GOES-16 is now the operational GOES-East satellite

December 18th, 2017 |

All 16 Bands from GOES-16 at 2102 UTC on 18 December 2017 [click to enlarge]

All 16 Bands from GOES-16 at 2102 UTC on 18 December 2017 [click to enlarge]

GOES-16, which has been sending data from the GOES-East position since 14 December, became the operational GOES-East satellite at 2100 UTC on 18 December, succeeding GOES-13 [which itself became GOES-East, succeeding GOES-12, in April 2010; (this post, from April 2003, is the first one with GOES-12 as the operational GOES-East, it took over for GOES-8 that month!) ].  The animation above shows all 16 Bands of the first operational CONUS image from GOES-16.

 

Changes to the GOES-16 CONUS sector

December 18th, 2017 |

GOES-R CONUS domains for Operational GOES-West Location (137º W Longitude, Green), Check-out Location (89.5º W Longitude, Red) and Operational GOES-East Location (75.2º W Longitude, Blue) (Click to enlarge)

When GOES-16 shifted from its checkout position at 89.5º W Longitude to its position at 75.2º W Longitude (where it will be operational as GOES-East), the domain for the Continental US (CONUS) domain shifted slightly. In ‘Flex Mode‘ (also known as ‘Mode 3‘) of GOES-16 Scanning (and also in the proposed Mode 6), routine CONUS scans occur every 5 minutes. The image above, courtesy Mat Gunshor of CIMSS, shows the GOES-West CONUS scan in green, the GOES-R CONUS scan from the Check-out Location at 89.5º W Longitude in Red, and the GOES-16 CONUS scan domain in blue.

The center point of the CONUS domain, as documented in Table 5.1.2.7-5 from the GOES-R Product Definition and User’s Guide (PUG), shows a shift from 29.24º North Latitude, 91.41º West Longitude (at the check-out location) to 30.08º North Latitude, 87.1º West Longitude (at the operational GOES-East location).  As a result, the entire island of Puerto Rico is now in the CONUS sector, and the northern boundary has shifted farther north into central and western Canada, by about 100 miles.

GOES-16 CONUS Imagery from the Test Location (Left) and GOES-16 CONUS Imagery from the Operational GOES-East Location (right) as displayed in 2 different AWIPS

Contrails over Virginia

December 18th, 2017 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Near-Infrared “Cirrus (1.38 µm, center) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

A comparison of GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Cirrus (1.38 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) revealed a number of aircraft contrails drifting eastward across Virginia during the morning hours on 18 December 2017. Note how many of the individual contrails were easier to identify and follow in the sequence of 1-minute interval Mesoscale Sector images.

A Cirrus band is also available on the MODIS instrument (aboard Terra and Aqua) as well as the VIIRS instrument (aboard Suomi NPP and NOAA-20) — a toggle between the Terra MODIS Cirrus (1.375 µm),  Infrared Window (11.0 µm) and Visible (0.65 µm) images at 1607 UTC (below) again showed that contrails and other ice crystal cloud features were better highlighted on the Cirrus image.

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

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

The 12 UTC rawinsonde profile from Washington Dulles Airport in northern Virginia (below) showed a relatively moist layer in the upper troposphere near the 300 hPa (9.5 km or 31,000 ft) level, which is a common altitude for commercial jets to fly — this likely contributed to the longevity of many of the contrail features.

Rawinsonde profile from Washington Dulles Airport in Virginia [click to enlarge]

Rawinsonde profile from Washington Dulles Airport in Virginia [click to enlarge]

Day 14 of the Thomas Fire in Southern California

December 17th, 2017 |

GOES-15 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with surface station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

05-17 December GOES-15 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with surface station identifiers plotted in yellow and State Highway 101 plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

The Thomas Fire (InciWeb | Wikipedia) began to burn around 0226 UTC on 05 December 2017 (or 6:26 PM Pacific time on 04 December). By 17 December, the fire had burned 270,000 acres — the third largest wildfire on record in California — and caused 1 fatality. An animation of GOES-15 (GOES-West) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the evolution of the thermal signature (or “hot spots”, as depicted by darker black to yellow to red pixels) during the 0200 UTC 05 December to 0215 UTC 18 December time period. Besides the largest Thomas Fire, other smaller and more short-lived fires could also be seen — especially early in the period, when the Santa Ana winds were strongest (05-07 December blog post). Thick clouds moving over the region later in the period either attenuated or completely masked the thermal signatures, even though the fire was ongoing.

GOES-16 began transmitting imagery (from its GOES-East position at 75.2º W) at 1630 UTC on 14 December — a comparison of GOES-15 and GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) during the 14-17 December period (below) showed that in spite of the larger GOES-16 satellite view angle (62.6º, vs 43.2º for GOES-15), the improved spatial resolution (2 km vs 4 km at satellite sub-point) and improved temporal resolution (images every 5 minutes, with no 30-minute gaps due to Full Disk scans) provided a more accurate depiction of the fire trends and intensities.

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-16 (right) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-16 (right) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

In a comparison of 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS true-color and false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (source) at 1853 UTC on 17 December (below), minimal amounts of smoke and a lack of clouds allowed a good view of the large Thomas Fire burn scar (darker shades of reddish-brown) on the false-color image.

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images on 17 December [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images on 17 December [click to enlarge]

During the first full day of the fires on 05 December, a toggle between comparable Aqua MODIS true-color and false-color images (source) revealed very thick smoke plumes drifting southwestward over the adjacent offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean (below).

Aqua MODIS true-color and false-color images, 05 December [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images on 05 December [click to enlarge]

A toggle between 05 December Aqua MODIS and 17 December Terra MODIS false-color images (below) showed the northward and northwestward growth of the Thomas Fire burn scar.

Aqua MODIS (05 December) and Terra MODIS (17 December) false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS (05 December) and Terra MODIS (17 December) false-color RGB images [click to enlarge]