Paper mill fire in New Jersey

January 30th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, top), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, center) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) displayed thermal signatures from a large fire at the Marcal Paper Mill in Elmwood Park, New Jersey during the evening hours of 30 January 2019. The fire reportedly began around 2215 UTC or 5:15 PM local time — and during the subsequent hours, strong winds with very cold temperatures (falling to the single digits above zero F) in the wake of a cold frontal passage hampered the firefighting efforts. Note on the plots of surface observations that smoke (K) was reported immediately downwind of the fire at Teterboro Airport (station identifier KTEB) from 02 to 05 UTC.

The nighttime thermal signatures seen on the near-infrared 1.61 µm and 2.24 µm images (brighter white pixels) result from the fact that those two ABI spectral bands are located close to the peak emitted radiance of very hot features such as volcanic eruptions or large fires (below).

Plots of Spectral Response Functions for ABI Bands 5, 6 and 7 [click to enlarge]

Plots of Spectral Response Functions for ABI Bands 5 (1.61 µm), 6 (2.24 µm) and 7 (3.9 µm) [click to enlarge]

The thermal signature of the fire became less distinct in GOES-16 imagery after about 06 UTC, but was still well-defined in higher-resolution VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) imagery (below) from NOAA-20 (overpass data acquired at 0614 and 0754 UTC) and Suomi NPP (overpass data acquired at 0704 UTC).

VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images from NOAA-20 (at 0614 and 0754 UTC) and Suomi NPP (at 0704 UTC) [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images from NOAA-20 (at 0614 and 0754 UTC) and Suomi NPP (at 0704 UTC) [click to enlarge]

PyroCumulonimbus cloud in Australia

January 25th, 2019 |

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm, middle) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images [click to play to animation | MP4]

JMA Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the development of a pyroCumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud from a bushfire that was burning in the eucalypt forests of eastern Victoria, Australia on 25 January 2019. A rapid-scan “Target” sector was positioned over the region beginning at 0522 UTC, providing images every 2.5 minutes (instead of the routine 10-minute interval). Cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures became colder than -40ºC (the threshold for pyroCb classification) after 0230 UTC, and eventually cooled to around -55ºC (orange enhancement). This temperature roughly corresponded to an altitude around 12 km, according to nearby Melbourne rawinsonde data (plot | text).

A closer view of Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images (below) revealed the rapid southeastward run of the fire, as shown by the growth of the “hot spot” (black to red pixels) on Shortwave Infrared images. The darker gray appearance of the pyroCb cloud is due to the presence of smaller ice crystals at the cloud top — these smaller ice crystals are more efficient reflectors of incoming solar radiation, making the cloud tops appear warmer than those of conventional cumulonimbus. Vigorous updrafts driven by the intense heat of the fire limit the in-cloud residence time for ice crystal growth, which leads to smaller particles being ejected at the pyroCb cloud top.

Himawari-8 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm, right) images [click to play to animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm, right) images [click to play to animation | MP4]

In a comparison of VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP (at 0311 UTC) and NOAA-20 (at 0501 UTC) images viewed using RealEarth (below), cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were in the -55 to -58ºC range (darker shades of orange).

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP (0311 UTC) and NOAA-20 (0501 UTC) images [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP (0311 UTC) and NOAA-20 (0501 UTC) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 arrives at its GOES-West position of 137.2º W longitude

November 15th, 2018 |
Full Disk images of the 16 ABI bands from GOES-17 [click to play MP4 animation]

1500 UTC Full Disk images of the 16 ABI bands from GOES-17 [click to play MP4 animation]

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

GOES-17 arrived at its GOES-West position of 137.2º W longitude on 13 November 2018, and began to transmit imagery via GOES Re-Broadcast (GRB) at 1500 UTC and the AWIPS Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) at 1700 UTC on 15 November (NOAA/NESDIS article). A toggle between Full Disk images of the 16 ABI spectral bands from GOES-17 at 1500 UTC is shown above, with a 16-panel multi-band animation from 1515-2300 UTC shown below..

Full Disk images from the 16 ABI bands of GOES-17 [click to play MP4 animation]

Full Disk images from the 16 ABI bands of GOES-17 [click to play MP4 animation]

Full Disk GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images  are shown below.

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation | MP4]

The improved spatial resolution of GOES-17 (vs GOES-15) was very obvious at higher latitudes — a closer look at GOES-17 Water Vapor imagery (below) showed good detail associated with a gale-force occluded low in the Gulf of Alaska and a weaker low in the Bering Sea (surface analyses). Note that signatures of the higher terrain of mountain ranges across south-central and southeastern Alaska could be seen on the 7.3 µm and to a lesser extent the 6.9 µm images.

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play animation | MP4]

After sunrise, GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) provided a compelling view of the snow-covered Alaska Range (which includes Denali at 20,320 feet / 6,194 meters), the Wrangell Mountains (which includes Mt. Wrangell at 14,163 feet / 4,317 meters) and the Chugach Mountains (which includes Mount Marcus Baker, 13,176 feet / 4,016 meters). In particular, note the long shadows cast by Denali and the Alaska Range in the upper left portion of the images.

