Canadian wildfire smoke over the Upper Midwest

May 30th, 2019 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the AOS site (above) revealed the arrival of a dense high-altitude smoke plume from the north, which cast a late-day shadow onto the top of a more aged layer of lower-altitude smoke over the Upper Midwest on 30 May 2019. These smoke layers were being transported from large wildfires that were burning across northern Alberta.

Images from the west-facing AOSS rooftop camera (below) showed the slow obscuration of the setting sun as the smoke layers aloft became increasingly thick.

Images from the west-facing AOSS rooftop camera [click to play animation | MP4]

Images from the west-facing AOSS rooftop camera [click to play animation | MP4]

The GOES-16 Smoke Detection product (below) flagged most of the lower-altitude smoke with its “High Confidence” category.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Smoke Detection product [click to play animation | MP4]

The higher-altitude smoke plume that moved southward contained some cirrus debris from the pyrocumulonimbus cloud that formed at the wildfire source in northern Alberta, so it was not classified as smoke by the Smoke Detection product — the plume itself did exhibit 10.3 µm infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -57ºC as it approached the Canada/US border (below).

GOES-16 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Some of the lower-altitude smoke exhibited GOES-16 Aerosol Optical Depth values as high as 1.0 to 2.0 (below).

GOES-16 Aerosol Optical Depth product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Aerosol Optical Depth product [click to play animation | MP4]

Actinoform clouds (or actiniae) in the central Pacific Ocean

May 30th, 2019 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with 3-hourly plots of ship wind reports [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with 3-hourly plots of ship wind reports [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed the mesoscale cyclonic circulations of actinoform clouds (or “actiniae“) within the marine boundary layer stratocumulus cloud field over the central Pacific Ocean on 30 May 2019.

This type of cloud feature was originally identified in TIROS-V imagery over the Pacific Ocean in 1962 (below), and was featured in the first Monthly Weather Review “Picture of the Month” series in January 1963.

TIROS-V image of actinoform clouds over the western Pacific Ocean on 07 October 1962 [click to enlarge]

TIROS-V image of actinoform clouds over the western Pacific Ocean on 07 October 1962 [click to enlarge]

30-second GOES-17 images over Oregon/Idaho/Nevada

May 29th, 2019 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Due to an overlap of GOES-17 (GOES-West) Mesoscale Domain Sectors, images were available at 30-second intervals — and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the development of thunderstorms over southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho and northern Nevada on 29 May 2019. Some of these thunderstorms produced heavy rainfall and small hail in southwestern Idaho, and a cold air funnel was spotted in northern Nevada (local storm reports).

A comparison of Visible images from GOES-17 and GOES-15 images (below) helps to underscore some of the improvements in the GOES-R series of satellites over their predecessors — with images every 30 seconds compared to every 4-15 minutes (with gaps of 30 minutes during the Full Disk scans every 3 hours), the short-term convective trends could be better monitored using GOES-17. Also note that the GOES-15 Visible images do not appear as bright as those from GOES-17 — prior to the GOES-R Series of satellites, the performance of visible detectors degraded over time, leading to imagery that appeared more dim as the Imager instrument aged. Visible detectors on the new ABI instrument benefit from on-orbit calibration to remedy this type of degradation.

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports; images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite [click to play MP4 animation]

Severe thunderstorms in Kansas and Missouri

May 28th, 2019 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) depicted supercell thunderstorms forming along and south of a quasistationary frontal boundary (surface analyses) which produced a variety of severe weather (SPC Storm Reports) across eastern Kansas and far western Missouri late in the day on 28 May 2019 — including the long-track EF-4 tornado that affected Lawrence and Linwood in Kansas (NWS Kansas City), and prompted a Tornado Emergency to be issued for the Kansas City metro area.

The corresponding GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (below) showed that many of the overshooting tops had infrared brightness temperatures in the -70 to -75ºC range.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]