Typhoon Maysak in the West Pacific Ocean

March 30th, 2015
Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

McIDAS-V images of Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation; images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the evolution of Category 2 Typhoon Maysak over the West Pacific Ocean on 30 March 2015. A number of large convective bursts can be seen surrounding the eye, along with more subtle features such as transverse banding.

An 11:01 UTC MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with an overlay of 11:11 UTC Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) revealed the wind field in the eastern semicircle of the tropical cyclone.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds

Several hours later, a comparison of a 19:01 UTC MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image with a 19:00 UTC DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image (below) showed that the microwave instrument was able to “see” through the clouds surrounding the eye to depict the larger size of the eyewall structure.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image + DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR image + DMSP SSMIS 85 GHz microwave image

During the later hours of 30 March, Typhoon Maysak underwent a period of rapid intensification from a Category 2 to a Category 4 storm, as depicted on a plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate (below). Rapid intensification occurred as the tropical cyclone was moving over an area of relatively high ocean heat content.

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate plot for Typhoon Maysak

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) intensity estimate plot for Typhoon Maysak

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images during this period of rapid intensification are shown below (click image to play animation).

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR images (click to play animation)

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR images (click to play animation)

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product (below; click image to play animation) depicted TPW values in excess of 60 mm or 2.36 inches (darker red color enhancement) associated with Maysak as the tropical cyclone moved between the islands of Guam (PGUM) and Yap (PTYA). Yap recorded over 4 inches of rainfall.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (click to play animation)

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (click to play animation)

31 March 2015 Update: Maysak intensified to a Category 5 Super Typhoon (ADT plot). Full-resolution visible imagery from Himawari-8 AHI is shown below; a faster animation is available here. A number of mesovortices could be seen within the eye of Maysak; these mesovortices were also evident in photos of the eye of the typhoon taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, as posted on Twitter here and here.

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Images from all 16 channels from the Himawari-8 AHI can be combined into one animation, showing the different information provided by each of the spectral bands — such an animation is shown below, using data from 0600 UTC on 31 March 2015. The Infrared data is shown at full (2-km) resolution; Visible/near Infrared imagery is scaled down by a factor of 2 (0.46 µm, 0.51 µm, 0.85 µm) or by a factor of 4 (0.64 µm). A similar animation, but without annotation or color enhancement, is available here.

Himawari-8 AHI images for all 16 channels at 0600 UTC (click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 AHI images for all 16 channels at 0600 UTC (click to enlarge)

Maysak had remained in an environment of relatively low deep-layer wind shear (below; click image to play animation), which was favorable for its trend of continued intensification.

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images, with deep-layer wind shear (click to play animation)

MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel images, with deep-layer wind shear (click to play animation)

However, in a comparison of MTSAT-2 10.8 µm IR channel and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave images around 14 UTC (below), it can be seen that the microwave image indicated that an eyewall replacement cycle might be underway (which would suggest a subsequent decrease in the typhoon’s intensity within the coming hours). This was supported by the ADT intensity estimate plot, which dropped the intensity of Maysak just below 140 knots after 18 UTC on 31 March.

MTSAT-2 10.7 µm IR image and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave image

MTSAT-2 10.7 µm IR image and TRMM TMI 85 GHz microwave image

01 April Update: A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR images at 16:58 UTC on 01 April (below; images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the eye of Typhoon Maysak after it had weakened to a Category 4 storm.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Extratropical Cyclogenesis over the western Pacific

March 30th, 2015
Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The AHI Instrument on Himawari-8 has 16 different channels sensing the atmosphere. The instrument is still in Post-Launch Testing, a period when instrument performance is monitored and adjusted. Extratropical cyclogenesis that occurred east of Japan on 30 March was captured by the different channels.

The 0.64 µm visible imagery, above, is the highest-resolution channel on AHI, with nominal 0.5-km resolution at the subsatellite point. The imagery above — at 1.5 km resolution and every 10 minutes — shows the development of an extratropical cyclone east of the main island of Japan (visible at the left edge of the imagery). Thin cirrus is spreading north of the storm and convection is developing both in the cool air north of the surface circulation center and along the cold front that is just to the west of the cirrus shield associated with the warm conveyor belt. Northerly surface winds north of the system and southern surface winds south of the system speak to the strengthening of the frontal boundary along which the storm is developing.

