Southwest US monsoon convection: GOES-15 vs GOES-16

July 12th, 2018 |

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) and GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images — displayed in the native projection of each satellite, and centered on Las Vegas, Nevada — are shown above, depicting the development of deep convection across parts of the Desert Southwest on 12 July 2018. While the GOES-15 satellite was in Rapid Scan Operations mode (providing 2 extra images nearly every hour, at :11 and :41), a GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector was providing images at 1-minute intervals. Numerous flash flood watches, warnings and advisories were issued by NWS Las Vegas during the course of the day as some of the storms produced heavy rainfall (with as much as 0.75 inch at Cal Nev Ari and 0.61 inch at Needles, California KEED).

Note that the GOES-15 Visible images do not appear as bright as those from GOES-16 — 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.

The corresponding GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) and GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) revealed cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures around -70ºC (black enhancement) associated with some the stronger thunderstorms; this was the tropopause temperature at an altitude of 16.7 km / 48,300 feet on 00 UTC Las Vegas rawinsonde data. The improvement in spatial resolution from 4 km (at sub-satellite point) with GOES-15 to 2 km with GOES-16 is very apparent — even though the satellite viewing angle is about 10 degrees higher for GOES-16 than it is for GOES-15.

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm, left) and GOES-16 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm, left) and GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Higher spatial resolution Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS (below) revealed a cloud-top infrared brightness temperature as cold as -79ºC in far northwestern Arizona on the 2017 UTC VIIRS image.

Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

In addition to heavy rainfall, some thunderstorm winds created areas of blowing sand:

The GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product (below) showed that rich moisture was present across the Desert Southwest, fueling the development of the widespread convection. TPW values in the 1.0 to 2.0 inch range were seen over southeastern California, southwestern Arizona and far southern Nevada.

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product [click to play MP4 animation]

A 4-km resolution Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product (below) indicated values in the 40-55 mm or 1.6-2.2 inch range.

Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Natural gas explosion and fire in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

July 10th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) image and Fire Temperature derived product [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) imagery and Fire Temperature derived product [click to play animation | MP4]

An explosion triggered by a damaged natural gas main in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin occurred around 0005 UTC / 7:05 pm CDT on 10 July 2018 (media story). Layered cloudiness was passing over the region at the time of the initial explosion, but once the clouds cleared a thermal signature (blue pixel) was seen from 0247 to 0342 UTC on the GOES-16 (GOES-East) Fire Temperature product (above) as the fire burned into the nighttime hours. The maximum Fire Temperature value was 537.6 K at 0332 UTC / 10:32 pm CDT.

A thermal anomaly or “hot spot” (dark black pixels) was apparent on 1-km resolution Terra MODIS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) imagery (below) at 0338 UTC / 10:38 pm CDT. The maximum infrared brightness temperature on the MODIS image was 335.4 K.

Terra MODIS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) image, with plots of surface observations in yellow [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) image, with plots of surface observations in yellow [click to enlarge]

A very subtle thermal anomaly (darker gray pixels) was still evident after 07 UTC / 2 am CDT on Suomi NPP and Aqua MODIS Shortwave Infrared images (below).

Terra MODIS, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS Shortwave Infrared images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS Shortwave Infrared images [click to enlarge]



County Fire in central California

July 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with airport identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play animation | MP4]

The County Fire began burning in central California (northwest of Sacramento) around 2112 UTC or 2:12 pm local time on 30 June 2018 — GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the smoke plume and thermal anomaly or “hot spot” (dark black to red pixels) of the fire during its initial 6.5 hours. Other features of interest in the imagery included reflection of sunlight from solar panel farms as seen here and here, as well as sun glint off the waters of the Sacramento River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as seen here.

During the subsequent overnight hours, the thermal signature exhibited on GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) revealed the rapid southward spread of the fire along the Napa/Yolo county line — the fire began in far western Yolo County, and eventually moved into far eastern Napa County. The smaller, less intense fire signature seen just to the northwest was that of the Pawnee Fire.

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, left), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, center) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with airport identifiers plotted in yellow and Napa/Yolo County outlines plotted in blue [click to play animation | MP4]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images (below) showed the thermal anomaly and bright glow of the County fire at 1043 UTC or 3:43 am local time. Due to ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 90% of Full), the smoke plume could be seen drifting southwest over the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean — note the shadow cast by the smoke plume upon the fog/stratus deck immediately off the coast.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

A toggle between consecutive Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) showed the change in location of the smoke plume during the ~1 hour and 40 minutes separating the 2 satellite overpasses. The region was on the far western edge of the earlier swath. These images demonstrate the “visible image at night” capability of the VIIRS Day/Night Band.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The 00 UTC rawinsonde data from nearby Oakland (below) showed northeasterly winds at altitudes of 1500-2800 meters or 4900-9200 feet.

Plots of rawinsonde data from Oakland, California [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Oakland, California [click to enlarge]

During the late morning and early afternoon of 01 July, the fire burn scar could be seen beneath the smoke plume on 250-meter resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images viewed using RealEarth (below).

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

===== 03 July Update =====

Landsat-8 False Color RGB 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 the areal extent of the County Fire burn scar on the morning of 03 July. Pink-colored pixels indicated hot signatures of actively-burning fires. The morning Incident Report listed the fire size at 70,000 acres and 5% containment.

Fog/stratus over Lake Michigan

June 30th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

As a warm and very humid air mass (surface analyses) moved northward across the relatively cool waters of Lake Michigan on 30 June 2018, GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed complex interactions of the resulting fog/stratus with coastlines and islands — features such as “bow shock waves” and internal reflections of waves off the northern end of the lake could be seen.

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a very detailed view of the fog/stratus structure over the northern end of the lake.

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

The Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product at 1734 UTC (below) showed SST values in the middle 60s to around 70ºF across the southern end of Lake Michigan (the southern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 66ºF), transitioning to SST values around 60ºF mid-lake. The northern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 54ºF — much colder than the surface air dew points that were in the low to middle 70s F, which explained the more widespread coverage of lake fog/stratus farther north.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]