Decker Fire in Colorado

October 2nd, 2019 |

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

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

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the afternoon/evening smoke plume and the persistent thermal anomaly (cluster of hot pixels) associated with the Decker Fire burning just southwest of Salida, Colorado on 02 October 2019.

A closer view of the fire was provided by a 4-panel comparison of GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared, Fire Power, Fire Temperature and Fire Area products (below). More information on these GOES Fire Detection and Characterization Algorithm (FDCA) products can be found here. Windy conditions on this day —  with sustained speeds of 20-30 mph and gusts to 46 mph — promoted rapid fire growth during the afternoon hours.

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

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

A sequence of VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 as viewed using RealEarth (below) showed the smoke plume and the fire’s thermal anomaly (cluster of dark black pixels).

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

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

A time series of surface observation data from the Salida Airport (identifier KANK, located just northwest of the fire) revealed southwesterly winds gusting to 20-29 knots as the dew point dropped to the -1 to -11ºF range — creating Relative Humidity values as low as 4% — during the afternoon hours (below).

Time series of surface observation data from Salida, Colorado [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observation data from Salida, Colorado [click to enlarge]

===== 03 October Update =====

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

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

The Decker Fire continued to burn on 03 October, as seen using 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 “Red” Visible and Shortwave Infrared images (above). Although surface winds were still gusting as high as 30 knots at Salida, additional boundary layer moisture (dew points were in the 20s F) helped to slow the rate of fire growth compared to the previous day. The southeasterly winds transported some low-altitude smoke toward Salida, reducing the visibility to 5-7 miles at times (below).

Time series of surface observation data from Salida, Colorado [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observation data from Salida, Colorado [click to enlarge]

A comparison of GOES-16 (GOES-East) and GOES-17 (GOES-West) Shortwave Infrared images with topography (below) demonstrated the effect of large satellite viewing angles on apparent fire location in areas of rugged terrain — note the offset in the position of the Decker Fire thermal anomaly between the 2 satellites (the viewing angle of the fire from each satellite is about 53 degrees).

GOES-16 and GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with topography [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 and GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with topography (highways are plotted in cyan) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 ABI Temperature Data Quality Flags (TDQF) thresholds updated

October 2nd, 2019 |

Top: Thumbnails of GOES-17 and GOES-16 ABI Band 12 (9.6 µm) on August 1, 2019. Bottom: Time series of GOES-17 minus GOES-16 brightness temperature for a region located between the two satellites. Also plotted is the GOES-17 Focal Plane Temperature. The reduced duration of the GOES-17 data to be flagged is highlighted. [click to enlarge]

As of 19:45 UTC on August 8, 2019, the new Look-Up-Table (LUT) went into operations for use in the GOES-17 ABI Temperature Data Quality Flags (TDQF). These hotter thresholds are possible due to the recent implementation of the Predictive Calibration algorithm.  Note that the image also includes the percent good (and conditionally usable) values (flagged 0 or 1) for both GOES-16 and GOES-17 ABI. Recall there are 5 Data Quality Flags for ABI data:

  • DQF:percent_good_pixel_qf = 1.f ;
  • DQF:percent_conditionally_usable_pixel_qf = 0.f ;
  • DQF:percent_out_of_range_pixel_qf = 0.f ;
  • DQF:percent_no_value_pixel_qf = 0.f ;
  • DQF:percent_focal_plane_temperature_threshold_exceeded_qf = 0.f

The last one, DQF:percent_focal_plane_temperature_threshold_exceeded_qf, reports what percentage of the images pixels are warmer than the threshold value. Note that the thresholds on both the increasing and decreasing temperatures are also reported in the meta-data.

Near realtime brightness temperature comparisons between GOES-16 and GOES-17, as well as historical comparisons for a region centered on the equator and half way between the two satellites.

From the NOAA Notification:

Product(s) or Data Impacted: GOES-17 ABI auxiliary field change

Date/Time of Initial Impact: August 8, 2019 1945 UTC

Details/Specifics of Change:

The GOES-17 ABI Temperature Data Quality Flags (TDQF) thresholds for the thermal bands have been updated to the values in the table below.  This update will make utilizing the TDQF more effective for flagging saturated data caused by the GOES-17 ABI cooling system anomaly. There will be no impacts to distribution caused by this update.

Table of updated Temperature Quality Data Flag thresholds [click to enlarge]

Table of updated Temperature Quality Data Flag thresholds [click to enlarge]

Update (10/02/2019)

On October 2, 2019, at 17:04 UTC, updates for a number of the ABI GOES-17 DQF thresholds were implemented in the operational system. NOAA Notification: https://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/messages/2019/MSG2751954.html

Table of updated Temperature Quality Data Flag thresholds

Table of updated Temperature Quality Data Flag thresholds [click to enlarge]. The bold numbers are those values that were updated on October 2nd. 

