SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A

December 3rd, 2018 |
GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor, plus Near-Infrared

GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor, plus Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to enlarge]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

SpaceX launched a Spaceflight SSO-A mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base (KVBG) in California at 1834 UTC on 03 December 2018. GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images in addition to Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the hot thermal signature of superheated air from the booster rocket engines, along with a brief cold thermal signature of the booster engine condensation cloud on Water Vapor images. A second hot thermal signature was seen over the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean at 1840 UTC as the first stage rocket fired its entry burn to land on a drone ship. Since a GOES-17 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over that region, images were available at 1-minute intervals.

Tornado outbreak in Illinois

December 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16

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

The largest December tornado outbreak on record for the state of Illinois occurred on 01 December 2018 (NWS St. Louis | NWS Lincoln | NWS Quad Cities). 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the development of supercell convection which spawned the severe weather. in addition to the tornadoes, SPC Storm reports included hail as large as 1.75 inch in diameter and wind gusts of 75 mph.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed that cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were as cold as -55ºC (darker shades of orange) with the more vigorous thunderstorm overshooting tops.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

Plots of 18 UTC and 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Lincoln, Illinois (below) indicated that the coldest overshooting top brightness temperature of -55ºC seen in GOES-16 Infrared imagery was representative of a height just above the calculated air parcel Most Unstabe (MU) Equilibrium Level (EL).

Plot of 00 UTC Lincoln, Illinois rawinsonde data [click to enlarge]

Plots of 18 UTC and 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Lincoln, Illinois [click to enlarge]

A sequence of MODIS (from Terra and Aqua) and VIIRS (from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20) Visible and Infrared images (below) provided 2 higher-resolution views of the pre-storm environment, plus 3 views during/following convective initiation. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms in Illinois were located along the far eastern edge of the instrument scans in the final 2 images.

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP/NOAA-20 VIIRS Visible and Infrared images [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP/NOAA-20 VIIRS Visible and Infrared images [click to enlarge]

Even though the convection in western Illinois was near the limb of NOAA-20 (mis-labelled as Suomi NPP) VIIRS swath at 2007 UTC — degrading the spatial resolution and introducing some parallax error — the coldest detected Infrared brightness temperature (-52C) was still several degrees colder than that detected by GOES-16 (below). The two images are displayed in different projections, but the enhancements use the same color-vs-temperature breakpoints.

Comparison of GOES-16 ABI and NOAA-20 VIIRS Infrared Window images at 2007 UTC [click to enlarge]

Comparison of GOES-16 ABI and NOAA-20 VIIRS Infrared Window images at 2007 UTC [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 microwave products

November 30th, 2018 |

GCOM-W! AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products, from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 1692 UTC on 30 November [click to play animation]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products, from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 1692 UTC on 30 November [click to play animation]

A series of GCOM-W1 AMSR2 swaths during the period from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 1692 UTC on 30 November 2018 (above) showed the global coverage of Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products from that polar-orbiting satellite.

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water, Wind Speed, Surface Rain Rate and Cloud Liquid Water products [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water, Wind Speed, Surface Rain Rate and Cloud Liquid Water products [click to enlarge]

A closer look just south of the Atlantic provinces of Canada (above) showed a comparison of Total Precipitable Water, Wind Speed, Surface Rain Rate and Cloud Liquid Water products over a strong mid-latitude cyclone at 0545 UTC on 29 November (the 0532 UTC time stamp on the images denotes the beginning time of that particular satellite swath).

Surface analyses from the OPC (below) classified this low pressure system as Hurricane Force at 00 UTC and Storm Force at 06 UTC — however, AMSR2 ocean surface wind speeds were as high as 71 knots west of the surface low, 84.8 knots north of the low and 95.6 knots in the vicinity of the occluded front.

