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]

Related sites:

NASA Earth Observatory

NPR

ESA Space in Images

 

Hail damage swath in South Dakota and Minnesota

July 4th, 2017 |

SPC storm report plots, from 12 UTC on 21 June to 12 UTC on 22 June 2017 [click to go to SPC storm reports list]

SPC storm report plots, from 12 UTC on 21 June to 12 UTC on 22 June 2017 [click to go to SPC storm reports list]

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

As seen on the map of SPC storm reports from 21 June 2017 (above), nighttime thunderstorms (during the pre-dawn hours of 22 June) produced a swath of hail (as large as 2.0 inches in diameter) that damaged emerging crops at some locations across eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota (NWS Aberdeen summary).

Nearly 2 weeks later, on 04 July, the hail damage swath was still apparent on GOES-16 imagery. In a comparison of “Blue” Visible (0.47 µm), “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm ) images (below), the northwest-to-southeast oriented hail damage swath was best seen on the 0.64 µm imagery (in part due to its higher spatial resolution, which is 0.5 km at satellite sub-point); healthy vegetation is more reflective at 0.86 µm, so the crop-damaged hail swath appears slightly darker in those images.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Blue” Visible (0.47 µm, top), “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, middle) and Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

A signature of the hail damage swath was also seen in Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below). The hail damage swath warmed more quickly on the 3.9 µm imagery — exhibiting a darker black appearance with time — compared to the adjacent fields of healthy crops.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Snow/Ice (1.61 µm, middle) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

Why was the hail damage swath also seen on the 1.61 µm “Snow/Ice” (Band 5) imagery? A look at the Spectral Response Functions for GOES-16 ABI  bands 3, 4, 5 and 6 — plotted with the reflectance of asphalt, dirt, grass and snow (below) — show that the 1.61 µm Band 5 happens to cover a portion of the radiation spectrum where there is a minor peak in grass relectance (denoted by the green plot).

Spectral Response Functions for GOES-16 ABI Bands 3, 4, 5 and 6, along with the reflectance of asphalt, dirt, grass and snow [click to enlarge]

Spectral Response Functions for GOES-16 ABI Bands 3, 4, 5 and 6, along with the reflectance of asphalt, dirt, grass and snow [click to enlarge]

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Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product {click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product {click to enlarge]

Regarding the warmer temperatures seen on GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared images, the 1-km resolution Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product at 1738 UTC (above) revealed a 10º F difference between the warmer hail damage swath (which appeared to be about 100 miles in length) and adjacent fields of undamaged crops. A similar result was noted on 03 July by NWS Aberdeen (below).

A comparison of before (21 June) and after (02 July) Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC MODIS Direct Broadcast site (below) clearly shows the hail damage path.

Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, before (21 June) and after (02 July) the hail event [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, before (21 June) and after (02 July) the hail event [click to enlarge]

On 05 July a closer view of the hail scar was seen using a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image from RealEarth (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Incidentally, on 02 July the Sentinel-2A satellite provided 10-meter resolution true-color imagery of the hail swath:

===== 07 July Update =====

The hail damage swath was also evident on a 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color RGB image from 07 July:

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

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

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image, zoomed in on Castlewood, South Dakota [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image, zoomed in on Castlewood, South Dakota [click to enlarge]

Other examples of satellite-observed hail damage swaths can be seen here and here.

 

Mud Creek landslide along the California coast

May 22nd, 2017 |

As seen in the Tweet above from NWS San Francisco Bay Area, a major landslide occurred along the California coast in the Big Sur area (at Mud Creek) during the nighttime hours on 20 May 2017. A large portion of coastal Highway 1 was closed by the massive amount of debris.

A timely overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite at 1840 UTC on 22 May (along with the cooperation of a gap in cloudiness) provided 30-meter resolution false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) imagery (source) which showed the landslide debris extending off the coast and into the adjacent nearshore water of the Pacific Ocean (below). Before/after photos of the landslide site can be seen here.

Landsat-8 false-color images [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color images [click to enlarge]

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Cyclone Debbie makes landfall in Queensland, Australia

March 28th, 2017 |

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

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

Cyclone Debbie formed in the Coral Sea on 22 March 2017, and eventually intensified to a Category 3 storm (ADT | SATCON) as it moved southward toward Australia. Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) showed the eye of Debbie as it was making landfall in Queensland, near Prosperpine (YBPN).

Landsat-8 false-color, with Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color, with Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The Landsat-8 satellite made an overpass of the eye at 2358 UTC (above), as a large convective burst had developed within the northern semicircle of the eyewall (which was also evident in the corresponding Himawari-8 Visible and Infrared Window images viewed using RealEarth).

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and GMI Microwave (85 GHZ) Images around 1430 UTC on 27 March [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and GMI Microwave (85 GHZ) Images around 1430 UTC on 27 March [click to enlarge]

Debbie was undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle as the storm center approached the coast — this was evident in Microwave (85 GHz) images from GMI at 1425 (above) and SSMIS at 2017 UTC (below) from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images around 2017 UTC on 27 March [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) and DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images around 2017 UTC on 27 March [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below; also available as an MP4 animation) showed copious tropical moisture associated with Cyclone Debbie, which led to rainfall accumulations as high as 780 mm (30.7 inches) — with rainfall rates up to 200 mm (7.9 inches) per hour — and record flooding along the coast from Brisbane to Lismore.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]