Large grass fires continue to burn in the southern Plains

April 17th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed a number of “hot spot” signatures (dark black to red pixels) associated with grass fires that began burning in southeastern Colorado, southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandles on 17 April 2018. These fires spread very rapidly due to strong surface winds across the region (which included 81 mph at Wolf Creek Pass CO). In addition, hot pixels from the ongoing Rhea Fire in northwest Oklahoma (which began burning on 12 April) were evident.

During the nighttime hours a strong cold front plunged southeastward across the region (surface analyses) — and on a closer view of GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared images (below), 2 different behaviors were seen for 2 different fires. As the cold front moved over the Badger Hole Fire that was burning along the Colorado/Kansas border, a decreasing trend in hot spot intensity and coverage was noted. Farther to the southeast, when the cold front moved over the Rhea Fire in northwest Oklahoma a flare-up in hot spot intensity and coverage was apparent.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 18 April Update =====

A nighttime comparison of (Preliminary, Non-Operational) NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), I-Band Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm), M-Band Shortwave Infrared (4.05 µm), and M-Band Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) images (below; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed a variety of fire detection signatures associated with the Rhea Fire (283,095 acres, 3% contained) in northwest Oklahoma.

NOAA-20 Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), I-Band Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm), M-Band Shortwave Infrared (4.05 µm), M-Band Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), I-Band Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm), M-Band Shortwave Infrared (4.05 µm), M-Band Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The early afternoon 1-km resolution Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product (below) indicated that LST values within the Rhea burn scar (which covered much of Dewey County in Oklahoma) were as high as 100 to 105 ºF (darker red enhancement) — about 10 to 15 ºF warmer than adjacent unburned vegetated surfaces.

Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

===== 19 April Update =====

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color image from RealEarth (below) provided a detailed view of the Badger Hole Fire, which had burned 48,400 acres along the Colorado/Kansas border.

Landsat-8 false-color image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color image [click to enlarge]

Ice in the western Great Lakes

February 4th, 2018 |

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

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

After several days of cold temperatures, ice coverage in the western half of Lake Superior began to increase — and GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the motion of some of this lake ice (which was driven by a combination of surface winds and lake circulations) on 04 February 2018. That morning a number of locations in northern and northeastern Minnesota reported low temperatures in the -20 to -40 ºF range, with -43 ºF at Embarrass (the coldest location in the Lower 48 states).

With an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite at 1646 UTC, a 30-meter resolution False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image (below) provided a very detailed view of a portion of the Lake Superior ice. NOAA-GLERL analyzed the mean ice concentration of Lake Superior to be at 23.9% ; the Canadian Ice Service analyzed much of the new lake ice to have a concentration of 9/10ths to 10/10ths.

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

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

Magnified sections of the Landsat-8 RGB image swath are shown below, moving from northeast to southwest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving to the south, a closer look at Green Bay in northeastern Wisconsin revealed a few small ice floes drifting from the north end of the bay into Lake Michigan (below).

GOES-16

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

Eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala

February 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, top), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, middle) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images [click to animate]

After a series of occasional weak emissions during the previous month, a small eruption of Volcán de Fuego began during the pre-dawn hours on 01 February 2018. The thermal anomaly or “hot spot” could be seen on 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). In terms of the two Near-Infrared bands, even though the 1.61 µm band has better spatial resolution (1 km at satellite sub-point), the 2-km resolution 2.24 µm band is spectrally located closer to the peak emitted radiance of very hot features such as active volcanoes or large fires.

Multi-spectral retrievals of Ash Cloud Height from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (below) indicated that volcanic ash extended to altitudes in the 4-6 km range (yellow to green enhancement), with isolated 7 km pixels at 1315 UTC. The product also showed the effect of a burst of southwesterly winds just after 11 UTC, which began to transport some of the ash northeastward (as mentioned in the 1332 UTC advisory).

GOES-16 Ash Height product [click to animate]

GOES-16 Ash Height product [click to animate]

At 1624 UTC, a 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) showed the primary ash plume drifting to the west, with some lower-altitude ash spreading out northward and southward. A thermal anomaly was also evident at the summit of the volcano.

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

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

Flooding in Southern California

January 9th, 2018 |

1-minute GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images; with hourly reports of surface weather type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images; with hourly reports of surface weather type plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

An onshore flow of moisture (MIMIC TPW) in tandem with forcing for ascent with the approach of an upper-level low and a surface cold/occluded front brought heavy rainfall and some higher-elevation snowfall (NWS LOX/SGX | WPC) to much of Southern California on 09 January 2018. To help monitor the event, a GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mesoscale Sector was positioned over the region, providing images at 1-minute intervals. “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the colder clouds associated with periods of moderate to heavy rainfall. Some of this precipitation fell over burn scar areas from wildfires that occurred in December 2017 — including the Thomas fire, which was the largest on record for the state of California — resulting in numerous mud/debris slides that caused at least 17 fatalities, destroyed/damaged hundreds of homes, and closed many streets and highways.

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) showed some of the features which helped produce heavier rainfall and snowfall during the daylight hours on 09 January.

1-minute GOES-16

1-minute GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images; with hourly reports of surface weather type plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

The circulation of the upper-level low was easily seen on GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below).

1-minute GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images; with hourly reports of surface weather type plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images; with hourly reports of surface weather type plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 10 January Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

On the following day, a toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color and False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from RealEarth (above) showed (1) the large burn scar from the Thomas Fire (shades of reddish-brown), and (2) snow cover in the higher terrain (darker shades of cyan) on the False-color image. The True-color image revealed sediment from runoff flowing into the nearshore waters from Santa Barbara to Oxnard (shades of brown to light green).

A closer look at the Thomas Fire burn scar was provided by 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False-color RGB imagery (below), which showed thin filaments of muddy sediment just offshore, as well as fresh snow cover (shades of cyan) along or immediately adjacent to the northeastern edge of the burn scar (in the Hines Peak area). On 10 January, the fire was listed as 92% contained (100% containment was declared on 12 January).

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

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

===== 11 January Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color images on 10 January and 11 January [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color images on 10 January and 11 January [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color RGB images on 10 January and 11 January (above) showed that sediment was flowing farther offshore from the Thomas Fire burn scar area.

Farther to the south, offshore sediment transport was also seen in the San Diego area (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color image on 11 January [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color image on 11 January [click to enlarge]