Canadian wildfire smoke over Quebec, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes

August 17th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

Filaments of smoke aloft from Canadian wildfires were evident in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Cirrus (1.37 µm) imagery (above; also available as a 24 Mbyte animated GIF) on 17 August 2017, drifting cyclonically eastward over Quebec, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. The appearance of the smoke signature on Cirrus images was due to the fact that this spectral band is useful for detecting features composed of particles that are efficient scatterers of light (such as cirrus cloud ice crystals, airborne dust or volcanic ash, and in this case, smoke).

A comparison of GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and Cirrus (1.37 µm) images (below; also available as a 21 Mbyte animated GIF) demonstrated that no smoke signature was seen on the infrared images (since smoke is effectively transparent at infrared wavelengths).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A more upstream view of the smoke feature was provided by a comparison of  Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1626 UTC (below). Again, note the lack of a smoke signature in the Infrared image.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Depending on the altitude of these smoke filament features, daily composites of  Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images covering the 5-day period of 12 August17 August (below) suggest that their source was either widespread fires in the Northwest Territories, or intense fires in British Columbia (which included pyroCb that injected smoke to very high altitudes).

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

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

Hurricane Gert

August 15th, 2017 |

GOES-16 imagery (all 16 ABI Bands) from 1912-2132 UTC, 15 August 2017 [click to play animation]

GOES-16 imagery (all 16 ABI Bands) from 1912-2132 UTC, 15 August 2017 [click to play animation]

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

Hurricane Gert, a Category-1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is over the open Atlantic Ocean east of Cape Hatteras. It is close enough to the USA, however, that it is within GOES-16’s CONUS domain where 5-minute sampling is routine. The animation above shows all 16 channels from GOES-16 ABI, every five minutes from 1912-2132 UTC on 15 August 2017. A distinct eye is not apparent in the visible or infrared satellite imagery, but microwave data (from here) suggests an eye is present, at least at times. A comparison of 2035 UTC DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and 2045 UTC GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images can be seen here.

The low-level Water Vapor imagery, below, shows that Gert is south and east of a front along the East Coast. This front should steer the storm to the north and east. Swells from the storm will affect the East Coast however.

GOES-16 imagery Low-Level Water Vapor (7.34 µm) Infrared Imagery from 1832-2137 UTC, 15 August 2017 [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Low-Level Water Vapor (7.34 µm) Infrared Imagery from 1832-2137 UTC, 15 August 2017 [click to play animation]

For more information on Gert, consult the website of the National Hurricane Center, or the CIMSS Tropical Weather Website.

GOES-16 ABI Imagery from the morning of 16 August 2017, below, shows that an eye has appeared in visible and infrared imagery.

GOES-16 imagery (all 16 ABI Bands) from 1117-1337 UTC, 16 August 2017 [click to play animation]

GOES-16 imagery (all 16 ABI Bands) from 1117-1337 UTC, 16 August 2017 [click to play animation]

A closer view using 1-minute interval GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, below, showed that  the most vigorous areas of deep convection were generally confined to the northern semicircle of the eyewall region — cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were as cold as -80º C (violet color enhancement) at times.

GOES-16 Visible (0,64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Suomi NPP and the Solar Eclipse on 21 August 2017

August 14th, 2017 |

The paths that Polar Orbiting satellites take around the Earth are predictable, and the prediction for next Monday, 21 August 2017 is shown above (image courtesy Rick Kohrs, SSEC). Note that Suomi NPP has an ascending orbit passing over the eastern part of the USA, from Florida to Michigan, at predicted times of 1830-1834 UTC on 21 August 2017. At 1832 UTC, Suomi NPP should be over the Great Smoky Mountains.

At the same time, the shadow of totality will be over eastern Tennessee as well, as shown below (from this site). Thus, Suomi NPP will be well-positioned to observe a snapshot (with excellent spatial resolution) of the umbral shadow of this eclipse, to complement the excellent temporal resolution of GOES-16.

Note: GOES-16 also observed the shadow of the 26 February 2017 solar eclipse in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) on Himawari-8 viewed the shadow of the Eclipse in the western Pacific Ocean on 9 March 2016 (Click here for an mp4 animation of all 16 AHI Channels).

Pyrocumulonimbus clouds in British Columbia, Canada

August 12th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing*

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) along with “Red” Visible and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the formation of 3 pyrocumulonimbus( pyroCb) clouds late in the evening on 12 August 2017, within the cluster of ongoing intense wildfires in British Columbia, Canada.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A toggle between NOAA-18 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Near-Infrared (0.86 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images is shown below. The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature was -70º C (associated with the northernmost pyroCb).

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

In a daytime Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (from RealEarth) with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red (below), a very large pall of exceptionally-dense smoke from the BC fires could be seen drifting northward as far as the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

The Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index (AI) product (below; courtesy of Colin Seftor, SSAI) displayed AI values as high as 17.18 within the thick BC fire smoke pall.

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

===== 13 August Update =====

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

On 13 August, a maximum OMPS AI value of 39.91 was seen at around 21:13 UTC over the Northwest Territories of Canada (above) — according to Colin Seftor and Mike Fromm (NRL), this value surpassed the highest pyroCb-related AI value ever measured by TOMS or OMI (whose period of record began in 1979).

The north-northeastward transport of BC fire smoke — as well as a prominent increase in smoke from fires across northern Canada and the Prairies — was evident in an animation of daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 07-13 August (below).

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]