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]

GOES-14 SRSO-R: wildfire in Idaho

August 21st, 2016

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top), 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (middle) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (bottom) images, with surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play MP4

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

The Pioneer Fire in central Idaho produced another pyroCumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud on 21 August 2016 (the first was on 19 August). GOES-14 was in SRSO-R mode, and sampled the fire with 1-minute imagery (above; also available as a large 73 Mbyte animated GIF) — a large smoke plume was evident on 0.63 µm Visible images as it moved eastward; large fire hot spots (red pixels) were seen on 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared images; on 10.7 µm Infrared Window images, the cloud-top IR brightness temperature cooled to -35º C (darker green enhancement) between 2249-2307 UTC as it moved over Stanley Ranger Station (KSNY), not quite reaching the -40º C threshold to be classified as a pyroCb.

However, a 1-km resolution NOAA-19 AVHRR 10.8 µm Infrared Window image (below; courtesy of René Servranckx) revealed a minimum cloud-top IR brightness temperature of -48.3º C (dark green color enhancement).

NOAA-19 AVHRR 0.64 µm visible (top left), 3.7 µm shortwave IR (top right), 10.8 µm IR window (bottom left) and false-color RGB composite image (bottom right) [click to enlarge]

NOAA-19 AVHRR 0.64 µm visible (top left), 3.7 µm shortwave IR (top right), 10.8 µm IR window (bottom left) and false-color RGB composite image (bottom right) [click to enlarge]

A larger-scale comparison of the NOAA-19 AVHRR visible, shortwave infrared and infrared window images is shown below.

NOAA-19 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-19 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images [click to enlarge]

===== 23 August Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and 11.45-3.74 µm brightness temperature difference images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and 11.45-3.74 µm brightness temperature difference images [click to enlarge]

The Pioneer Fire continued to be very active on 22 August (exceeding 100,000 acres in total burn coverage since its start on 18 July), sending a large amount of smoke northeastward (OMPS Aerosol Index). During the following overnight hours, cold air drainage and the development of a boundary layer temperature inversion acted to trap a good deal of smoke in the Payette River valley to the west/southwest of Stanley KSNT. The active fire hot spots (black to yellow to red pixels) were evident on nighttime (1032 UTC or 4:32 AM local time) images (above) of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) data, while illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 69% of Full) showed the ribbon of smoke trapped in the valley (note that this signal was not due to fog, since it did not show up in the VIIRS 11.45-3.74 µm brightness temperature difference or “fog/stratus product”).

During the subsequent daytime hours of 23 August, 1-minute GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below; also available as a large 114 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the gradual ventilation of smoke from the Payette River valley as the temperature inversion eroded and mixing via winds increased.

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 um) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 um) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 SRSO-R: coastal fog/stratus and wildfire activity in the western US

August 17th, 2016

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 remained in SRSO-R mode on 17 August 2016, providing imagery at 1-minute intervals over the western US. Some interesting phenomena observed included the evolution of coastal fog/stratus in areas such as Vancouver Island and Washington/Oregon (above; also available as a large 134 Mbyte animated GIF) and also the Bay Area of California (below; also available as a large 202 Mbyte animated GIF). In the example above, note the diurnal ebb and flow of fog/stratus as it first moved westward out of, and then eastward back into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.; in the example below, it is interesting to note that as the majority of the coastal fog/stratus dissipated as morning heating/mixing progressed, but a narrow finger of fog/stratus remained in the Golden Gate and protruded into San Francisco Bay.

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

In Southern California, one of the larger wildfires burning at the time was the Blue Cut Fire northeast of Los Angeles. During the early morning hours, GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below; also available as a large 70 Mbyte animated GIF) revealed the long and narrow smoke plume streaming northeastward; a marked increase in wildfire hot spots (red pixels in the 3.9 µm imagery) was seen after about 17 UTC (10am local time).

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports in cyan/yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports in cyan/yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

A closer view of GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below; also available as a large 127 Mbyte animated GIF) after 18 UTC (11am local time) showed a more well-defined smoke plume re-develop as the wildfire continued to burn with very little perimeter containment. The smoke plume drifted over Victorville, California (KVCV), where the surface visibility briefly dropped to 7 miles at 22 UTC (surface observation plot).

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with county outlines and 4-character airport identifiers [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with county outlines and 4-character airport identifiers [click to play MP4 animation]

Flooding in Louisiana

August 12th, 2016

Morphed MIRS observations of total precipitable water (TPW), 1500 UTC 11 August - 2100 UTC 12 August [click to play animation]

Morphed MIRS observations of total precipitable water (TPW), 1500 UTC 11 August – 2100 UTC 12 August [click to play animation]

Persistent convection in an atmosphere rich in moisture has led to life-threatening flooding over many Parishes in southern Louisiana. The animation above, taken from images at this site that morphs MIRS estimates of Total Precipitable Water (with values valid over both land and water) shows values around three inches over much of southeastern Louisiana. These TPW values agree with in situ observations such as the radiosonde from New Orleans at 1200 UTC on 12 August, where 2.70″ was observed. 24-hour rainfall totals ending at 1200 UTC on 12 August (Link) show a widespread region of more than 6″; raingauge observations of 6-hour totals at 1200 and 1800 UTC, below, show that the rain continued into the day on 12 August.

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images, with METAR observations of 6-hour precipitation, 1200 and 1800 UTC on 12 August 2016 [click to enlarge]

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images, with METAR observations of 6-hour precipitation, 1200 and 1800 UTC on 12 August 2016 [click to enlarge]

The flood-producing thunderstorms were very slow-moving, as evidenced in the animation of Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images from GOES-14, below (GOES-14 is in SRSO-R mode this month). Very little motion occurs in the two hours of this loop (using images at 5-minute time steps).

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) Imagery, 1625-1830 UTC on 12 August 2016 [click to play animation]

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) Imagery, 1625-1830 UTC on 12 August 2016 [click to play animation]

The entire sequence of 1-minute interval GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images from 0001-2358 UTC on 12 August is shown below.

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

This event is also discussed at the Satellite Liaison Blog, where the focus is on 1-minute visible imagery from GOES-14 and 1-minute lightning data.

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

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with hourly surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with hourly surface weather symbols plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

The heavy rainfall continued into 13 August, with storm total accumulations exceeding 31 inches in Louisiana (WPC storm summary). The entire sequence of 1-minute interval GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images spanning the period 1115 UTC on 11 August to 2159 UTC on 13 August, above, shows the development of multiple clusters of slow-moving thunderstorms, some of which exhibited cloud-top IR brightness temperatures of -80ºC or colder (violet color enhancement).