Widespread fires across the Deep South

November 19th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB, Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area products [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB, Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area products [click to play animation | MP4]

A sequence of GOES-16 (GOES-East) Fire Temperature RGB, Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area products (above) displayed signatures of widespread fires — a combination of prescribed burns and agricultural fires — across parts of the Deep South on 19 November 2019. Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area products are components of the GOES Fire Detection and Characterization Algorithm (SHyMet | ATBD).

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with and without plots of surface observations, are shown below. While most of the fires were too small/brief to produce large smoke plumes, a prominent plume was associated with one of the hottest and most long-lived fires — which was likely a prescribed burn — in the Chickasawhay State Wildlife Management Area (located east of Hattiesburg/Laurel Airport KPIB) in southeastern Mississippi.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with and without plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

There were no surface stations downwind of that Mississippi fire; however, one small smoke plume drifted over Lafayette in southern Louisiana (KLFT) near the end of the day, briefly reducing the visibility to 6 miles at 22 UTC (below).

Time series of surface observation data from Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observation data from Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana [click to enlarge]

For the hot fire in southeastern Mississippi, GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared, Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values are shown for the same hot fire pixel at 1716, 1731 and 1806 UTC (below). Note that the individual parameter trends can be different for a given fire pixel — for example, even though the hottest 3.9 µm brightness temperature value was 58.8ºC at 1806 UTC, the peak Fire Temperature value was 1373.1 K at 1731 UTC. However, the time of the maximum Fire Power value of 213.6 MW coincided with the time of the hottest 3.9 µm brightness temperature value (1806 UTC).

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1716 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1716 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1731 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1731 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1806 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area values at 1806 UTC [click to enlarge]

Severe turbulence over coastal South Carolina

November 15th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of pilot reports and SIGMET boundaries [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence and SIGMET boundaries [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images (above) revealed the presence of elongated W-E oriented billow clouds, many of which exhibited small-scale ripples that were oriented N-S along the billow cloud tops, over coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina on 15 November 2019. An initial SIGMET (November 1) was issued covering airspace over Georgia and South Carolina — Severe Turbulence (plotted in red) was reported at 41,000 feet and at 35,000 feet. A second SIGMET (November 2) was later issued covering airspace over South Carolina and North Carolina.

The same GOES-16 Water Vapor images which include isotachs of RAP40 model maximum wind (at any level) are shown below — most of the Moderate to Severe turbulence reports were occurring within the speed gradient along the poleward (left) edge of a SW-NE oriented jet stream flowing parallel to the coast.

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of pilot reports, SIGMET boundaries, and isotachs of RAP40 model maximum wind [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence, SIGMET boundaries, and isotachs of RAP40 model maximum wind [click to play animation | MP4]

More detailed views of the billow-top ripples were provided by a Terra MODIS Visible image at 1600 UTC, and NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared images as visualized using RealEarth (below).

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with plots of pilot reports and SIGMET boundaries [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with pilot reports of turbulence and SIGMET boundaries [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to enlarge]

Lake-effect, river-effect and bay-effect cloud bands producing snowfall

November 13th, 2019 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images on 07 November [click to play animation | MP4]

During the course of multiple intrusions of arctic air across the Lower 48 states during early November 2019, a variety of lake-effect, river-effect and bay-effect cloud features were generated — many of which produced varying intensities of snowfall. GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), “Clean:” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Day Cloud Phase Distinction Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images on 07 November (above) showed lake-effect clouds streaming south-southeastward across Lake Superior. The Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (in tandem with the Infrared images) helped to highlight which cloud features had glaciated and were therefore more capable of producing moderate to heavy lake-effect snow; the dominant band yielded 5-10 inches of snowfall in the central part of northern Michigan.

On 11 November, GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB images (below) displayed lake-effect clouds originating from the still-unfrozen waters of Fort Peck Lake in northeastern Montana — these clouds did produce a brief period of light snowfall downstream at Glendive (KGDV). On this particular morning, the lowest temperature in the US occurred in north-central Montana, with -30ºF reported north of Rudyard.

