Satellite Views of Meteor Vapor Trail Over Russia

February 15th, 2013 |
FY-2D 0.73 µm Visible image

FY-2D 0.73 µm Visible image

A Meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Ural Mountains of western Russia today at approximately 0320 UTC (09:20 AM local time). The visible image from just after sunrise, above, from the Chinese FY-2D satellite shows an east-west plume, likely from the meteor, near Chelyabinsk. Meteosat-9 also captured the event (YouTube | EUMETSAT), as did Meteosat-10.

Multi-channel animation of FY-2D imagery (courtesy of Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS ASPB)

Multi-channel animation of FY-2D imagery (courtesy of Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS ASPB)

FY-2D has multiple channels. An animation of the visible (0.73 µm), near-infrared (3.8 µm), ‘water vapor’ (6.8 µm) and far-infrared (11.0 µm) is shown above. The signature of the meteor vapor trail is present in each of the channels. A before/after comparison  (03:00 and 03:30 UTC) of FY-2D 0.73 µm visible, 3.8 µm shortwave IR, 6.8 µm water vapor, and 10.8 µm IR window channel images is shown below.

Before/after comparison of FY-2D 0.73 µm visible, 3.8 µm shortwave IR, 6.8 µm water vapor, and 10.8 µm IR window channel images

Before/after comparison of FY-2D 0.73 µm visible, 3.8 µm shortwave IR, 6.8 µm water vapor, and 10.8 µm IR window channel images

An oblique view using 0.73 µm visible channel images from the Japanese MTSAT-2 satellite (below; click image to play animation) revealed that the stratospheric component of the meteor trail could be seen for as long as 9 hours with the aid of illumination from the sun.

MTSAT-2 0.73 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

MTSAT-2 0.73 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

A comparison of MTSAT-2 3.75 µm shortwave IR, 10.8 µm longwave IR, and 0.73 µm visible channel images (below; click image to play animation) showed that the meteor plume exhibited a dark (warm) signature on the shortwave IR images, due to this channel’s sensitivity to reflected solar radiation — that signature was seen to disappear with the loss of daytime sunlight. Since the meteor trail was not a particularly dense cloud, it did not exhibit a good signature on the longwave IR images; however, there was some recognizable signal due to the fact that the mean meteor trail IR brightness temperature of around 242 K (-31º C) was significantly warmer than that of the background IR brightness temperature of space (165 K or -108º C).

MTSAT-2 3.75 µm shortwave IR, 10.8 µm longwave IR, and 0.73 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

MTSAT-2 3.75 µm shortwave IR, 10.8 µm longwave IR, and 0.73 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

(Added, October 2013: This event has been written up in a journal article: Link)

Bennett Island cloud plume

February 14th, 2013 |
Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR channel images (click image to play animation)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR channel images (click image to play animation)

AWIPS II images of 375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR channel images (above; click image to play animation) captured an example of a “Bennett Island cloud plume” off the north coast of Siberia on 13-14 February 2013. Minimum IR brightness temperature values reached -51 C during the early stages of plume development. Due to the orientation of the AWIPS II Northern Hemisphere map projection, the images were rotated 90 degrees to the left, so that North was approximately toward the top of the images. Full-resolution (375-meter) VIIRS data are now being distributed to Alaska Region AWIPS II users.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR image with GFS190 500 hPa wind barbs

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR image with GFS190 500 hPa wind barbs

A VIIRS IR image with an overlay of GFS190 model 500 hPa winds (above) showed a generally light southeasterly flow of 10-20 knots across the region. This was in good agreement with rawinsonde data (below) from the Chokurdah, Russia site (located south of Bennett Island, over northern Siberia).

 

Chokurdah, Russia rawinsonde data plot

Chokurdah, Russia rawinsonde data plot

 

Kelvin-Helmholtz billows: a satellite signature of turbulence potentital?

February 10th, 2013 |

MODIS 0.65 µm visible, 11.0 µm IR, and 6.7 µm water vapor channel images

A comparison of AWIPS images of 1-km resolution MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel, 11.0 µm IR channel, and 6.7 µm water channel data (above) revealed subtle Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) billow features across parts of eastern Iowa on 10 February 2013 that were only apparent in the water vapor imagery. In the vicinity of these elongated mesoscale wave signatures, there were a few pilot reports of light to moderate turbulence (primarily within the 14,000-21,000 foot altitude range).

An animation of 4-km resolution GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor images (below) did not show any evidence of these K-H billow features within the dry slot that was wrapping around the center of a large and intense winter storm that was producing blizzard conditions from Nebraska to North Dakota.

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

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

A comparison of the 1-km resolution MODIS water vapor image with the corresponding 4-km resolution GOES-13 water vapor image (below) demonstrated the advantage of improved spatial resolution for the detection of such potentially-important mesoscale features. The slight northwestward shift of features seen on the GOES-13 water vapor image is due to parallax.

MODIS 6.7 µm and GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images

MODIS 6.7 µm and GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel images

Blowing dust over New Mexico and Texas

February 9th, 2013 |
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) showed the development of widespread plumes of blowing dust over parts of New Mexico and Texas on 09 February 2013. Surface wind gusts across the region were as high as 79 mph in New Mexico and 71 MPH in Texas. Most of the blowing dust appeared to have originated from dry lake beds in northern Mexico, but early in the animation a narrow dust plume can be seen whose source region was White Sands, New Mexico. Due to an increasingly favorable forward scattering angle, the dust became more apparent on the visible imagery during the afternoon hours.

A comparison of AWIPS images of 1-km resolution MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and 1.61 µm near-IR “cirrus detection channel” data (below) demonstrated how the MODIS cirrus channel can be used to more accurately identify the leading edge of the airborne dust over eastern New Mexico — the 1.61 µm channel can detect the presence of partcles that are efficient scatterers of light (such as cirrus cloud ice crystals, volcanic ash, smoke, dust).

MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel image and 1.61 µm near-IR

MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel image and 1.61 µm near-IR “cirrus detection channel” image

A closer view using 250-meter resolution Terra (18:28 UTC) and Aqua (20:04 UTC) MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC MODIS Today site (below) helped to identify a few of the blowing dust source regions in far northern Mexico.

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images