Blooming canola fields in North Dakota and Manitoba

July 9th, 2018 |

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images on 06 June, 05 July and 09 July 2018 [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images on 06 June, 05 July and 09 July 2018 [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Terra MODIS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (from the MODIS Today site) on 06 June, 05 July and 09 July 2018 (above) revealed the brightening yellow-green hues of blooming canola fields across parts of northeastern North Dakota and southern Manitoba. Note that changes can even be seen between the 2 days in early July!

Credit to NWS Grand Forks for alerting us to this interesting phenomenon.


County Fire in central California

July 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with airport identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play animation | MP4]

The County Fire began burning in central California (northwest of Sacramento) around 2112 UTC or 2:12 pm local time on 30 June 2018 — GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the smoke plume and thermal anomaly or “hot spot” (dark black to red pixels) of the fire during its initial 6.5 hours. Other features of interest in the imagery included reflection of sunlight from solar panel farms as seen here and here, as well as sun glint off the waters of the Sacramento River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as seen here.

During the subsequent overnight hours, the thermal signature exhibited on GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) revealed the rapid southward spread of the fire along the Napa/Yolo county line — the fire began in far western Yolo County, and eventually moved into far eastern Napa County. The smaller, less intense fire signature seen just to the northwest was that of the Pawnee Fire.

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, left), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, center) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with airport identifiers plotted in yellow and Napa/Yolo County outlines plotted in blue [click to play animation | MP4]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images (below) showed the thermal anomaly and bright glow of the County fire at 1043 UTC or 3:43 am local time. Due to ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 90% of Full), the smoke plume could be seen drifting southwest over the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean — note the shadow cast by the smoke plume upon the fog/stratus deck immediately off the coast.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

A toggle between consecutive Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) showed the change in location of the smoke plume during the ~1 hour and 40 minutes separating the 2 satellite overpasses. The region was on the far western edge of the earlier swath. These images demonstrate the “visible image at night” capability of the VIIRS Day/Night Band.

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

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

The 00 UTC rawinsonde data from nearby Oakland (below) showed northeasterly winds at altitudes of 1500-2800 meters or 4900-9200 feet.

Plots of rawinsonde data from Oakland, California [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Oakland, California [click to enlarge]

During the late morning and early afternoon of 01 July, the fire burn scar could be seen beneath the smoke plume on 250-meter resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images viewed using RealEarth (below).

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

===== 03 July Update =====

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color RGB image (above) showed the areal extent of the County Fire burn scar on the morning of 03 July. Pink-colored pixels indicated hot signatures of actively-burning fires. The morning Incident Report listed the fire size at 70,000 acres and 5% containment.

Fog/stratus over Lake Michigan

June 30th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

As a warm and very humid air mass (surface analyses) moved northward across the relatively cool waters of Lake Michigan on 30 June 2018, GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed complex interactions of the resulting fog/stratus with coastlines and islands — features such as “bow shock waves” and internal reflections of waves off the northern end of the lake could be seen.

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a very detailed view of the fog/stratus structure over the northern end of the lake.

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

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

The Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product at 1734 UTC (below) showed SST values in the middle 60s to around 70ºF across the southern end of Lake Michigan (the southern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 66ºF), transitioning to SST values around 60ºF mid-lake. The northern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 54ºF — much colder than the surface air dew points that were in the low to middle 70s F, which explained the more widespread coverage of lake fog/stratus farther north.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]

Severe thunderstorms in Wyoming and South Dakota

June 29th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the development of large clusters of thunderstorms that moved from northeastern Wyoming into South Dakota during the afternoon and evening hours on 29 June 2018. These storms produced a variety of severe weather (SPC storm reports | NWS Rapid City), including tornadoes, hail of 4.50 inches in diameter and damaging wind gusts of 90 mph.

The corresponding GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) indicated that the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures associated with the strongest overshooting tops were generally around -70ºC (black enhancement).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below) revealed a shortwave trough which was moving eastward across the northern Rocky Mountains — the approach of this mid-tropospheric trough was bringing enhanced forcing for ascent to aid in the development of thunderstorms.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 30 June Update =====

A comparison of before/after Terra MODIS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images viewed using RealEarth (below) revealed a pair of crop/vegetation damage swaths — the first (oriented northwest to southeast) caused by storms early on 27 June, and the second (oriented approximately west to east) caused by the 29 June storms shown on the GOES-16 imagery above. One SPC storm report listed hail of 2.00 inches in diameter with winds gusting to 69 mph near Mission Ridge SD — wind-driven hail of that size can easily inflict significant damage to structures and vegetation.

Terra MODIS True-Color images on 26 June, 27 June and 30 June [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images on 26 June, 27 June and 30 June [click to enlarge]

===== 02 July Update =====

Aqua MODIS True Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

An Aqua MODIS True Color RGB image on 02 July (above) provided a cloud-free view of the segmented west-to-east 29 June hail/wind damage path across western/central South Dakota — NWS Aberdeen noted that the storm producing this damage traveled more than 420 miles. In addition, the hazy signature of smoke being transported northeastward (from wildfires in Colorado) was apparent at the bottom center of the image. These hail/wind damage swaths (as well as the wildfire smoke aloft) were also evident in GOES-16 Natural Color RGB imagery.

Looking at the corresponding Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) product and Land Surface Temperature (LST) product (below), the hail/wind damage swaths were characterized by NDVI values in the 0.2-0.4 range (compared to adjacent healthy vegetation values of 0.7-0.8) and LST values  warmer than 100-110ºF (adjacent healthy vegetation LST values were generally in the 80s F). The lowest NDVI values were observed in parts of Sully and Hughes Counties, within the northwest-to-southeast 27 June damage path — there were reports of extensive crop devastation and wildlife casualties in that area (media story).

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Land Surface Temperature (LST) products [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) product and Land Surface Temperature (LST) product [click to enlarge]