Himawari-8 AHI 0.85 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.85 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

The 0.85 µm imagery, above, is in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, at wavelengths just a bit longer than red visible light (which is at 0.7 µm). It does an excellent job highlighting the land/water contrast (because bodies of water strongly absorb 0.85 µm solar radiation and land and clouds reflects it). This channel also is sensitive to vegetation. The larger-scale view shows jetstream cirrus south and southwest of the developing storm and an occluded system decaying to the east of Kamchatka.

The 0.46 µm imagery, below, is in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and is quite sensitive to aerosols (Click here for a fact sheet on ABI’s 0.46 µm “Blue Band”; fact sheets for all ABI Bands will be here in the future). The smog and pollution that surrounds Tokyo is more apparent in this imagery. Smog is also indicated near Osaka and Nagoya. A toggle between 0.64 µm, 0.46 µm and 0.85 µm imagery, here, from 30 March 2015 at 0000 UTC allows a comparison of the imagery.

Himawari-8 AHI 0.46 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.46 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The 1.60 µm imagery on AHI is useful because it can distinguish between clouds with water droplets (that scatter and reflect solar 1.60 µm radiation very effectively) and clouds with ice crystals (that absorb 1.60 µm radiation). In a standard enhancement, clouds with ice crystals appear grey, clouds with water droplets appear white. In the animation below, the glaciated cirrus canopy of the warm conveyor belt is readily apparent. Note also how the convection developing along the warm front has glaciated by the end of the animation.

Himawari-8 AHI 1.60 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 1.60 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

The 3.9 µm on Himawari-8 provide detailed information about the sea surface temperature if clouds are not present, as was the case over the Kuroshio Current just east of Japan on 30 October. The animation below shows little change over 2 hours, as expected, except along the north wall of the current. Brightness Temperatures drop 10 C across the temperature gradient at the north end of the current.

Himawari-8 AHI 3.90 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 3.90 µm infrared channel images (click to play animation)

Ice Dwindles on the Great Lakes

March 28th, 2015
Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible Image (0.64 µm), Day Night Band Visible Image (0.70 µm) and 1.61 µm near-infrared Image  (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible Image (0.64 µm), Day Night Band Visible Image (0.70 µm) and 1.61 µm near-infrared Image (click to enlarge)

Clear skies over the Eastern and Midwestern United States on 28 March allowed the wide swath of Suomi NPP VIIRS to record ice conditions over the five Great Lakes. The visible and Day/Night Band imagery shows good contrast between the dark open waters and brighter melting ice. Ice strongly absorbs 1.61 µm radiation: regions in the near-infrared 1.61 µm imagery that are dark (where radiation is absorbed, not reflected/scattered) include pack ice on the lakes, and snow cover (southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin; southern Ontario bordering Lake Erie; southwestern Ontario near Lake Huron; the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin and northwestern Lower Michigan) on land. Regions of clouds comprised of water droplets (extreme eastern Lower Michigan and northern Ohio, much of central Pennsylvania and the Adirondacks of northern New York) are white on all three images.

Volcanic Eruption on Kamchatka

March 26th, 2015
Himawari-8 Visible (0.64µm) Imagery (Click to animate)

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64µm) Imagery (click to animate)

Infrared imagery from Himawari-8 has a nominal resolution of two km (at the sub-satellite point), but a visible channel has a nominal resolution of 0.5 km which can provide imagery with great detail. In the example above, the visible imagery captures the eruption, beginning around 2210 UTC on 25 March 2015, of the Shiveluch volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The volcanic plume then moves downstream in northwesterly flow. Himawari-8 remains in post-launch testing, the period when the satellite calibration and navigation is thoroughly checked.

Suomi NPP overflew this region multiple times on 26 March 2015. VIIRS data from a 0126 UTC overpass, below, taken from this website, show satellite-based diagnostics of this event. The animation cycles through a Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm – 12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height and a False Color RGB presentation of the volcanic plume.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm -12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height, and False Color Imagery, 0126 UTC 26 March 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Brightness Temperature Difference (11µm -12µm), Ash Loading, Ash Height, and False Color Imagery, 0126 UTC 26 March 2015 (click to enlarge)

Update: On 26 March, a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image from the SSEC RealEarth site provided a nice view of the Shiveluch volcanic plume (below); also evident on the true-color image (as well as on images from the previous two days) to the north of Shiveluch were a pair of volcanic ash “fall streaks”, where the tan-colored ash landed on top of the existing snow cover.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 24, 25, and 26 March

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 24, 25, and 26 March

GOES-15 also viewed the eruption, at the extreme edge of its limb, as seen on the sequence of 0.63 µm visible channel images below (Shiveluch is at the center of the images).

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

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