Lake/river effect clouds in North Dakota

November 7th, 2017 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, bottom) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

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

As cold arctic air continued to move eastward across North Dakota on 07 November 2017, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (above) showed “lake effect” cloud plumes streaming east-northeastward from Lake Sakakawea (and also from Missouri River). The Snow/Ice images were the most useful for discriminating between supercooled water droplet cloud plumes (brighter shades of white) and the surrounding snow-covered land surfaces (darker shades of gray).

During the preceding nighttime hours, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images (below) — the legacy “fog/stratus product” — revealed that the orientation of the Lake Sakakawea cloud plume changed as surface winds switched from northwesterly to westerly.

Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm = 3.74 µm) and Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm - 3.7 µm) [click to enlarge]

Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm = 3.74 µm) and Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm – 3.7 µm) [click to enlarge]

The Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product (below) indicated that the water in Lake Sakakawea was as warm as 47.9ºF (darker green enhancement) — significantly warmer than the surface air passing over it, which was generally in the 5 to 15ºF range.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

The large cloud plume from Lake Sakakawea was also very evident on GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (below). Farther to the east, smaller and shorter-lived cloud plumes could also be seen originating from Devils Lake (along the Benson/Ramsey county line) and Stump Lake (in Nelson county).

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

Taking a closer look at the Lake Sakakawea area, the brighter signature of steam plumes rising from power plants located south and southeast of the lake (2 in Mercer county, and 1 in McLean county) could be spotted on the Day Snow-Fog RGB images (below).

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

Due to the low sun angle and the snow-covered land surface, morning shadows from these rising steam plumes could be seen on GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible images [click to animate]

Special thanks to Carl Jones (NWS Grand Forks) for bringing this case to our attention, and supplying the AWIPS RGB and Visible images at the bottom of the blog post.

 

Lake effect and river effect clouds in northeastern Montana

November 4th, 2017 |

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface observations [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red”Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface observations [click to play MP4 animation]

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

As arctic air began to spread eastward across Montana — where the coldest temperature in the US was -12ºF — behind an inverted trough (surface analyses) on 04 November 2017, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (above) revealed bands of “lake effect” (from Fort Peck Lake) and “river effect” (slightly upstream, from the Missouri River) clouds. On the Snow/Ice images, sow cover (and cold ice crystal clouds) appear as darker shades of gray, in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds which are brighter white. Note that surface air temperatures at Glasgow (KGGW) and Jordan (KJDN) were generally in the 15 to 20ºF range.

A 1-km resolution Aqua (overpass times) MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product (below) indicated that SST values were still 50ºF and warmer (darker shades of green) in parts of Fort Peck Lake. Farther to the west, a deeper portion of the Missouri River exhibited SST values in the mid-40s F (cyan) — this area  was likely the source of the river-effect cloud features. The temperature difference between the surface air and the warmer lake/river water was therefore in the 30-35ºF range.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

In a toggle between 250-meter resolution Terra (overpass times) MODIS true-color (Bands 1/4/3) and false-color (Bands 7/2/1)  Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the MODIS Today site (below), the false-color image helps to highlight the bands of supercooled water droplet river effect and lake effect clouds (brighter white) — snow cover (and high-altitude ice crystal clouds) appear as shades of cyan.

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

A 30-meter resolution Lnndsat-8 false-color image (below) captured the dissipating remnants of the Missouri River cloud plume at 1800 UTC; a few cumulus cloud streets could also be seen over Fort Peck Lake, along the far eastern edge of the image swath.

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

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

An RGB computed using the GOES-16 Cirrus Channel

November 3rd, 2017 |

Cloud Type RGB at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

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

Red-Green-Blue (RGB) Composite Images are a handy way of showing information from multiple satellite bands (or band differences) at once. The image above shows an RGB created by NOAA Scientist Andy Heidinger that uses the GOES-16 Visible Band (0.64 µm) as the green component, Snow-Ice Band (1.61 µm) as the blue component and Cirrus Band (1.38 µm) as the red component to tease out information about Cloud Type.  The Cirrus Channel (unique to GOES-16 as far as Geostationary Satellites are concerned) is a handy channel to use in an RGB because it discriminates very well between high clouds and low clouds.  In a moist environment, low clouds are not apparent at all in the Cirrus Band.  The toggle below shows the Visible, Snow/Ice and Cirrus Channels at 1502 UTC.  Low clouds over Kansas have no signal in the Cirrus channel — there are other differences as well, of course.

In the RGB, Thin cirrus clouds (for example, the contrails over Illinois) are red, opaque ice clouds (over the western Atlantic) are yellow (having a contribution from both Red and Green Components), Low Clouds (over the southern Plains) are Cyan (having a contribution from Blue and Green), snow is Green, and lofted water clouds are white (having a contribution from all three). As the atmosphere dries, the amount of lofting necessary for the Cirrus channel to view a cloud composed of water droplets (and therefore white in the RGB) decreases.

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Snow/Ice (1.61 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Cirrus Channels (1.38 µm) (Click to enlarge)

The Day Land Cloud RGB (sometimes called ‘Natural Color’) can also be used to estimate cloud type. The toggle below shows how the Cloud Type RGB has more gradations between ice cloud type because of the use of the Cirrus Channel.  The Cloud Type RGB also highlights the contrails and thin cirrus more effectively, again because of the use of the Cirrus Channel

Cloud Type RGB (1.38 µm, 0.64 µm, 1.61 µm) and Day/Land/Cloud RGB (1.61 µm, 0.86 µm, 0.64 µm), 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

 

Three toggles below show the Snow/Ice and Visible and Cirrus channels zoomed in over Illinois (where contrails are present), over the western Atlantic (where strong convection is occurring) and over the southwestern United States.

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 also has a Baseline Product that shows Cloud Type. That is shown below. The 1502 UTC Image was incomplete, so the 1507 UTC image is shown.

GOES-16 Cloud Phase, Baseline Product, 1507 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Ex-hurricane Ophelia over Ireland and the United Kingdom

October 16th, 2017 |

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

After reaching Category 3 intensity over the eastern Atlantic Ocean on 14 October, Hurricane Ophelia (storm track) rapidly underwent transition to an extratropical storm which eventually spread high winds across much of Ireland and the United Kingdom on 16 October 2017. EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 upper-level Water Vapor (6.25 µm) (above) and lower-level Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images (below) revealed the familiar “scorpion tail” signature of a sting jet (reference). Hourly wind gusts (in knots) from primary reporting stations are plotted in red.

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Two sites with notable wind gusts were Cork, Ireland (67 knots at 0930 UTC) and Valley, UK (70 knots at 1500 UT), shown below. In fact, a wind gust of 103 knots (119 mph or 191 km/hour) was reported at the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse off the southwest coast of Ireland.

Time series plot of surface data from Cork, Ireland [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Cork, Ireland [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Valley, United Kingdom [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Valley, United Kingdom [click to enlarge]

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Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

In a toggle between Terra MODIS (overpass time around 1159 UTC) and Aqua MODIS (overpass time around 1345 UTC) true-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) imagery (above), a somewhat hazy appearance was seen over the Irish Sea on the Terra MODIS image. This was due to an airborne plume of sand from the Sahara Desert (UK Met Office story).

In fact, blowing sand was observed about 3 hours later at Isle of Man, from 1520-1620 UTC — during that time period their surface winds gusted to 68 knots (78 mph), and surface visibility was reduced to 2.2 miles (below).

Time series plot of surface data from Isle of Man [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Isle of Man [click to enlarge]