Explosion in Tianjin, China

August 12th, 2015 |

Himawari-8 (3.9 µm, top), MTSAT-2 (3.75 µm, middle) and COMS-1 (3.75 µm, bottom) shortwave infrared imagery, times as indicated [click to animate]

Himawari-8 (3.9 µm, top), MTSAT-2 (3.75 µm, middle) and COMS-1 (3.75 µm, bottom) shortwave infrared imagery, times as indicated [click to animate]

A storage facility in Tianjin, China exploded shortly after 1500 UTC on 12 August 2015 (media story). Himawari-8, MTSAT-2 and COMS-1 all viewed the explosion that generated a strong thermal signature in the shortwave infrared band (3.75 µm – 3.9 µm). The animation above shows the benefit of Himawari-8’s speedier scanning mode: the smoke clouds that emanate from the explosion are easily traced, and data gaps when Full Disk images are being scanned (around 1800 UTC) are not present. Superior spatial resolution of Himawari-8 infrared channels (2-km, compared to 4-km for COMS-1 and MTSAT-2) means hotter brightness temperatures are sensed as well. The fact that smoke resulting from the explosion was seen spreading northeastward, southeastward, and southwestward was due to a marked shift in wind direction with height, as seen in the nearby Beijing rawinsonde report.

The explosion exhibted a signal in other Himawari-8 AHI bands as well. Band 5, at 1.6 µm and Band 6, at 2.3 µm are shown below (animations courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS); Similar animations are available for 3.9 µm, 6.2 µm (very faintly visible in this upper tropospheric water vapor channel), 7.0 µm, 7.3 µm and 8.6 µm and 10.35 µm.

Himawari-8 1.6 µm near-Infrared Imagery, times as indicated [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 1.6 µm near-Infrared Imagery, times as indicated [click to animate]

Himawari-8 1.6 µm near-Infrared Imagery, times as indicated [click to animate]

Himawari-8 1.6 µm near-Infrared Imagery, times as indicated [click to animate]

A view of Himawari-8 shortwave IR imagery using the SSEC RealEarth web map server is shown below. In addition, an animation of Himawari-8 true-color images showing the dark smoke plume can be seen here.

Himawari-8 shortwave IR (3.9 um) images, displayed using RealEarth [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 shortwave IR (3.9 um) images, displayed using RealEarth [click to enlarge]


========================== Added 14 August 2015 ===================

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 um) visible images on 9 August (before explosion) and 13 August (after explosion) [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 um) visible images on 9 August (before explosion) and 13 August (after explosion) [click to enlarge]

The Suomi NPP satellite overflew Tianjin before and after the explosion; VIIRS Day/Night Band images afford views that suggest power outages around the explosion site.

GOES-14 SRSO-R: Wildfire in southern Washington

August 12th, 2015 |

GOES-14 visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute interval GOES-14 SRSO-R visible (0.63 µm) images (above; click image to play animation) revealed the pulsing nature of the large Cougar Creek wildfire complex burning in southern Washington (not far southwest of Yakima) on 12 August 2015. The MP4 movie file is also available as a very large (128 Mbyte) animated GIF. The second fire blow-up that began around 1700 UTC apparently produced a pyrocumulonimbus cloud, with cloud-top IR Brightness Temperature (BT) values cooling past -40º C. Large amounts of smoke were transported northward and then northeastward away from the fire source region.

During the preceding overnight hours, a comparison of  1003 UTC Suomi  NPP VIIRS shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), Day/Night Band (0.8 µm), and Infrared (11.45 µm) images (below) showed a very large shortwave IR fire “hot spot” (yellow to red to black pixels), with the large fire glowing very brightly on the Day/Night Band image; the coldest IR BT value of the cloud streaming northward from the fire was -53º C.

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), Day/Night Band (0.8 µm), and Infrared (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), Day/Night Band (0.8 µm), and Infrared (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]