Pyrocumulonimbus clouds in British Columbia, Canada

August 12th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [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) along with “Red” Visible and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the formation of 3 pyrocumulonimbus( pyroCb) clouds late in the evening on 12 August 2017, within the cluster of ongoing intense wildfires in British Columbia, Canada.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A toggle between NOAA-18 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Near-Infrared (0.86 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images is shown below. The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature was -70º C (associated with the northernmost pyroCb).

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

In a daytime Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (from RealEarth) with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red (below), a very large pall of exceptionally-dense smoke from the BC fires could be seen drifting northward as far as the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

The Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index (AI) product (below; courtesy of Colin Seftor, SSAI) displayed AI values as high as 17.18 within the thick BC fire smoke pall.

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

===== 13 August Update =====

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

On 13 August, a maximum OMPS AI value of 39.91 was seen at around 21:13 UTC over the Northwest Territories of Canada (above) — according to Colin Seftor and Mike Fromm (NRL), this value surpassed the highest pyroCb-related AI value ever measured by TOMS or OMI (whose period of record began in 1979).

The north-northeastward transport of BC fire smoke — as well as a prominent increase in smoke from fires across northern Canada and the Prairies — was evident in an animation of daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 07-13 August (below).

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]

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

 

Midwest derecho

July 19th, 2017 |

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

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

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

A long-lived mesoscale convective system (MCS) known as a derecho produced swath of damaging winds — as well as some large hail and a couple of tornadoes — that stretched from north-central South Dakota to northwestern Indiana on 19 July 2017 (SPC storm reports | TWC summary). GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the southeastward propagation of the storm system.

Closer views of the early stages of the derecho as it moved across central and eastern South Dakota are shown below, using GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images. The highest measured wind gust was 100 mph near Polo (1522 UTC), with 83 mph recorded at Huron (1636 and 1730 UTC). Hail of 2.50 inches in diameter fell near Cavour (1703 UTC). Note that most of the severe reports were in the general vicinity of the persistent cold overshooting top (black to white enhancement) seen on the Infrared imagery; due to parallax, the apparent location of this storm-top feature was shifted slightly north of its true location.

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

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

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

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

1-km resolution Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at (below) showed the MCS over the Huron (KHON) area at 1656 UTC. Since there is minimal parallax associated with polar-orbiter satellite imagery, the cluster of SPC storm reports (occurring within +/- 30 minutes of the time of the MODIS image) was much closer to the cold (-70 to -73º C, lighter gray enhancement) overshooting top. Another feature of interest seen on the Infrared image was a “warm trench” (exhibiting brightness temperatures as warm as -60º C, red enhancement) immediately surrounding the cold overshooting top — perhaps a result of compensating subsidence?

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

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

375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1846 UTC (below) provided a detailed view of the MCS as it was centered near the South Dakota / Minnesota border. The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature was -83º C (violet enhancement).

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

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

Large iceberg breaks off the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica

July 12th, 2017 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images on 12 July 2017 (above; courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) shows the large iceberg (named A-68) that had separated from the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica (Project MIDAS).

===== 13 July Update =====

A 12 July vs 13 July comparison of VIIRS Infrared Window and Day/Night Band images (below) revealed a slight expansion of the ice fracture, as Iceberg A-68 slowly drifted away from the Larsen-C ice shelf.

12 July vs 13 July Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

12 July vs 13 July Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

12 July vs 13 July Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

12 July vs 13 July Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]