GOES-16 Nighttime Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images on 11 November [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB images on 11 November [click to play animation | MP4]

On 12 November, cold air moving southward across the Lower Mississippi Valley produced horizontal convective roll clouds which were evident in GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB and subsequent Visible images after sunrise (below) — one of these narrow cloud bands was likely enhanced by latent heat fluxes as it passed over the comparatively-warm waters of the Mississippi River, and produced accumulating snowfall in downtown Memphis. Note that since Memphis International Airport KMEM was located just east of the cloud band, no accumulating snow was reported there (only a brief snow flurry around 1430 UTC).

GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB and "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images on 12 November [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images on 12 November [click to play animation | MP4]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature values along parts of the Mississippi River were as warm as the mid-40s F (below).

MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product at 1848 UTC on 12 November; rivers are plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product at 1848 UTC on 12 November; rivers are plotted in red [click to enlarge]


On 13 November, as the cold air was moving off the US East Coast, GOES-16 Infrared images (below) revealed bay-effect cloud plumes which developed over Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay — the Chesapeake Bay plume produced brief periods of light snow at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach KNTU from 06-10 UTC (and possibly contributed to snowfall farther south at Elizabeth City, North Carolina KECG).

GOES-16 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images on 12 November [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images on 12 November [click to play animation | MP4]

Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature values in Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay were in the lower to middle 50s F where the bay-effect cloud plumes were originating (below).

Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product and Visible (0.65 µm) image at 1613 UTC [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product and Visible (0.65 µm) image at 1613 UTC [click to enlarge]

Antares rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia

November 2nd, 2019 |

Sequence of individual GOES-16 ABI spectral bands, from 1358-1406 UTC [click to play animation | MP4]

Sequence of GOES-16 ABI spectral band images, from 1358-1406 UTC [click to play animation | MP4]

A sequence of 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) images from all 16 of the ABI spectral bands during the period 1358-1406 UTC on 02 November 2019 (above) revealed signatures of the launch of an Antares rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility along the eastern shore of Virginia. The signature that was seen in all 16 spectral bands was that of the low-altitude rocket exhaust condensation cloud, which originated at the launch site then drifted northeastward over the Chincoteague area.

In addition, a thermal signature of air that was superheated by the rocket exhaust was evident in Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Water Vapor (6.2 µm, 6.9 µm and 7.3 µm) images — initially about 2-3 miles east-northeast of Chincoteague at 1401 UTC, and then about 50 miles due east of Wallops Island at 1402 UTC (below). Also apparent on the 1402 UTC Water Vapor images was the cooler signature of the low-altitude exhaust condensation cloud near Chincoteague.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Water Vapor (6.2 µm, 6.9 µm and 7.3 µm) images at 1402 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Water Vapor (6.2 µm, 6.9 µm and 7.3 µm) images at 1402 UTC [click to enlarge]

An animation of 16-panel images displaying all of the GOES-16 ABI spectral bands is shown below.

16-panel images of GOES-16 ABI spectral bands from 1400-1406 UTC [click to play animation]

16-panel images of GOES-16 ABI spectral bands from 1400-1406 UTC [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Cloud Top Temperature and Cloud Top Phase products [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Cloud Top Temperature and Cloud Top Phase products [click to enlarge]

Regarding the northeastward-moving low-altitude rocket exhaust condensation cloud, GOES-16 Cloud Top Temperature and Cloud Top Phase products (above) indicated that the feature was composed of water droplets, exhibiting cloud top temperature values in the 8ºC to 10ºC range. According to 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia (below), those temperatures existed at altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (5900-6900 ft) where there were southwesterly winds of 18-25 knots.

Plot of 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia [click to enlarge]

Plot of 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia [click to enlarge]

Because of the low early-morning sun angle, the exhaust condensation cloud was casting a shadow farther inland over Virginia, as seen in GOES-16 Visible images (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (courtesy of Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/ASPB) [click to enlarge]