Orographically-trapped waves near Haida Gwaii

April 22nd, 2019 |

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

GOES-17 (GOES-West) Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (above) revealed orographically-trapped waves propagating westward against the ambient flow over the Haida Strait between Haida Gwaii and British Columbia on 22 April 2019. Waves initially formed downwind of the 2000-3000 foot terrain of Haida Gwaii and moved eastward — but were then reflected back to the west by the higher 6000-8000 foot terrain farther inland over British Columbia.

Note that the wave signatures became more muted — especially over the southern portion of the Strait — as middle/upper-tropospheric moisture began to overspread the area. This moisture at higher altitudes absorbed radiation being emitted from below, re-radiating energy at the colder temperatures found within that layer of high-altitude moisture.

A plot of GOES-17 Water Vapor weighting functions calculated using 12 UTC rawinsonde data from Annette Island, Alaska (below) showed dominant peaks for Band 10 (7.3 µm, violet) and Band 9 (6.9 µm, blue) radiation in the 460-497 hPa range, so it’s likely that many of the waves resided within a layer near those pressure levels. Secondary peaks resided near the 340 hPa pressure level — the magnitude of those peaks for all 3 Water Vapor spectral bands would have increased as the aforementioned high-level moisture moved over the region.

GOES-17 Water Vapor weighting functions calculated from 12 UTC rawinsonde data at Annette Island, Alaska [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Water Vapor weighting functions calculated from 12 UTC rawinsonde data at Annette Island, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Mesoscale disturbance over northern Alaska

April 17th, 2019 |

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images (above) showed a mesoscale disturbance that was moving northward over the eastern Brooks Range in far northeastern Alaska on 17 April 2019. The curved configuration of the associated cloud structure suggested that a closed circulation center was present (or had just recently developed) — while surface analyses showed an area of low pressure much farther to the south along the Alaska/Yukon border, there were no features moving northward across the region shown in the GOES-17 imagery.

Light to moderate snow was reported at Arctic Village as this mesoscale disturbance moved over the area (below).

Time series of surface weather observation data from Arctic Village [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface weather observations from Arctic Village [click to enlarge]

375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2131 and 2313 UTC (below) provided a more detailed view of this feature, in which the clouds exhibited an appearance suggestive of embedded convection. Cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were as cold as -50ºC just southwest of Arctic Village on the 2313 UTC image — this corresponded to an altitude of 8.5 km on the 00 UTC Fairbanks rawinsonde data.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 2131 and 2313 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 2131 and 2313 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2131 and 2313 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2131 and 2313 UTC [click to enlarge]

13-km NAM model fields (below) showed no clear signature of either a closed circulation or a discrete vorticity center — so satellite imagery was depicting the presence of an important feature that was not captured by numerical models. While the 18 UTC model run did show an area of light precipitation moving northward toward the region, the 00 UTC model run scaled back the areal coverage of this precipitation.

3-km NAM 500 hPa height, wind and absolute vorticity [click to enlarge]

3-km NAM 500 hPa height, wind and absolute vorticity [click to enlarge]

3-km NAM Mean Sea Level Pressure and 1-hour accumulated precipitation [click to enlarge]

3-km NAM Mean Sea Level Pressure and 1-hour accumulated precipitation [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Loop Heat Pipe Effects on 14 April 2019

April 15th, 2019 |

16-Panel GOES-17 Full-Disk Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) Imagery, 0010 – 2340 UTC on 14 April 2019 (Click to play mp4 animation)

