Eruption of the Mount Ontake volcano in Japan

September 27th, 2014
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images on 27, 28, and 29 September

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images on 27, 28, and 29 September

The Mount Ontake volcano erupted on the main Japanese island of Honshu around 02:52 UTC (11:52 AM local time) on 27 September 2014. A sequence of three daily (27, 28, and 29 September) Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (above) showed the volcanic plume drifting eastward then southeastward during that period. The ash plume disrupted air travel in some parts of Japan.

A comparison of pre-eruption (22 September) and post-eruption (28 September) VIIRS true-color images (below) revealed the light gray signature of thick volcanic ash covering the region around the summit of Mount Ontake. There was also a narrow volcanic plume streaming southeastward on the 28 September image.

22 September vs 28 September VIIRS true-color images

22 September vs 28 September VIIRS true-color images

The King Fire in California

September 19th, 2014
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images

The King Fire began burning in central California (between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe) during the evening hours on 13 September 2014. A sequence of daily (12-19 September) Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC RealEarth web map server site (above) showed that as the prevailing southwesterly wind pattern switched to easterly on 19 September, there was a major change in the transport of smoke from the King Fire. The final image in the series zooms out to show how much of central California had become over-run with thick smoke.

A comparison of AWIPS-II images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR image at 09:18 UTC or 2:18 AM local time (below) revealed the bright glow of the large fire complex, along with the large fire “hot spot” signature (black to yellow to red color enhancement).

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

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images during the overnight hours (just after 2 AM local time) on 17 and 18 September (below) showed the dramatic northeastward advance of the fire hot spot signature during that 24-hour period. Smoke from the fire was reducing the surface visibility to 3-4 miles as far to the northeast as Lovelock (KLOL) and Fallon (KNFL) in Nevada.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

01 September, and no named tropical cyclones!

September 1st, 2014
Global composite of IR images, with tropical cyclone center points (click to play Animated GIF)

Global composite of IR images, with tropical cyclone center points (click to play Animated GIF)

It is rather rare to have no named tropical cyclones anywhere on the globe on the first day of September, but that was the case on 01 September 2014. A sequence of hourly global composite IR images from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (Animated GIF | MP4 movie file | YouTube video) showed the void of tropical activity — until Tropical Depression 5 formed late in the day in the Gulf of Mexico. This feature later became Tropical Storm Dolly early on 02 September.

Hurricane Cristobal and the Saharan Air Layer

August 28th, 2014
Meteosat-10 Saharan Air Layer product (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 Saharan Air Layer product (click to play animation)

The CIMSS Saharan Air Layer (SAL) product (above; click image to play animation) showed a large pocket of SAL (yellow to red color enhancement) drifting westward over the far western Atlantic Ocean and toward the Gulf of Mexico on 28 August 2014.

On GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (below; click image to play animation), the hazy signature of the SAL dust could be seen surging westward, not far to the south of Category 1 intensity Hurricane Cristobal.

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The SAL also exhibited a warm/dry signature (yellow to orange color enhancement) on the corresponding GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (below; click image to play animation).

GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

At 17:16 UTC, a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image from the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below) showed that Hurricane Cristobal had developed an eye formation.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

A comparison of AWIPS-2 images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel data (below) revealed that the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperatures (-77º C, lighter gray color enhancement) were located within convection just southwest and southeast of the eye.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible image and 11.45 µm IR channel image

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible image and 11.45 µm IR channel image