Severe thunderstorms in Arizona

September 23rd, 2019 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed the development of severe thunderstorms over southern/central Arizona from 1600-1900 UTC on 23 September 2019. The far western storm exhibited a well-defined Above-Anvil Cirrus Plume (AACP) that extended northeastward from the cold overshooting top (whose coldest infrared brightness temperature was -74ºC); note that the AACP feature appeared colder (shades of yellow to orange) on the Infrared images (for example, at 1817 UTC).

As the western storm began to weaken somewhat, a new storm just to the east (located about 20-30 miles north-northeast of the Phoenix metro area) began to intensify, prompting the issuance of a Tornado Warning at 1914 UTC (the last tornado warning issued by NWS Phoenix was 21 January 2010) — a brief EF0 tornado was documented (NWS Phoenix summary).

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with surface reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

Much of the moisture helping to fuel the development of this severe convection was from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lorena in the East Pacific Ocean — the northward transport of this moisture could be seen using the hourly MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]


 

GOES-17 ABI Band 13 (10.35 µm) Clean Window Imagery and Derived Convective Available Potential Energy, 1501 – 1856 UTC on 23 September 2019 (Click to animate)

 

Stability parameters from GOES-16 showed that the reigon of thunderstorm development was just east of a strong gradient in Convective Available Potential Energy.  The animation above shows the GOES-17 Clean Window;  in regions of clear sky, the baseline Derived Stability Index CAPE is shown.  CAPE values are zero over much of California (except for the southeasternmost corner) but they increase rapidly over Arizona to values approaching 1000 J/kg.

On 23 September, skies were clear enough that an instability signal was obvious in the clear-sky baseline CAPE. An ‘All-Sky’ product has been developed that can be used on days with more widespread cloudiness; it is available at this link. Values of All-Sky CAPE at 1156 and 1556 UTC on 23 September are shown below, and they also show a sharp gradient in the instability, and the link down to moisture from Lorena’s remants.

‘All-Sky’ values of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) at 1156 and 1556 UTC on 23 September 2019 (Click to enlarge)

NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere is a product designed to indicate the likelihood that a given object will produce severe weather within the next 60 minutes. An animation of the product at 5-minute intervals, below, shows that the right-moving radar cell (also associated, as noted above, with an AACP) that developed over far southwestern Arizona (becoming a warned storm at 1647 UTC) was very likely to produce severe weather.

NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere from 16:30 UTC to 18:00 UTC. Contours surrounding radar objects are color-coded such that pink/magenta contours are the highest probability.  Warning polygons (yellow for severe thunderstorm) are also shown (Click to enlarge)

Parameters that are used to determine the probability can be revealed at the ProbSevere site by mousing over the colored object contours.  The values for the warned storm over SW Arizona are shown below at 1650 UTC, 3 minutes after the warning was issued.  This image shows the 1710 UTC readout with the highest ProbWind value (76%); this image shows the 1725 UTC readout with the highest ‘ProbHail’ value (99%); ProbTor values on this day were not exceptionally large — for the later tornado-warned storm farther east, they were 28% at 1915 UTC and 30% at 1920 UTC.

NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere display from 1650 UTC on 23 September 2019; parameters used in the probability computation, and Severe Thunderstorm Warning polygon parameters are also shown (Click to enlarge)

CIMSS is developing a machine-learning tool that combines ABI and GLM imagery (that is, only satellite data) to identify regions where supercellular thunderstorms capable of producing severe weather might be occurring. An mp4 animation for this event (courtesy John Cintineo, CIMSS) is shown below.  (This experimental product was also shown in this blog post)

Snowfall across northern Alaska

September 18th, 2019 |

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Day Snow-Fog RGB and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Day Snow-Fog Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (above) showed portions of the Brooks Range and eastern North Slope of Alaska that had significant snow cover on 18 September 2019. Some areas received 4-6 inches of snowfall during the previous day (a Winter Storm Warning had been issued, forecasting accumulations in the 4-8 inch range).

Snow cover appeared brighter white in the Visible images, and darker shades of gray in the Snow/Ice images; in the RGB images, snow was darker shades of red in the Day Snow-Fog, vs brighter shades of green in the Day Cloud Phase Distinction. Note that the Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB provided sharper images than the Day Snow-Fog RGB (below), since the former makes use of higher spatial resolution 0.64 µm data for its Green component.

GOES-17 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB and Day Sow-Fog RGB images at 2030 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB and Day Sow-Fog RGB images at 2030 UTC [click to enlarge]

Although much of the Bettles (PABT) area was masked by cloudiness on 18 September, that site received moderate to heavy snow for a few hours on 17 September (below), and reported a snow depth of 4 inches at 17 UTC (9 am local time).

Time series of surface data from Bettles, Alaska on 17 September [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observation data from Bettles, Alaska on 17 September [click to enlarge]