Solar illumination of the GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imagery (ABI) was at a maximum on 14 April, so that the effects of the Loop Heat Pipe that is not operating at its designed capacity (and therefore cannot keep the ABI detectors as cold as preferred) were at their worst. (This image of the predicted Focal Plane Temperature from this blog post shows the mid-April peak to be warmest). The animation above shows that only Band 14 (11.2 µm) was able to send a useable signal during the entire night. The Band 14 data are biased, however. The image below compares GOES-16 and GOES-17 temperatures over a region on the Equator (here, from the GOES-17 perspective, and here, from the GOES-16 perspective, from this website) equidistant between the two sub-satellite points (75.2º W for GOES-East, 137.2º W for GOES-West).  GOES-17 slowly cools relative to GOES-16 (assumed to be ‘truth’) before undergoing a series of cold/warm/cold oscillations relative to GOES-16.   So while a useful signal is preserved, algorithms that rely on threshold temperatures, or brightness temperature difference fields (such as the 3.9 µm – 11.2 µm Brightness Temperature Difference), would likely produce unexpected results.

ABI Band 14 (11.2 µm) temperature differences, GOES-17 – GOES-16 on 14 April 2019 (Click to enlarge). Representative Band 14 images during a time largely unaffected by Loop Heat Pipe issues are shown at top.

 

Loop Heat Pipe issues should slowly subside over the coming weeks.  ‘Predictive Calibration’ is likely to be in place by the time the (Northern Hemisphere) Autumnal Equinox arrives.  This will extend the useful signal for the ABI channels.  One might even conclude that this current episode will have the worst impact on useable imagery from the ABI.

Blowing dust in southern Nevada

April 9th, 2019 |

GOES-17 Split Window (10.3-12.3 µm), Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and

GOES-17 Split Window (10.3-12.3 µm), Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) Split Window (10.3-12.3 µm), Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) displayed a plume of blowing dust — whose source region was a dry lake bed along the California-Nevada border — which developed in advance of an approaching cold front (surface analyses) and moved northeastward across far southern Nevada on 09 April 2019. Wind gusts of 50-65 mph were reported across the region.

This dust plume was also apparent over far southern Nevada in GOES-17 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the AOS site (below).

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

There are 5 airports located in the Las Vegas Valley, and GOES-17 images showed that the dust plume passed directly over Henderson (KHND) — time series plots of surface data from these sites (below) indicated that visibility was reduced to 3 miles at Henderson, with visibilities dropping to 8-9 miles at McCarran International Airport (KLAS) and Nellis Air Force Base (KLSV). The visibility was not impacted at the North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT), with its more northwest location being farther from the dust plume.

Time series plot of surface data at Henderson [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at Henderson [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at McCarran International Airport [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at McCarran International Airport [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at Nellis Air Force Base [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at Nellis Air Force Base [click to enlarge]

A notable exception was the Boulder City Municipal Airport (KBVU), which was downwind of a smaller local point source of blowing dust (Mursha Reservoir, another dry lake bed to the southwest) — the visibility at KBVU was restricted to 2 miles at times. With the 2-km spatial resolution (at satellite nadir) of the GOES-17 Infrared spectral bands, there was not a signature of this smaller-scale Boulder City dust plume in the 10.3-12.3 µm and 11.2-8.4 µm Brightness Temperature Difference products — however, this hazy plume was evident in the 0.5-km resolution (at satellite nadir) Visible imagery.

Time series plot of surface data at Boulder City Municipal Airport [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data at Boulder City Municipal Airport [click to enlarge]

A comparison of 1-km resolution NOAA-19 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.8 µm) and Split Window (10.8-12.0 µm) images (below) provided a detailed view of the primary dust plume — and also exhibited a subtle signature of the smaller plume that reduced visibility at Boulder City KBVU. The small dust aerosols act as efficient reflectors of incoming solar radiation, therefore appearing warmer (darker) on the Shortwave Infrared image.

NOAA-19 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.8 µm) and Split Window (10.8-12.0 µm) images, with plots of 23 UTC surface reports [click to enlarge]

NOAA-19 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.8 µm) and Split Window (10.8-12.0 µm) images, with plots of 23 UTC surface reports [click to enlarge]

The GOES-17 and NOAA-19 images also showed that the larger dust plume moved across a section of Interstate 15 between Sloan and Jean; traffic cameras showed significant reductions in visibility along I-15 near Primm (along the California/Nevada border).