Severe turbulence over Hawai’i

January 12th, 2018 |

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Numerous pilot reports of moderate to severe turbulence were received over the Hawai’i area on 12 January 2018 — and GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (above; also available as an MP4) showed the development of a quasi-stationary gravity wave train over the northwestern portion of the island chain which appeared to be associated with many of these pilot reports.

HNL UA /OV 2115N16010W/TM 2241/FL320/TP B767/TB CONT MOD TURB

HNL UUA /OV 2115N16048W/TM 2255/FL340/TP H/B747/TB MOD-SEV TURB

HNL UUA /OV BOARD/TM 2350/FL370/TP H/B772/TB SEVERE TURB

PHNL UUA /OV 2443N 15516W /TM 2358 /FL370 /TP B737 /TB SEV 370 /RM ZOA CWSU AWC-WEB

In spite of the large satellite viewing angle, these waves were also very evident on Himawari-8 Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (below; also available as an MP4). The 3 Water Vapor bands on the Himawari AHI are nearly identical to the 3 Water Vapor bands on the GOES-R series ABI.

Himawari-8 Low-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and 6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with hourly pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Low-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with hourly pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

A toggle between 1-km resolution Terra MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm), Infrared Window (11.0 µm) and 250-meter resolution true-color Red-Green-Blue RGB images at 2106 UTC on 12 January (below) showed that no high-altitude clouds were associated with the gravity wave features — thus, these aircraft encounters were examples of Clear Air Turbulence (CAT).

Terra MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) and True-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm), Infrared Window (11.0 µm) and true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

A color-enhanced version of the Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) image at 0014 UTC on 13 January is shown below (courtesy of Jordan Gerth, CIMSS).

An AWIPS screen capture (below, courtesy of Robert Bohlin, NWS Honolulu and Jordan Gerth, CIMSS) displays a High Pass filter product along with the 3 individual Himawari-8 Water Vapor band images at 0120 UTC on 13 January.

Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm, upper right), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm, lower left) and Lower-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm, lower right) images [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 High Pass filter product (6.9 µm, upper left), Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm, upper right), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm, lower left) and Lower-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm, lower right) images [click to enlarge]

It bears mention that the rawinsonde data from Lihue, Hawai’i at 0000 UTC on 13 January (below) indicated significant wind shear (both speed and directional) within the 200-300 hPa layer (text listing) — the layer in which many of the turbulence reports were found.

Rawinsonde data from Lihue, Hawai'i at 00 UTC on 13 January [click to enlarge]

Rawinsonde data from Lihue, Hawai’i at 00 UTC on 13 January [click to enlarge]

The packet of gravity waves was directly over Lihue (red asterisk) at that time (below).

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) image at 0000 UTC on 13 January, with pilot reports of turbulence plotted. The red asterisk denotes the location of Lihue [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) image at 0000 UTC on 13 January, with pilot reports of turbulence plotted. The red asterisk denotes the location of Lihue [click to enlarge]

Eruption of the Bezymianni volcano

December 20th, 2017 |

Himawari-8 Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images and Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

The Bezymianni volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula erupted at 0345 UTC on 20 December 2017 — an animation of Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images and retrieved Ash Cloud Height product from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (above) indicated that the ash reached heights of 18 km (the Tokyo VAAC estimated the ash height to be 50,000 feet or 15.2 km).

An oblique view using GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) images (below) provided a different perspective of the volcanic cloud immediately following the eruption. The surface report from Shemya (PASY), located in the far western portion of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, is plotted in the lower right corner of the images.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Strong storm in the Bering Sea

November 26th, 2017 |

Himawari-8 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (above) showed a strong storm as it was rapidly intensifying south of the Aleutian Islands and moving into the Bering Sea during the 25-26 November 2017 period (surface analyses), producing hurricane force winds. Hourly surface wind gusts (knots) are plotted in red on the images.

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) images during the daylight hours of 25 and 26 November (below) offered a more detailed view of the storm. As with the water vapor images above, hourly surface wind gusts (knots) are plotted in red on the images.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play animation]

A plot of hourly surface observations from Adak Island in the Aleutians is shown below. Peak wind gusts of 91 mph were reported on Adak Island and at Unalaska.

Time series of surface observations for Adak, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observations for Adak, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Also of note: the surface pressure at St. Paul Island dropped to unusually low levels as the storm moved into the Bering Sea.

Time series of surface observations from St. Paul Island [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observations from St. Paul Island [click to enlarge]

Super Typhoon Lan in the West Pacific

October 21st, 2017 |

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) plot for Typhoon Lan [click to enlarge]

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) plot for Typhoon Lan [click to enlarge]

A plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique for Typhoon Lan (above) showed that the tropical cyclone underwent a period of rapid intensification during the 00-12 UTC period on 20 October 2017.

A 24-hour animation of Himawari-8 rapid-scan (2.5 minute interval) Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (below) revealed the development of a very large eye during the 20 October/06 UTC to 21 October/06 UTC period.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1700 UTC or 2:00 AM kocal time (below; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS/SSEC) provided a good visualization of the “stadium effect” — an eye that was more narrow at the surface, with a larger diameter at higher altitudes. A packet of mesospheric airglow waves (reference) was also evident on the Day/Night Band image, propagating south-southeastward away from the eye.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A 2-panel comparison of Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed the eye of Lan after it attained Super Typhoon status at 18 UTC on 20 October. Mesovortices could  be seen within the eye on the rapid-scan images.

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A large amount of moisture was associated with this tropical cyclone, as depicted by hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) — note the large area with TPW values of 70 mm or greater (light violet color enhancement).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

A TPW value of 72.5 mm (2.87 inches) was derived from the Minamidaitojima, Japan rawinsonde data at 12 UTC on 21 October (below). Minamidaitojima is the largest island in the Daito Islands group southeast of Okinawa, Japan  — this station was just to the northeast of Lan around 12 UTC.

Rawinsonde data from Minamidaitojima, Japan [click to enlarge]

Rawinsonde data from Minamidaitojima, Japan [click to enlarge]