Bush fires in eastern Australia

November 8th, 2019 |

JMA Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) imagery (below) showed the evolution of smoke plumes, hot 3.9 µm fire thermal anomalies (red pixels) and cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of isolated pyrocumulus associated with bush fires that were burning in far eastern parts of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia from 1900 UTC on 07 November to 0800 UTC on 08 November 2019. With strong northwesterly surface winds, many of the fire thermal anomalies exhibited rapid southeastward runs toward the coast. That region of Australia had just experienced severe to record 3-month rainfall deficiencies — which included the driest October on record for the southern third of the country.

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images created using McIDAS-V (below) provided another view of the dense smoke plumes from 0000-0610 UTC. Toward the end of the animation — in the upper left portion of the satellite scene — plumes of blowing dust could be seen moving eastward from farther inland.

Himawari-8 True Color RGB images (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 True Color RGB images (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to play animation | MP4]

A combination of Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC (below) revealed hot thermal signatures of the fires (yellow to red enhancement) at the source of the smoke plumes.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB + Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB + Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

A toggle between a Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image and a display of Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 (below) indicated high NO2 concentrations immediately downwind of these fires.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image + TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image + Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

The dense smoke plumes were also evident in a sequence of 3 VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, as visualized using RealEarth (below).

NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

Smoke reduced the surface visibility to 3 miles or less at Grafton (YGFN) from 03-05 UTC (below).

Time series of surface report data from Grafton, New South Wales [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface report data from Grafton, New South Wales [click to enlarge]


Smoke plumes from Saudi Arabian oil facilities

September 15th, 2019 |

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) imagery from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 (courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) imagery from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 (above) revealed dark smoke plumes from oil refineries and other facilities damaged by drone strikes early in the day on 14 September 2019.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 Visible (0.8 µm) images (below) showed the south-southwestward transport of the smoke plumes. Thick smoke drifted over Al Ahsa (OEAH), and at one point restricted to 2.8 miles.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 Visible (0.8 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 Visible (0.8 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Before (13 September) and after (14-15 September) True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS as viewed using RealEarth are shown below.

True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS, from 13-15 September [click to enlarge]

True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS, from 13-15 September [click to enlarge]

A sequence of 3 VIIRS Day/Night Band images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 (below) showed nighttime views of the smoke plumes, illuminated by the Moon (which was in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 98% of Full).

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 (courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

A Meteosat-8 Visible animation spanning portions of 14, 15 and 16 September is shown below.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 Visible (0.8 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 Visible (0.8 µm) images with hourly plots of surface reports, 14-16 September [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 17 September Update =====

Landsat-8 False Color image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color RGB image (above) showed a number of smoke plumes from oil facility fires that continued to burn on 17 September.

Swan Lake Fire in Alaska

August 17th, 2019 |

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) revealed thick smoke and a pronounced thermal anomaly (hot pixels, darker black) associated with the Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska on 17 August 2019. Later in the day, a few pyrocumulus jumps could be seen in Visible imagery over the fire source region, as fire behavior increased (another day when pyrocumulus jumps were apparent with this fire was 30 June, during a period when southerly winds were transporting dense smoke to the Anchorage area).

Strong northerly-northwesterly winds were transporting smoke from the Swan Lake Fire southward across the Kenai Peninsula and the Seward area — a time series of surface report data from Seward (below) showed that this smoke had reduced the visibility to less than 1 mile by 03 UTC (7 PM local time). South-central Alaska was experiencing drought conditions, which had worsened from the preceding week; the strong winds on this day acted to dry fuels even further, leading to a re-invigoration of the long-lived fire.

Time series of surface reports from Seward, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface report data from Seward, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Seward Airport webcam image at 2358 UTC [click to enlarge]

Seward Airport webcam image at 2358 UTC [click to enlarge]

The PM2.5 Air Quality Index reached 427 at Cooper Landing, and 358 farther downwind at Seward (below).

Air Quality Index at Copper Landing and Seward [click to enlarge]

Air Quality Index at Copper Landing and Seward [click to enlarge]

The southward transport of smoke across the Seward area and out over the adjacent offshore waters of the Gulf of Alaska was evident in VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, as viewed using RealEarth (below).

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

Milepost 97 Fire in southwestern Oregon

July 26th, 2019 |

GOES-17 Fire Temperature RGB,

GOES-17 Fire Temperature RGB, “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), CIMSS Natural Color RGB and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

An animation that cycles through GOES-17 (GOES-West) Fire Temperature Red-Green-Blue (RGB), “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), CIMSS Natural Color RGB and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (above) showed the thermal anomaly (darker red pixels) and smoke associated with the Milepost 97 Fire in southwestern Oregon on 26 July 2019. In this particular case, dense smoke appeared as darker shades of green in the Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images.

A time series of surface data from Sexton Summit (immediately downwind of the fire) indicated that smoke reduced the surface visibility at that location to 1/4 mile at times; farther from the fire, the visibility was in the 2-3 mile range at times in Medford (below).

Time series of surface data from Sexton Summit [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface data from Sexton Summit [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface data from Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface data from Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford [click to enlarge]

===== 27 July Update =====

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images from the AOS site (above) showed the increased coverage of smoke from the Milepost 97 Fire, spreading across southern Oregon and into Northern California on 27 July. Some of the smoke had been lofted to higher altitudes, being transported as far northeastward as Montana.

Later in the day, GOES-17 True Color RGB images showed that the smoke had moved a significant distance southward along and just off the California coast (below).

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]