GOES-14 SRSO-R: pyrocumulus clouds over the Rey Fire in California

August 22nd, 2016 |

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top), 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (middle) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top), 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (middle) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The GOES-14 satellite was in SRSO-R mode on 22 August 2016, providing images at 1-minute intervals over the western United States. A 3-panel comparison of Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above; also available as a large 110 Mbyte animated GIF) showed that there were multiple bursts of pyrocumulus (pyroCu) clouds over the Rey Fire in southern California — while the bulk of the smoke was being transported westward over the offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean, smoke that was ejected to higher altitudes by the pyroCu clouds sent a plume of smoke drifting to the southeast.

The nearby Vandenberg rawinsonde data profile (below) suggests that the pyroCu clouds vertically lofted smoke to an altitude of at least 6.7 km (the 449 mb pressure level), where winds shifted to a northwesterly direction. However, since the pyroCu cloud-top IR brightness temperatures never even made it to -20º C (cyan color enhancement on the bottom panels), the smoke probably wasn’t much higher than the 6.7 km altitude (sounding data).

Vandenberg Air Force Base rawinsonde report [click to enlarge]

Vandenberg Air Force Base rawinsonde report [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images displayed using RealEarth (below) showed the dense plume of smoke drifting westward away from the active fire area (brighter shades of pink on the false-color image), along with a pyroCu cloud over the fire and the early stage of the southeastward-moving smoke plume aloft.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]