GOES-17

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

For a short time a GOES-17 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over Hawai’i, providing images at 1-minute intervals (below).

GOES-17

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

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands could be seen on the far western limb of Full Disk GOES-17 images (below). A few isolated tropical thunderstorms could be seen developing and collapsing in the vicinity of the islands.

GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

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

A portion of West Antarctica could be seen on the far southern limb of GOES-17 Full Disk images, along with a storm system in the South Pacific Ocean (below). Through gaps in the clouds, the northern edge of the Antarctic sea ice (source) was also evident in the Visible imagery.

GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Over the Lower 48 states, AWIPS images of 1-minute GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) data (below) showed the smoke and thermal anomaly (darker red pixels near the center of the images) associated with the ongoing Camp Fire in northern California.

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Farther to the south in central California, a comparison of 1-minute Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-16 (GOES-East) and GOES-17 revealed differences in the size and orientation of hot pixels of the Adler/Mountaineer/Moses Fires burning northeast of Porterville KPTV  in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. These differences were due to the view angle from the 2 satellites — 62 degrees from GOES-16 over the Atlantic Ocean, vs. only 41 degrees from GOES-17 over the Pacific Ocean. There was a navigational jump with GOES-17 from 1831-1837 UTC, so those images were removed from the animation.

GOES-16 vs GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 vs GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Woolsey Fire in southern California

November 9th, 2018 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the thick smoke and hot thermal signature of the Woolsey Fire in southern California on 09 November 2018. On this day it exhibited extreme fire behavior, with the large thermal anomaly or fire “hot spot” (red enhancement) moving rapidly southwestward and reaching the coast (Wildfire Today). The fires were driven by hot, dry Santa Ana winds, which arrived at Camarillo KCMA around 19 UTC (11 AM local time) and reached the coast at Point Mugu Naval Air Station KNTD around 22 UTC (2 PM local time).

A longer animation of GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared imagery (below) begins at 2115 UTC (1:15 PM local time) on 08 November — when a Mesoscale Sector was first positioned over California — and ends 52.5 hours later at 0149 UTC on 11 November (5:49 PM local time on 10 November). The first Ventura County fire to show a pronounced thermal signature was the Hill Fire; the earliest appearance of Woolsey Fire pixels that were hot enough to be color-enhanced (yellow) was at 2254 UTC (30 minutes after the reported start time of 2224 UTC). The area of hottest (red) pixels then began to increase in coverage and spread toward the southwest after about 06 UTC on 09 November (10 PM local time on 08 November), when Santa Ana winds began to increase at higher elevations several miles inland. As was seen in the Visible / Shortwave Infrared animation above, the morning period from 15-19 UTC (7-11 AM local time) on 09 November was when the fire moved very quickly toward the California coast and the beaches of Malibu. After sunset on 09 November, the area and intensity of hot red/yellow pixels began to decrease, and after 10 UTC (2 AM local time) on 10 November only darker black fire pixels persisted. During the day on 10 November, color-enhanced hot fire pixels were again evident from 1726-2353 UTC (9:26 AM to 3:53 PM local time). Note that at 19 UTC the marine layer began to move inland, with the dewpoint jumping to 46ºF at KNTO and to 33ºF at KCMA an hour later — the fire responded to this influx of moist air by beginning to die down.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 0923 UTC (1:23 AM local time) on 10 November (below) showed a marked reduction in coverage and intensity of hot pixels compared to 15 hours earlier.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 0923 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 0923 UTC [click to enlarge]

The smoke was very dense as it moved out over the adjacent offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean on 09 November, as seen in a sequence of MODIS and VIIRS Visible images (below).

MODIS and VIIRS Visible images [click to enlarge]

MODIS and VIIRS Visible images [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from Suomi NPP at 2104 UTC and NOAA-20 at 2154 UTC on 09 November (below) also depicted the optically-thick nature of the smoke.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color image at 2104 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2104 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color image at 2154 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2154 UTC [click to enlarge]

The smoke was so thick that Suomi NPP VIIRS Aerosol Optical Depth values exceeded 1.0 (below) —  this is likely due to the VIIRS Cloud Mask product (a component of the AOD algorithm)  falsely flagging the thick center portion of the smoke as “cloud”.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Aerosol Optical Depth [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Aerosol Optical Depth [click to enlarge]

===== 11 November Update =====

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Santa Ana winds began to increase again on 11 November — 1-minute GOES-16 Visible and Shortwave Infrared images (above) showed the development of new smoke plumes and hot thermal signatures around the periphery of the ongoing Woolsey Fire. As of 1812 UTC (10:12 AM local time), the fire had burned 83,275 acres and was listed as 10% contained.

The new smoke plumes (as well as residual smoke from previous days of burning) could be seen on VIIRS True Color RGB imagery from Suomi NPP at 2029 UTC and NOAA-20 at 2114 UTC (below). The entire image swaths as captured and processed by the Direct Broadcast ground station at CIMSS/SSEC can be seen here and here.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2029 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2029 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2114 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB image at 2114 UTC [click to enlarge]