Eruption of the Raikoke volcano in the Kuril Islands

June 21st, 2019 |

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

For the first time since 1924, a major eruption of the Raikoke volcano occurred around 1800 UTC on 21 June 2019. Himawari-8 False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (above) showed — via the brighter yellow areas — that a large portion of the volcanic plume was rich in both ash and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The Tokyo VAAC estimated the maximum ash height to be 43,000 feet (~13 km) above ground level — and CALIPSO CALIOP data indicated a maximum ash height around 12 km shortly after 02 UTC on 22 June (between 45-50º N latitude and 159-161º E longitude).

A comparison of an Aqua MODIS False Color RGB image with the corresponding Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius retrieved products at 0310 UTC on 22 June (below) indicated maximum ash height values of 18-20 km (black pixels) immediately downwind of the eruption site. Maximum Himawari-8 Ash Height values were in the 16-18 km range.

Aqua MODIS False Color RGB, Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius at 0310 UTC on 22 June [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS False Color RGB image with Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius retrieved products [click to enlarge]

In a comparison of Himawari-8 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images (below), since the 7.3 µm spectral band is also sensitive to SO2 absorption, those images showed a good signature of the leading filament of volcanic SO2 as it was transported east-southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean.

Water Vapor images from Himawari-8: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Water Vapor images from Himawari-8: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Similarly, the GOES–17 (GOES-West) Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images also showed the filament of volcanic SO2 that was being drawn into the circulation of a Gale Force Low south of the Aleutian Islands. As a result, the Anchorage VAAC issued aviation Volcanic Ash Advisories that covered large areas of the North Pacific Ocean and southern Bering Sea; they continued to estimate the maximum ash height to be 43,000 feet. Around 16 UTC on 22 June, CALPSO CALIOP data sampled a small portion of the ash at an altitude near 17 km (between 45-50º N latitude, 155-157º W longitude).

Water Vapor images from GOES-17: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Water Vapor images from GOES-17: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP as viewed using RealEarth are shown below at approximately 01 UTC, 02 UTC and 03 UTC on 22 June. The combination of True Color and Infrared imagery indicated that volcanic ash was present a multiple altitudes.

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 at 01, 02 and 03 UTC on 22 June [click to enlarge]

Due to the highly-oblique satellite viewing angle of GOES-17, multiple Raikoke eruption pulses of significant vertical extent were clearly evident in GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

GOES-17

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

A somewhat less oblique view from the west was provided by the NSMC FY-2G satellite (below).

NSMC FY-2G Visible (0.73 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

NSMC FY-2G Visible (0.73 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) provided another interesting view of the multiple eruption pulses — and since the eruption began around 5 AM local time, long early morning shadows were cast by the initial bursts of tall volcanic clouds. A faster animation revealed shock waves propagating radially outward from the eruption site.

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]




Incidentally, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station took a photo of the volcanic cloud at 2246 UTC on 21 June — and the two Visible images that bracket that time (2240 and 2250 UTC) from GOES-17 and Himawari-8 are shown below.

Photo taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station [click to enlarge]

Photo taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station at 2246 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

===== 23 June Update =====

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

A 2-day animation of 10-minute Himawari-8 False Color images (above) showed the ash- and SO2-rich volcanic plume (brighter shades of yellow) eventually being transported northeastward across the western Aleutian Islands and circulating cyclonically over the Bering Sea. Similarly, this volcanic cloud transport was also seen in the corresponding GOES-17 False Color imagery.

===== 24 June Update =====

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB imagery (above) continued to show a signature of the volcanic cloud (brighter shades of yellow) from the Raikoke eruption over a large portion of the Bering Sea on 24 June. Volcanic ash advisories were issued for flight altitudes as high as 40,000 feet — and a pilot report of SO2 over the Bering Sea at 47,000 feet was received at 1822 UTC (below).

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Split Clout Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and Dust RGB images, with a pilot report of SO2 [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Split Clout Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and Dust RGB images, with a pilot report of SO2 [click to enlarge]

===== 25 June Update =====

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images (above) showed the persistent signature of the SO2-rich volcanic cloud as much of it remained within the circulation of a quasi-stationary low pressure system in the Bering Sea.

An interesting Pilot Report north of the Aleutians at 36,000 feet (below) noted thin grey-colored layers below the altitude of the aircraft. GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images showed a subtle brown/tan plume — could this have been a thin filament of ash from the Raikoke eruption that was drawn into the circulation of the Bering Sea low?

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Air Mass RGB, Dust RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2008 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Air Mass RGB, Dust RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2008 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

Another Pilot Report farther to the west at 2119 UTC (below) was close to the southern edge of the GOES-17 SO2 signatures, but no sulphur odor was reported; however, they did note the presence of an apparent ash layer south of Shemya in the western Aleutian Islands.

