Mesoscale Convective Vortex (MCV) over Mississippi

March 30th, 2012
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

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

 

McIDAS images of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) revealed the cyclonic circulation of a Mesoscale Convective  Vortex (MCV) that was moving northeastward across Mississippi on 30 March 2012. This MCV appeared to play a role in helping to initiate new convective cells ahead of it as the atmosphere destabilized during the late morning and early afternoon hours.

AWIPS images of GOES-13 10.7 µm IR channel images (below; click image to play animation) helped to identify the apparent origin of the MCV — a large mesoscale convective system that developed along the Texas coast after about 15 UTC on the previous day (29 March).

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

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

A closer look at the parent mesoscale convective system using a 1-km resolution MODIS 11.0 µm IR image with overlays of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes (below) showed that the storm was producing a large number of lightning strikes. The coldest MODIS cloud top IR brightness temperatures were -70 C (darker black color enhancement).

MODIS 11.0 µm IR channel image + Cloud-to-ground lightning strikes

MODIS 11.0 µm IR channel image + Cloud-to-ground lightning strikes

 

Lower North Fork Fire in Colorado

March 27th, 2012
GOES-15 + GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images

GOES-15 + GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images

The “Lower North Fork Fire” near Aspen Park, Colorado began during the afternoon hours on 26 March 2012 and rapidly expanded to over 4100 acres in size. 2 fatalities resulted from this fire, with over 900 homes being evacuated and at least 27 homes damaged or destroyed. The combination of strong southwesterly winds (gusting in the 35-50 mph range) and very dry air (relative humidity values around 10%) created an environment that was favorable for rapid wildfire growth. A comparison of McIDAS images of GOES-15 (GOES-West) and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible channel data (above) showed the development of a large smoke plume with embedded pyrocumulus clouds.

The corresponding series of GOES-15 and GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (below) revealed how quickly the fire “hot spot” (black to yellow to red color enhancement) grew in size.

GOES-15 + GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

GOES-15 + GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

An AWIPS comparison of a 1-km resolution POES AVHRR 3.7 µm shortwave IR image with the corresponding 4-km resolution GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image just after 02 UTC or 8 pm local time  (below) demonstrated the advantage of higher spatial resolution for more accurately identifying the location and areal coverage of the fire.

POES AVHRR 3.7 µm + GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

POES AVHRR 3.7 µm + GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

A larger scale HD-format view of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (below; click image to play animation) revealed other interesting features across the region, such as (1) a large blowing dust plume oriented from southwest to northeast across Colorado, (2) a terrain-induced standing wave cloud over southwestern Colorado, (3) the development of a line of thunderstorms across eastern Wyoming, and (4) another smaller blowing dust plume across eastern Idaho. Animated GIF courtesy of Tim Schmit, NOAA/ASPB/CIMSS.

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

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

Suomi NPP: VIIRS true color imagery

March 26th, 2012
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image

After the Suomi NPP satellite had experienced an anomaly and gone into a sun-pointing “safe mode” on 24 March, all the satellite instruments began to successfully recover by 26 March 2012. Shown above is a 750-meter resolution true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image from the VIIRS instrument, acquired via the Direct Broadcast ground station at the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (image courtesy of Liam Gumley, SSEC). A number of interesting features can be seen in the image, including (1) the break-up of ice in Hudson Bay and James Bay in Canada, (2) smoke plumes from fires burning across parts of the southeastern US, and (3) the outflow of sediment-rich water from the mouth of the Mississippi River (and other rivers) into the Gulf of Mexico.

GOES-15 is operational once again

March 23rd, 2012
GOES-13 + GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (with surface analyses and buoy reports)

GOES-13 + GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (with surface analyses and buoy reports)

GOES-15 was restored to operational status mid-day on 23 March 2012 (after a satellite outage that began after 20:30 UTC on 21 March). Using AWIPS, a sequence of  GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images early in the day, followed by the return of GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel images (above) showed the dramatic improvement in the appearance of features associated with a large mid-latitude cyclone over the East Pacific Ocean. This cyclone was producing Storm Force winds over the open waters of the Pacific, as well as Gale Force winds off the coasts of California and Oregon.

McIDAS images of GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel data (below) portrayed the large size of this storm system.

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

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

Shown below is an HD-format version of an animation of GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (courtesy of Tim Schmit, NOAA/ASPB/CIMSS).

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

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