Surface analyses at 00 UTC and 06 UTC [click to enlarge]

Surface analyses at 00 UTC and 06 UTC [click to enlarge]

Shortly after the overpass of GCOM-W1, additional views of the western portion of this storm were provided by Aqua MODIS and NOAA-20 VIIRS (below). (note: the NOAA-20 VIIRS images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP)

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 0543 UTC [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 0543 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0557 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0557 UTC [click to enlarge]

Another overpass of GCOM-W1 about 10 hours later continued to show a broad region of strong post-frontal westerly winds to the south of the storm center (below). During that period, the occluded low continued to deepen from 957 to 952 hPa (surface analyses).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water, Wind Speed at 0532 and 1529 UTC [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products at 0532 and 1529 UTC [click to enlarge]

Additional features seen in the AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products in other parts of the world included the following:

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products at 0353 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products south of Iceland at 0353 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Low pressure south of Iceland (surface analyses), with an ocean surface wind speed of 76 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products off the US West Coast at 1026 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products off the US West Coast at 1026 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Low pressure off the US West Coast (surface analyses), with an ocean surface wind speed of  70 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products north of Hawai'i at 1202 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products north of Hawai’i at 1202 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Low pressure and a cold front northwest of Hawai’i (surface analysis), with a long fetch of tropical moisture and widespread ocean surface wind speeds of 60-70 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products southwest of Australia at 1659 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products southwest of Australia at 1659 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Low pressure southwest of Australia, with an ocean surface wind speed of 47 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products southeast of Argentina at 1659 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products southeast of Argentina at 1659 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Low preesure and a cold front southeast of Argentina, with TPW as high as 2.2 inches and an ocean surface wind speed of 58.6 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the North Sea at 0259 UTC on 30 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the Norwegian Sea at 0259 UTC on 30 November [click to enlarge]

Low pressure over the Norwegian Sea (surface analysis), with an ocean surface wind speed of 75 knots (above).

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the Aleutian Islands at 1247 UTC on 30 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the Aleutian Islands at 1247 UTC on 30 November [click to enlarge]

A plume of moisture and strong winds ahead of a low pressure and cold front (surface analysis) moving across the Aleutian Islands (above).

Due to the frequent overlap of polar-orbiting satellite swaths at high latitudes, some locations can have data coverage from numerous consecutive overpasses. The example below shows the Barents Sea — between 70-80º N latitude — during 7 consecutive swaths from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 0847 UTC on 29 November.

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the Barents Sea from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 0847 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

GCOM-W1 AMSR2 Total Precipitable Water and Wind Speed products over the Barents Sea from 2256 UTC on 28 November to 0847 UTC on 29 November [click to enlarge]

Thunderstorms over Argentina

November 29th, 2018 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image at 1753 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image at 1753 UTC [click to enlarge]

A Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (above) showed numerous thunderstorms developing across the foothills of the Andes in western Argentina on 29 September 2018, in advance of a cold front that was moving northward.

Closer views of VIIRS True Color and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP at 1753 UTC and NOAA-20 at 1843 UTC (below) depicted several cold overshooting tops (darker red enhancement) associated with the more vigorous thunderstorm updrafts.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Windoe (11.45 µm) images at 1753 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Windoe (11.45 µm) images at 1753 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Windoe (11.45 µm) images at 1843 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Windoe (11.45 µm) images at 1843 UTC [click to enlarge]

In support of the RELAMPAGO-CACTI field experiment, a GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mesoscale Domain Sector had been positioned over the region, providing 1-minute imagery — animations of “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) imagery (below) showed the upscale development of the convection from 1300-2330 UTC. The largest storms were in the vicinity of and to the south of Mendoza (SAME) and Rio Cuarto (SAOC).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

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

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

Toward the end of the day, a closer look at one storm along the southeastern end of the large convective complex (below) showed that it exhibited awell-defined enhanced-V signature around 20 UTC and shortly thereafter produced a long-lived Above-Anvil Cirrus Plume (AACP). Both are signatures of storms that often produce large hail, damaging winds or tornadoes.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, top), Near-Infrared :Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm, center) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Near-Infrared :Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, center) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The AACP exhibited a colder (around -55ºC, shades of orange) infrared brightness temperature than the anvil beneath it (-40 to -50ºC, green to yellow enhancement), due to the atmospheric temperature profile aloft as seen on 12 UTC rawinsonde data from nearby Santa Rosa (below). The sounding profile suggests that the AACP was at or perhaps above the tropopause.

Plot of 12 UTC Santa Rosa rawinsonde data [click to enlarge]

Plot of 12 UTC Santa Rosa rawinsonde data [click to enlarge]