Toxic Algal Bloom in Western Lake Erie

August 4th, 2014 |
Terra MODIS True Color Imagery (click to play animation)

Terra MODIS True Color Imagery (click to play animation)

As happened in 2011, an algae bloom is ongoing over Lake Erie. The current bloom has contaminated at least one water intake for Toledo, Ohio’s municipal water supply with microcystin, a cyanobacter that when ingested can damage the liver and nauseate people. (There is also significant danger to pets). A series of true-color images (from 4 July, 1 August and 4 August) taken from the MODIS Today website, above, (combining visible channels at 0.6465 µm [red], 0.5537 µm [green] and 0.4656 µm [blue]) shows changes in the water color over the past month. (Image Source: MODIS Today) Some changes are apparent over western Lake Erie that are associated with the toxic bloom.

The algal growth is more readily apparent in the false-color imagery below. This red/green/blue image is constructed with 2.1143 µm imagery as ‘red’, 0.8567 µm imagery as ‘green’ and 0.6465 µm imagery as ‘blue’. The animation including scenes from 4 July, 1 August and 4 August shows dramatic growth between 1 and 4 August. Near-infrared channels — such as 0.8567 µm — are sensitive to energy reflected by algae.

Terra MODIS True Color Imagery (click to play animation)

Terra MODIS True Color Imagery (click to play animation)

A series of True-Color images for six days this Spring/Summer is here. The increase in algae in the western part of Lake Erie is apparent, but it seems that the outbreak this year is less wide-spread than the outbreak in October of 2011. A series of False-Color images is here.

[Update, 5 August 2014: Toledo’s water supply has been deemed safe to drink]

Mesovortices within the eye of Hurricane Iselle

August 4th, 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)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images (above; click to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie) revealed the presence of mesovortices within the eye of Category 4 Hurricane Iselle on 04 August 2014. Mesovortices are sometimes seen in the eye and eyewall of tropical cyclones that are going through a period of intensification.

Before sunrise, a 10:30 UTC comparison of GOES-15 10.7 µm IR and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave images from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed that Iselle was beginning to exhibit the appearance of an annular hurricane; note that the ring of high-intensity rainfall within the eyewall was much larger on the microwave image than the “cloud-free” eye that was seen on the IR image.

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR and TMI 85 GHz microwave images

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR and TMI 85 GHz microwave images

========================= Update, 5 August 2014 ==========================

Hourly imagery from 1300 UTC on 4 August to 1300 UTC 5 August shows Iselle maintaining a generally westward track. Cloud-top temperatures have warmed over the 24 hours shown, however, and the eyewall is becoming less distinct. Iselle’s path has been over SSTs that are progressively cooler. Further weakening is expected today.

GOES-15 10.7 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 10.7 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Suomi NPP overflew Iselle late in the afternoon of the 4th, and a true color image of the storm is shown below (Image Source: NOAA Hawaii X/L Antenna). A mesovortex can be identified in the eye in this high-resolution image.

Suomi NPP True Color Imagery of Iselle, 2300 UTC 4 August 2014 (click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP True Color Imagery of Iselle, 2300 UTC 4 August 2014 (click to enlarge)