Slide Fire in Arizona

May 22nd, 2014 |
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

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

McIDAS images of GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) showed the rapid growth of the smoke plume from the Slide Fire which was burning in Arizona on 21 May 2014.

As the fire continued to burn into the night, a comparison of AWIPS images of 375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm and 4-km resolution GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (below) demonstrated the advantage of improved spatial resolution (and a more direct viewing angle) of the VIIRS data for determining both the intensity and the true location of the fire hot spots around 10 UTC or 4 am local time.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm and GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image comparison

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm and GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR image comparison

On the following morning, GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible channel images (below; click to play animation) the smoke plume aloft and smoke which had settled into valleys could be seen during the early morning hours.

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

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

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from 21 May and 22 May are visualized using the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below). On 22 May, bands of high-altitude cirrus clouds were moving over the region, making the identification of the north/northwestward-moving smoke plume a bit more difficult.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images (21 and 22 May)

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images (21 and 22 May)

Cyclonic transport of fire smoke over the Gulf of Alaska

May 21st, 2014 |
GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

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

McIDAS images of GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) showed the cyclonic transport of smoke across the Gulf of Alaska on 20 May 2014. The source of the smoke was the Funny River Fire that was burning on the Kenai Peninsula of south-central Alaska, near Soldotna. The fire quickly grew to 20,000 acres in about 24 hours.

The curved smoke plume was also quite evident on 3 separate Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band images (below). Smoke was reducing the surface visibility as low as 3 miles at Homer (station identifier PAHO).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band images

Even though patchy clouds covered the Kenai Peninsula region around 13 UTC, the fire “hot spots” (black to yellow to red color enhancement) were still detectable on the VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR image (below).

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

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

GOES-14 SRSOR: Storm-centered Loop of Supercell over the High Plains of Colorado

May 21st, 2014 |
GOES-14 0.62 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

An isolated Supercell Thunderstorm developed near Denver on 20 May and then moved eastward over the High Plains. The storm produced significant hail. GOES-14 was operating in SRSOR mode and viewing Colorado during the storm’s lifecycle, and the animation above (click image for a large animated gif file) is centered on the storm, highlighting the inflow into the storm from the southeast and the strong difluence around the updraft.

An earth-centered animation is available here. The animated gif clickable above is also available as a YouTube video, or downloadable in mp4 format here.

This animation shows the visible and the 10.7 µm infrared for the same time period. (Also available on YouTube).

(Two more YouTube Videos: Visible (mp4 here) and Infrared (mp4 here), with some bad lines removed)

Second-latest snowfall on record at Rockford, Ilinois

May 16th, 2014 |
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)

According to the NWS Chicago, Rockford Illinois had their second-latest snowfall on record during the morning of 16 May 2014. AWIPS images of 4-km resolution GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel data (above; click image to play animation) showed the distinct signature of the center of the upper-level low that moved southeastward across Iowa and Illinois during the 15-16 May period.

The relatively dry “eye-like” signature of the center of the upper-level low also showed up well on 1-km resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel imagery (below).

Terra and Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel images

Terra and Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel images

Widespread convective features could be seen beneath the upper-level low on 375-meter resolution (projected onto a 1-km AWIPS grid) Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel images (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel images