Upper-tropospheric gravity waves in the wake of a decaying MCS

September 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A series of large Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS) developed across Nebraska and Iowa during the nighttime hours before sunrise on 01 September 2018, which produced large hail and damaging winds (SPC storm reports). Storm-scale anticyclonic outflow aloft around the periphery of the decaying convection acted as a short-term barrier to the upstream southwesterly winds within the middle/upper troposphere, creating quasi-stationary gravity waves along their rear (westward) edges which persisted for several hours. These waves were most evident over eastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas on GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images (above).

6.2 µm Water Vapor images with plots of GOES-16 Derived Motion Winds (below) intermittently showed these high-altitude anticyclonic winds along the western edges of decaying convection — for example, at 0842 UTC, 0922 UTC, 0957 UTC, 1127 UTC, 1212 UTC and 1312 UTC.

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

The quasi-stationary waves appeared to coincide with a few pilot reports of high-altitude turbulence: Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) was mentioned over northeastern Kansas at 37,000 feet and 39,000 feet, and “mountain wave action” was reported over southeastern Nebraska at 43,000 feet.

Pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Higher resolution views of the convection were provided by VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP at 0755 UTC and NOAA-20 at 0845 UTC (below). With ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 67% of Full), the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band was well-demonstrated. The coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperature associated with the MCS in western Iowa was -84ºC — and the effect of a similar “blocking wave” along the western/northwestern edge of that storm could be seen, which was effectively eroding the approaching high-altitude anvil cloud material from the Nebraska MCS. Note that the 0845 UTC NOAA-20 VIIRS images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A Nebraska thunderstorm and a Wyoming wildfire, as viewed by GOES-15, GOES-17 and GOES-16

August 29th, 2018 |
Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right), with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right), with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

A comparison of Visible images from GOES-15 (GOES-West), GOES-17 and GOES-16 (GOES-East) (above) showed an isolated thunderstorm that developed in the Nebraska Panhandle late in the day on 29 August 2018. The storm produced hail (SPC storm reports), and also exhibited an Above Anvil Cirrus Plume. The images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite, with no re-mapping.

One other feature that was seen north of the thunderstorm was smoke which was being transported eastward from the Britania Mountain Fire in southeastern Wyoming. The smoke was more apparent on the GOES-17 and GOES-16 images as forward scattering increased toward sunset.

Shortwave Infrared imagery from the 3 satellites revealed important differences affecting fire detection: namely spatial resolution and viewing angle. The 3.9 µm detector on the GOES-15 Imager has a spatial resolution of 4 km (at satellite sub-point), compared to 2 km for the GOES-16/17 ABI. Given that the fire was burning in rugged mountain terrain, the view angle from each satellite had an impact on the resulting bire brightness temperature values. For example, the first indication of very hot (red-enhanced) pixels was at 1527 UTC from GOES-16/17, vs 1715 UTC from GOES-15; at the end of the day, the very hot fire pixels were no longer seen with GOES-15 after 2300 UTC, but continued to show up in GOES-17 imagery until 0042 UTC and in GOES-16 imagery until 0122 UTC.

Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-15 (3.9 µm, left), GOES-17 (3.9 µm, center) and GOES-16 (3.9 µm, right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-15 (3.9 µm, left), GOES-17 (3.9 µm, center) and GOES-16 (3.9 µm, right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Severe thunderstorms in Wisconsin

August 28th, 2018 |

GOES-16

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

Thunderstorms produced a variety of severe weather (SPC storm reports) as they moved eastward across the Upper Midwest on 28 August 2018. 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the development and progression of the severe convection across central Wisconsin.

GOES-16

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

Toggles beween Visible and Infrared images from Terra MODIS (1715 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1855 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1945 UTC) are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

These storms also brought heavy rain, which resulted in flooding that closed Interstate 90/94 near Mauston (about halfway between Madison and Fort McCoy) — that area received about 10 inches of rainfall in a 48-hour period (below). Amtrack trains were also forced to stop overnight near that same area, due to flooded tracks.

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]

Hail-producing thunderstorm in South Dakota

August 26th, 2018 |
Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right), with SPC storm reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation | MP4]

 * GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

A comparison of Visible images from GOES-15 (GOES-West), GOES-17 and GOES-16 (GOES-East) (above) showed a severe thunderstorm that developed ahead of an advancing cold front (surface analyses) in central South Dakota late in the day on 26 August 2018. This storm produced hail as large as 4.0 inches in diameter (SPC storm reports), and also exhibited an above anvil cirrus plume (AACP) which is a signature often associated with severe thunderstorms.

The images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite, with no re-mapping. Note the important differences due to satellite scan strategy — the GOES-15 imager was initially performing a Full Disk scan, so imagery was only available every 30 minutes; the GOES-17 ABI was scanning at the standard “CONUS Sector” 5 minute interval; a GOES-16 ABI Mesoscale Domain Sector was providing images every 1 minute.