Eruption of the Whakaari volcano on White Island, New Zealand

December 9th, 2019 |

“Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images from Himawari-8 (left) and GOES-17 (right) [click to play animation | MP4]

A brief eruption of the Whakaari volcano on White Island, New Zealand occurred around 0110 UTC on 09 December 2019 — “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images from JMA Himawari-8 and GOES-17 (GOES-West) showed the small volcanic cloud as it fanned out east of the island (above).

A signature of the volcanic cloud was also seen in VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, as viewed using RealEarth (below). The cloud exhibited a rather warm infrared brightness temperature, since the Wellington VAAC only estimated the maximum height to be

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

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

The volcanic plume contained elevated levels of SO2 which drifted south-southeastward, as seen in a McIDAS-V image of Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Vertical Column SO2 at 0206 UTC (below).

Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Vertical Column SO2 (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Vertical Column SO2 (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

Bush fires in eastern Australia

November 8th, 2019 |

JMA Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) imagery (below) showed the evolution of smoke plumes, hot 3.9 µm fire thermal anomalies (red pixels) and cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of isolated pyrocumulus associated with bush fires that were burning in far eastern parts of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia from 1900 UTC on 07 November to 0800 UTC on 08 November 2019. With strong northwesterly surface winds, many of the fire thermal anomalies exhibited rapid southeastward runs toward the coast. That region of Australia had just experienced severe to record 3-month rainfall deficiencies — which included the driest October on record for the southern third of the country.

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 Longwave Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images created using McIDAS-V (below) provided another view of the dense smoke plumes from 0000-0610 UTC. Toward the end of the animation — in the upper left portion of the satellite scene — plumes of blowing dust could be seen moving eastward from farther inland.

Himawari-8 True Color RGB images (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 True Color RGB images (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to play animation | MP4]

A combination of Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC (below) revealed hot thermal signatures of the fires (yellow to red enhancement) at the source of the smoke plumes.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB + Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB + Shortwave Infrared (4.1 µm) imagery at 0328 UTC (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

A toggle between a Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image and a display of Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 (below) indicated high NO2 concentrations immediately downwind of these fires.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image + TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB image + Sentinel-5 TROPOMI Tropospheric Vertical Column NO2 (credit: Bob Carp, SSEC) [click to enlarge]

The dense smoke plumes were also evident in a sequence of 3 VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, as visualized using RealEarth (below).

NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

Smoke reduced the surface visibility to 3 miles or less at Grafton (YGFN) from 03-05 UTC (below).

Time series of surface report data from Grafton, New South Wales [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface report data from Grafton, New South Wales [click to enlarge]


Elevated NO2 signatures over the Northeast US

July 19th, 2019 |

TROPOMI NO2 concentration [click to enlarge]

TROPOMI NO2 concentration, courtesy of Bob Carp, SSEC [click to enlarge]

High temperatures (along with high dewpoints) prompted the issuance of Excessive Heat Warnings across much of the Northeast US on 19 July 2019. Under such conditions, surface NO2 concentrations in densely-populated urban areas often become elevated (primarily driven by emissions from motor vehicle exhaust, along with secondary sources such as coal-fired power plants and manufacturing / food processing industrial sources) — the high temperatures accelerate chemical reactions that form pollutants. The TROPOMI instrument detected plumes of elevated NO2 extending downwind (to the northeast) of major cities such as Philadelphia, New York City and Boston (above). The data are displayed using McIDAS-V.

A closer view centered on New York City is shown below.

TROPOMI NO2 concentration [click to enlarge]

TROPOMI NO2 concentration, courtesy of Bob Carp, SSEC [click to enlarge]

The Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature product around that time (below) revealed LST values in the 100-110ºF range across the New York City and Boston areas, where the daily maximum surface air temperatures were 95ºF and 93ªF, respectively.

Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature, with plots of daily maximum surface air temperatures [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Land Surface Temperature, with plots of daily maximum surface air temperatures [click to enlarge]

Southwest US monsoon convection: GOES-15 vs GOES-16

July 12th, 2018 |

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) and GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images — displayed in the native projection of each satellite, and centered on Las Vegas, Nevada — are shown above, depicting the development of deep convection across parts of the Desert Southwest on 12 July 2018. While the GOES-15 satellite was in Rapid Scan Operations mode (providing 2 extra images nearly every hour, at :11 and :41), a GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector was providing images at 1-minute intervals. Numerous flash flood watches, warnings and advisories were issued by NWS Las Vegas during the course of the day as some of the storms produced heavy rainfall (with as much as 0.75 inch at Cal Nev Ari and 0.61 inch at Needles, California KEED).

Note that the GOES-15 Visible images do not appear as bright as those from GOES-16 — prior to the GOES-R Series of satellites, the performance of visible detectors degraded over time, leading to imagery that appeared more dim as the Imager instrument aged. Visible detectors on the new ABI instrument benefit from on-orbit calibration to remedy this type of degradation.

The corresponding GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) and GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) revealed cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures around -70ºC (black enhancement) associated with some the stronger thunderstorms; this was the tropopause temperature at an altitude of 16.7 km / 48,300 feet on 00 UTC Las Vegas rawinsonde data. The improvement in spatial resolution from 4 km (at satellite sub-point) with GOES-15 to 2 km with GOES-16 is very apparent — even though the satellite viewing angle is about 10 degrees higher for GOES-16 than it is for GOES-15.

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm, left) and GOES-16 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm, left) and GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Higher spatial resolution Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS (below) revealed a cloud-top infrared brightness temperature as cold as -79ºC in far northwestern Arizona on the 2017 UTC VIIRS image.

Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

In addition to heavy rainfall, some thunderstorm winds created areas of blowing sand:

The GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product (below) showed that rich moisture was present across the Desert Southwest, fueling the development of the widespread convection. TPW values in the 1.0 to 2.0 inch range were seen over southeastern California, southwestern Arizona and far southern Nevada.

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product [click to play MP4 animation]

A 4-km resolution Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product (below) indicated values in the 40-55 mm or 1.6-2.2 inch range.

Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]