The nighttime glow of Hawaii’s Kilauwea volcano

April 28th, 2015
Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

The Kilauwea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i began erupting in March 2008 (blog post | USGS reference), and has been in a nearly continuous phase of activity since then. During the pre-dawn hours of 28 April 2015, thermal signatures of the Kilauwea summit lava lake and nearby lava flows could be seen on McIDAS-V images of 10-minute interval Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (above; click image to play animation). The dark black pixels represent the hottest IR brightness temperatures.

On the corresponding Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (below; click image to play animation), the clusters of bright white pixels represent the glow of the hot lava features.

Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (click to play animation)

A different view is provided by the polar-orbiting Suomi NPP satellite — a comparison of AWIPS II images of VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR data (below) revealed the locations of the hottest lava features (black to yellow to red color enhancement) at 11:40 UTC (1:40 am local time).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

A longer animation using GOES-15 (GOES-West) 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (below; click image to play animation) showed considerable temporal fluctuation in the location and intensity of the hot lava pixels (black to yellow to red color enhancement). For the latest information on the Kilauea eruption, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

GOES-15 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

Gravity Waves Associated with Calbuco Volcanic Eruption

April 23rd, 2015
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Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm imagery, 0509 UTC 23 April 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP overflew the erupting Calbuco Volcano in southern Chile around 0509 UTC or 2:09 am local time on 23 April 2015. The image above is the VIIRS 11.45 µm infrared imagery (click here for a similar view).

The shock of the volcanic eruption generated mesospheric gravity waves (or “mesospheric airglow waves”) that were evident in the Day/Night Band, shown in the toggle below between the 11.45 µm and the night-time visible imagery. No lunar illumination was present, so the waves were apparent via the Earth’s airglow as the primary light source; this “night glow” is emitted from a variety of high-altitude (80-105 km) gases located near the mesopause (reference).

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Toggle between VIIRS 11.45 µm infrared image and 0.70 µm Day/Night Band image, 0509 UTC 23 April 2015 (Click to enlarge)

(VIIRS images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC)

Calbuco volcanic eruption in Chile

April 23rd, 2015
GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible and 10.7 µm IR channel images at 2138 UTC (with surface reports)

GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible and 10.7 µm IR channel images at 2138 UTC (with surface reports)

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted around 2103 UTC or 6:03 pm local time on 22 April 2015. The first good satellite view of the volcanic cloud was provided by the 2138 UTC or 6:38 pm local time GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible channel and 10.7 µm IR channel images (above). The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature at that time was -65º C, which was very close to the tropopause temperature as indicated on the nearby Puerto Montt rawinsonde reports from 1200 UTC on 22 April and 23 April — the height of the tropopause was between 12.3 and 15.6 km on each day (there were 2 tropopause levels TRO1 and TRO2 coded in both of the upper air reports).

However, before the volcanic cloud was seen, a well-defined thermal anomaly or “hot spot” was evident on the previous GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image at 2045 UTC or 5:45 pm local time (below). The hottest 3.9 µm IR brightness temperature at that time was 340.8 K (red pixel), which is very close to the saturation temperature of the GOES-13 3.9 µm detectors.

GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image at 2045 UTC

GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image at 2045 UTC

An oblique view of the early stage of the volcanic cloud was captured on a 2100 UTC GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image (below; closer view).

GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image at 2100 UTC

GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image at 2100 UTC

A sequence of GOES-13 (GOES-East) 10.7 µm IR channel images (below; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) revealed that there was a second explosive eruption that began sometime before the 0508 UTC or 2:08 am local time image on 23 April. The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature with this second eruption was -68º C at 0808 UTC. Also, at 0508 UTC mesospheric airglow waves were seen with Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery.

GOES-13 (GOES-East) 10.7 µm IR images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 (GOES-East) 10.7 µm IR images (click to play animation)

On the morning of 23 April, a 1200 UTC GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image (below) provided a good view of the large areal coverage of volcanic cloud material resulting from the 2 eruptions.

GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image

GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible image

Finally, a before-eruption (21 April) and post-eruption (23 April) comparison of Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images as visualized using the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below) showed the effect of ashfall on some of the higher terrain downwind of Calbuco, which was particularly evident on the snow-capped summits of the Osorno and Puyehue volcanoes (yellow arrows).

Before (21 April) and after (23 April) Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images

Before (21 April) and after (23 April) Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images

—– 24 April Update —–

A series of GOES-13 and Terra/Aqua MODIS volcanic ash height retrieval images from the SSEC Volcano Monitoring site (below; click image to play animation) showed that the ash from each of the two explosive eruptions reached heights of 18-20 km (black color enhancement), which was well into the stratosphere.

GOES-13 and Terra/Aqua MODIS volcanic ash height retrieval values (click to play animation)

GOES-13 and Terra/Aqua MODIS volcanic ash height retrieval values (click to play animation)

Volcanic Eruption on Kamchatka

March 26th, 2015
Himawari-8 Visible (0.64µm) Imagery (Click to animate)

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64µm) Imagery (click to animate)

Infrared imagery from Himawari-8 has a nominal resolution of two km (at the sub-satellite point), but a visible channel has a nominal resolution of 0.5 km which can provide imagery with great detail. In the example above, the visible imagery captures the eruption, beginning around 2210 UTC on 25 March 2015, of the Shiveluch volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The volcanic plume then moves downstream in northwesterly flow. Himawari-8 remains in post-launch testing, the period when the satellite calibration and navigation is thoroughly checked.

Suomi NPP overflew this region multiple times on 26 March 2015. VIIRS data from a 0126 UTC overpass, below, taken from this website, show satellite-based diagnostics of this event. The animation cycles through a Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm – 12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height and a False Color RGB presentation of the volcanic plume.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm -12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height, and False Color Imagery, 0126 UTC 26 March 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm -12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height, and False Color Imagery, 0126 UTC 26 March 2015 (click to enlarge)

Update: On 26 March, a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image from the SSEC RealEarth site provided a nice view of the Shiveluch volcanic plume (below); also evident on the true-color image (as well as on images from the previous two days) to the north of Shiveluch were a pair of volcanic ash “fall streaks”, where the tan-colored ash landed on top of the existing snow cover.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 24, 25, and 26 March

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 24, 25, and 26 March

GOES-15 also viewed the eruption, at the extreme edge of its limb, as seen on the sequence of 0.63 µm visible channel images below (Shiveluch is at the center of the images).

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)