Industrial and ship plumes in supercooled clouds

December 4th, 2018 |

MODIS and VIIRS

MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” BTD images [click to enlarge]

A sequence of nighttime MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) images (above) revealed long plumes (darker shades of red) streaming southwestward for over 200 miles from their industrial point sources in the Mesabi Range of northeastern Minnesota on 03 December 2018.

During the subsequent daytime hours, a comparison of GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) showed signatures of these Mesabi Range plumes along with others emanating from industrial or power plant sources. A few ship tracks were also apparent across Lake Superior.

Particles emitted from the exhaust stacks at power plants and industrial sites (as well as ships) can act as efficient cloud condensation nuclei, which causes the formation of large numbers of supercooled water droplets having a smaller diameter than those found within the adjacent unperturbed supercooled clouds — and these smaller supercooled cloud droplets are better reflectors of incoming solar radiation, thereby appearing brighter in the Near-Infrared and warmer (darker gray) in the Shortwave Infrared images.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

On the following night, another sequence of MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) images (below) highlighted a number of industrial and power plant plumes across Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The curved shape of many of these plumes resulted from boundary layer winds shifting from northerly to westerly as the night progressed.

MODIS and VIIRS "Fog/stratus" BTD images [click to enlarge]

MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” BTD images [click to enlarge]

During the following daytime hours on 04 December, a comparison of VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed 2 plume types across eastern Nebraska. There were several of the brighter/warmer plumes similar to those noted on the previous day across Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan — but one large plume originating from industrial sites just east of Norfolk (KOFK) had the effect of eroding the supercooled cloud deck via glaciation (initiated by the emission of particles that acted as efficient ice nuclei) and subsequent snowfall. This is similar to the process that creates aircraft “distrails” or “fall streak clouds” as documented here, here and here.

VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared

VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]


Farther to the east over Ohio and Pennsylvania, another example of the 2 plume types was seen (below) — one plume originating from an industrial site near Cleveland was glaciating/eroding the supercooled cloud and producing snowfall, while another bright/warm supercooled droplet plume was moving southeastward from a point source located west of Indiana County Airport KIDI.

The Cleveland plume was captured by an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite, with a False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth providing great detail with 30-meter resolution (below). A small “overshooting top” can even be seen above the industrial site southeast of Cleveland, with the swath of glaciated and eroding cloud extending downwind (to the southeast) from that point.

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

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

Coincidentally, Landsat-8 also captured another example of a glaciating cloud plume downwind of the Flint Hills Oil Refinery south of St. Paul, Minnesota on 03 December (below). The erosion/glaciation of supercooled cloud extended as far south as Albert Lea, Minnesota. Similar to the Cleveland example, a small “overshooting top” was seen directly over the plume point source.

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

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

===== 08 December Update =====

The effect of this industrial plume glaciating and eroding the supercooled water droplet clouds over northern Indiana was also seen in a comparison of Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (below).

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

===== 09 December Update =====



During the following daytime hours, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed a number of plumes from industrial sites (many of which were likely refineries) streaming southeastward and eastward over the Gulf of Mexico on 09 December. Note the lack of a plume signature in the 10.3 µm imagery.
GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared "Cloud Particle Size" (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

River valley fog in the Upper Midwest

June 28th, 2018 |

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and “Fog Product” Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.0 – 3.7 µm) images, with plots of Ceiling and Visibility [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and "Fog Product" Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.0 - 3.7 µm) images, with plots of Ceiling and Visibility [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and “Fog Product” Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.0 – 3.7 µm) images, with plots of Ceiling and Visibility [click to enlarge]

Comparisons of NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and “Fog Product” Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images (above) showed the nighttime formation of river valley fog in parts of the Mississippi River and its tributaries in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa on 28 June 2018.  Due to ample illumination from the Full Moon, the Day/Night Band provided a “visible image at night” with better fog detail in some areas than was seen using the traditional “Fog Product”. (Note: the NOAA-20 images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP)

A toggle between NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band images acquired by the SSEC Direct Broadcast ground station (below) revealed increased fog formation over portions of the Mississippi River between Rochester MN and Madison WI during the 52 minutes separating the two images.

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

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

During the subsequent daylight hours, GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) showed that the fog dissipated by 15 UTC or 10am local time.

GOES-16

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

GOES-16 Natural Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images are shown below.

GOES-16 Natural Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Natural Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

Valley fog and mountain snow in the Catskills of New York

May 1st, 2018 |

As pointed out by NWS Binghamton, valley fog and higher-elevation snow cover was apparent on GOES-16 (GOES-East) Visible imagery in the Catskills of southeastern New York on the morning of 01 May 2018. A closer view comparing GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (below) showed the dissipation of the valley fog, followed by the melting of the snow cover in higher terrain (snowfall amounts of up to 3-4 inches fell in the area on 29 April). The Snow/Ice imagery was helpful in discriminating between the brighter valley fog features and the darker snow cover.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

A 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS True-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image acquired from the SSEC Direct Broadcast ground station (below) showed the remaining snow cover over the Catskills (near the center of the image) at 1539 UTC.

Terra MODIS True-color image [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True-color image [click to enlarge]

Supermoon VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery

December 3rd, 2017 |

Composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band swaths [click to enlarge]

Composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band swaths [click to enlarge]

The only Supermoon of 2017 occurred on 03 December — and a composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) swaths viewed using RealEarth (above) demonstrated the “visible image at night” capability of that spectral band. A VIIRS instrument is also part of the payload on recently-launched JPSS-1/NOAA-20.

A few examples providing closer looks using VIIRS Day/Night Band (DNB) imagery are shown below, beginning with the western portion of an Atlantic storm that had been producing Gale Force winds during the previous 6-12 hours.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image centered over the western Atlantic [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image centered over the western Atlantic [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US (below) showed widespread areas of fog and/or stratus The brighter fog/stratus features were generally brighter on the DNB image..

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US [click to enlarge]

Another toggle between DNB and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images, this time centered over Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan (below) revealed snow cover that was much below average for the date — especially across the UP of Michigan.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images, centered over Minnesota and the UP of Michigan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan [click to enlarge]

Finally, a toggle between DNB images from consecutive overpass times (0935 and 1116 UTC), showing small clusters of rain showers moving inland along the coast of Oregon and far northern California (below). Because of the wide scan swath of the VIIRS instrument (2330 km), there are times when the same area will be imaged during 2 consecutive overpasses.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band images, centered off the coast of Oregon [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band images, centered off the coast of Oregon [click to enlarge]