Wildfires in the northwestern US

August 29th, 2012
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel + 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel data (click image to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel + 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel data (click image to play animation)

McIDAS images of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel data during the day and 3.9 µm shortwave IR data at night (above; click image to play animation) revealed a number of very large and dense smoke plumes from wildfires that were burning in parts of the northwestern US (primarily in Idaho) on 28 August29 August 2012. The GOES-13 satellite had been placed into Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) mode, providing images as frequently as very 5-10 minutes.

During the following overnight hours, AWIPS images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band (DNB), 3.74 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm IR data (below) demonstrated the value of the DNB providing a visible channel at night (under ideal conditions of illumination by ample moonlight). While the 11.45 µm IR image verified that there were some patches of meteorological cloud in the region, the majority of the bright features seen on the DNB image were thick airborne smoke.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/night Band, 3.74 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm IR window images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/night Band, 3.74 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm IR window images

An even closer view using McIDAS-V images of VIIRS 0.8 µm DNB and 4.05 µm shortwave IR data (below; images courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) highlighted the Mustang Fire Complex smoke plume and “fire hot spots” (black to yellow to red color enhancement) at 08:32 UTC. This fire was particularly hot, producing pyrocumulus clouds even into the night-time hours. The hottest IR brightness temperature  in the red-enhanced region was 546.5 K (or  273.4 C,  524 F).

Suomi NPP 0.8 µm Day/Night Band, 3.73 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm longwave IR images

Suomi NPP 0.8 µm Day/Night Band, 3.73 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm longwave IR images

===== 31 August Update =====

A night-time image comparison of the VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band and the corresponding 3.74 µm shortwave IR (below) revealed areas of smoke that were trapped in some of the valleys of central Idaho at 09:34 UTC (3:34 AM local time) on 31 August 2012.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band image + 3.74 µm shortwave IR image

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band image + 3.74 µm shortwave IR image

Hurricane Isaac

August 28th, 2012

Isaac reached Category 1 hurricane intensity mid-day on 28 August 2012. AWIPS images of 1-km resolution visible and IR data from the VIIRS, AVHRR, and MODIS instruments (below) showed curved banding features and convective bursts with overshooting tops, along with cloud top IR brightness temperatures as cold as -86º C.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images at 18:33 UTC

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images at 18:33 UTC

POES AVHRR 0.86 µm visible and 12.0 µm IR images at 19:25 UTC

POES AVHRR 0.86 µm visible and 12.0 µm IR images at 19:25 UTC

MODIS 0.65 µm visible and 11.0 µm IR images at 19:41 UTC

MODIS 0.65 µm visible and 11.0 µm IR images at 19:41 UTC

McIDAS images of 1-minute interval Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSOR) 0.63 µm visible channel and 10.7 µm IR channel data (below) showed the detail and temporal evolution of the convective bursts that developed near the center of the circulation of Hurricane Isaac as it made landfall over the Mississippi River delta region along the southeast Louisiana coast around 23:45 UTC.

GOES-14 0.63 µm visible images (click image to play animation)

GOES-14 0.63 µm visible images (click image to play animation)

GOES-14 10.7 µm IR images (click image to play animation)

GOES-14 10.7 µm IR images (click image to play animation)

===== 29 August Update =====

A comparison of night-time AWIPS images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band data with the corresponding 11.45 µm IR data (below) at 08:29 UTC (3:29 AM local time) showed some spiral banding structure within the eastern semicircle of Isaac, along with an isolated area of deep convection immediately offshore (the minimum IR brightness temperature associated with this feature was -88 C). City lights could be seen in the northwestern portion of the image, where there were breaks in the clouds or only a thin veil of high clouds covered the area.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.8 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Tropical Cyclone Interaction in the Western Pacific

August 28th, 2012
MTSAT-2 10.8 µm infrared imagery (click image to animate)

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm infrared imagery (click image to animate)

When two tropical cyclones are within close proximity to each other, they will typically start a rotation around a common center. This interaction, called the Fujiwhara Effect, may be occurring in the image loop above. Typhoon Bolaven approaches Typhoon Tembin, and the distance between the two reaches a minimum on 23 August, after which time Tembin moves west and Bolaven moves northwest. Subsequent to Bolaven’s recurvature over the Korean peninsula, Tembin moves northward into midlatitudes as well.

850-mb vorticity maps from CIMSS Tropical Weather Website (click image to animate)

850-mb vorticity maps from CIMSS Tropical Weather Website (click image to animate)

The CIMSS Tropical Website includes 850-mb vorticity analyses. A 10-day loop that shows the motion of Tembin and Bolaven is shown above.

Day-Night Band Imagery of Isaac

August 28th, 2012
Suomi/NPP VIIRS Day-Night Band and 11.45 µm infrared channel (click image to toggle between images)

Suomi/NPP VIIRS Day-Night Band and 11.45 µm infrared channel (click image to toggle between images)

The Day-Night Band on VIIRS, flying on the Suomi/NPP satellite gave an excellent view of Isaac at strong tropical storm strength in the northern Gulf of Mexico shortly after midnight on August 28 2012. VIIRS is providing something unique to forecasters: Visible imagery at night that allows easy identification of overshooting tops and cirrus blow-off, and cumulus fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The infrared window channel on VIIRS showed coldest cloud-top temperatures of -84 C, and also the effects of dry air on the tropical system. Convection is suppressed in the northern half of the storm. A zoomed-in annotated version of the above VIIRS image comparison is available here.

VIIRS data used to produce these images was acquired by the X/L band antenna here at CIMSS in Wisconsin, and was processed using the Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP).

GOES-14 0.63 µm visible channel imagery (click image to play animation)

GOES-14 0.63 µm visible channel imagery (click image to play animation)

During the first few hours after sunrise, GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSOR) visible imagery at 1-minute intervals (above; click image to play animation) showed the development of a number of  convective elements around the center of Isaac’s circulation. After about 14 UTC, the rotation of the low-level circulation of Isaac could be seen as a “clear slot” opened up between areas of convection.

More information on Isaac is available at the National Hurricane Center website, and at the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site. One-minute imagery of the storm from GOES-14 can downloaded in real time from this website.