by SSEC scientist Claire Pettersen at 1615 UTC (above) and 1623 UTC (below) revealed several examples of ice crystal cloud optics over Madison, Wisconsin on 14 November 2016.  More information on the various types of ice cloud halos can be found here and here.

Photo showing a Circumzenithal Arc with a Supralateral Arc, in addition to an Upper Tangent Arc.

Photo showing a Circumzenithal Arc with a Supralateral Arc, in addition to an Upper Tangent Arc.

1650 UTC Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), near-infrared Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (below) showed the patches of cirrus clouds that were over southern Wisconsin not long after the photos above were taken. Many of the cirrus cloud features over the Madison (KMSN) area appeared very thin and nearly transparent on the Visible image; they also exhibited very warm Infrared Window brightness temperature values (warmer than -20ºC), since a great deal of radiation from the warmer surface of the Earth was reaching the MODIS detectors through the thin clouds. The 1.375 µm Cirrus band is able to detect the presence of airborne particles that are efficient scatterers of light — such as cirrus cloud ice crystals, dust, volcanic ash, smoke, haze — so the thin cirrus clouds exhibited a good signature on that image.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A similar 1.37 µm Cirrus Band will be on the ABI instrument aboard GOES-R.

Himawari-9 Launches

November 2nd, 2016
Himawari-8 imagery of all 16 AHI Channels, as indicated, bracketing the launch time of Himawari-9 (Click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 imagery of all 16 AHI Bands, as indicated, bracketing the launch time of Himawari-9 (Click to enlarge)

Japan successfully launched the Himawari-9 satellite from the Tanegashima Space Center (near the southern tip of Tanegashima in the Osumi Islands south of Kyushu), a back-up to Himawari-8, shortly after 3:20 PM local time (0620 UTC) on 2 November 2016 (News Link 1, 2, 3, 4). Images showing all 16 Himawari-8 AHI spectral bands bracketing the 0620 UTC launch time are shown above; signatures of the warm thermal anomaly (from the burning of the solid rocket boosters) as well as the moisture of the rocket condensation cloud plume were evident in the Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Water Vapor (6.2 µm, 6.9 µm and 7.3 µm) bands, but a signal was also detectable in the Infrared 8.6 µm, 12.2 µm and 13.3 µm bands. The Himawari-8/9 AHI instrument is nearly identical to the ABI instrument on GOES-R — so similar imagery will be routinely available once GOES-R becomes operational in 2017.

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Himawari-8 Band 4 (0.86 µm) Visible Imagery for times bracketing the launch of Himawari-9 on 2 November 2016 (Click to enlarge)

The animation above shows the rocket plume in the Band 4 (0.86 µm) imagery (Band 4, the so-called “Veggie Band”, better discriminates between land and water so that the island of Tanegashima is more distinct) from Himawari-8, in the image at 0622 UTC. (Annotated 0622 UTC Image is here). The plume appears north of the launch site (which is located at the southern tip of the island).

A true-color image, below, that includes the three visible channels from Himawari-8 (Band 1 at 0.47 µm, Band 2 at 0.51 µm and Band 3 at 0.64 µm, with the Band 2 “Green Band” boosted by information in the Veggie Band at 0.86 µm) shows a plume, perhaps, emerging from the cloud field at the southern tip of the island.

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True-color imagery from Himawari-8 at 0620 UTC on 2 November, 2016 (Click to enlarge)

Another view of the 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared imagery, below, shows a short-lived hot-spot near where the Band 4 imagery shows the plume. Note: due to parallax, the location of the high-altitude hot spot appears farther north than its actual location.

h8_band4_0617_0625_h9launchanim

Himawari-8 Band 7 (3.9 µm) Shortwave Infrared Imagery for times bracketing the launch of Himawari-9 on 2 November 2016 (Click to enlarge)

Visible Imagery for the same three times, below, suggests a plume may be present (toggle between Visible and Shortwave Infrared images).

h8_band4_0617_0625_h9launchanim

Himawari-8 Band 3 (0.64 µm) Imagery for times bracketing the launch of Himawari-9 on 2 November 2016 (Click to enlarge)

As mentioned above, signatures of the warm thermal anomaly and the moisture of the rocket condensation cloud plume were also evident on the three Himawari-8 Water Vapor bands, shown below — strong westerly winds aloft (satellite | model) quickly transported the high-altitude portion of the rocket plume eastward.

Himawari-8 6.2 µm (top), 6.9 µm (middle) and 7.3 µm (bottom) Water Vapor images (Click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 6.2 µm (top), 6.9 µm (middle) and 7.3 µm (bottom) Water Vapor images (Click to enlarge)

A video of the launch is here, with the launch itself at 44 minutes.