GOES-17 SO2 RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2119 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2119 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

Wildfire in the Seward Peninsula of Alaska

June 16th, 2019 |

GOES-17

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

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed a smoke plume and pyrocumulus clouds in addition to the thermal anomaly (or “hot spot”) associated with the lightning-initiated North River wildfire burning in the far eastern Seward Peninsula of Alaska on 16 June 2019. It is interesting to note that shortly after the wildfire exhibited a peak Shortwave Infrared brightness temperature of 94.5ºC at 2124 UTC, a distinct pyrocumulus cloud “jump” was seen in the Visible imagery (which appeared to peak in vertical extent around 2131 UTC, as seen in this short animation).

A sequence of 3 Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) also showed the fire thermal anomaly (black to red pixels) and the smoke plume.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) images, with surface observations plotted in yellow [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) images, with surface observations plotted in yellow [click to enlarge]

In fact, the south-southwestward transport of smoke restricted the surface visibility to 5 miles at Unalakeet and 4 miles at St. Michael (below), located about 100 to 150 miles from the fire respectively.

Time series plot of surface observation data from Unalakeet [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface observation data from Unalakeet [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface observation data from St. Michael [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface observation data from St. Michael [click to enlarge]

A NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) showed significant residual smoke aloft (from the previous day of that wildfire’s growth) arcing westward then southward over the Bering Sea; however, since smoke is effectively transparent at the 11.45 µm Infrared Window wavelength, there was no smoke signature seen in that particular image.

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

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

Flooding along portions of the Mississippi River

June 1st, 2019 |

Landsat-8 False Color RGB images + GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image + GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers [click to enlarge]

A comparison of a Landsat-8 False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image and the GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers as viewed using RealEarth (above) showed areas of river flooding in the Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Cairo, Illinois areas on 01 June 2019.

The River Flood Areal Extent product — derived using GOES-16 data — as depicted in AWIPS is shown below.

GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product [click to enlarge]

Farther to the northwest, a similar comparison of a Landsat-8 False Color RGB image and the GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (below) revealed river flooding near St. Louis, Missouri.

Landsat-8 False Color RGB images + GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image + GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers [click to enlarge]

The GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product over this area as depicted in AWIPS is shown below.

GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 River Flood Areal Extent product [click to enlarge]



Maps of 7, 14 and 30-day precipitation (below) depicted heavy rainfall focused across southern Iowa, northern Missouri and northwestern Illinois — it was this heavy rain that exacerbated the ongoing river flooding problems in parts of the central US.

7-day, 14-day and 30-day precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 01 June 2019 [click to enlarge]

7-day, 14-day and 30-day precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 01 June 2019 [click to enlarge]

Much of the 30-day precipitation north (upstream) of the flooding areas shown above was 4-8 inches above normal, or 200-300% of normal (below).

30-day precipitation, departure and percent of normal ending at 12 UTC on 01 June 2019 [click to enlarge]

30-day precipitation, departure and percent of normal ending at 12 UTC on 01 June 2019 [click to enlarge]

Transport of Canadian wildfire smoke across the Northeast US

May 22nd, 2019 |

GOES-16 CIMSS Natural Color images, with an overlay of the Smoke Detection Product ;click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 CIMSS Natural Color RGB images, with an overlay of the Smoke Detection Product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) CIMSS Natural Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images with an overlay of the Smoke Detection Product (above) revealed curved filaments of wildfire smoke moving southeastward across the Northeast US and the adjacent offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean on 22 May 2019. The smoke filaments were classified as Medium/High confidence by the algorithm — additional information on GOES-R Aerosol Detection Products in AWIPS is available here and here.

During the preceding overnight hours, with ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 92% of Full) smoke filaments were evident over the Atlantic Ocean on Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) imagery at 0722 UTC or 3:22 AM Eastern Time (below). Note that the smoke did not exhibit a signature in the corresponding VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image, since thin smoke layers are effectively transparent to infrared radiation.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0722 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0722 UTC [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB images with VIIRS Fire Detections viewed using RealEarth (below) showed that thick smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta — primarily the Chuckegg Creek Fire that forced evacuations in the town of High Level — was initially lofted above the meteorological clouds over the Northwest Territories and Nunavut on 19 May and 20 May, before eventually moving southeastward across central/eastern Canada.

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB images with Fire Detections, 18-22 May [click to play animation]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB images with Fire Detections, 18-22 May [click to play animation]

HYSPLIT model 72-hour back trajectories from 3 points corresponding to the smoke filaments seen in the GOES-16 imagery off the Northeast US coast (below) confirmed an initial anticyclonic transport from the region of the Alberta wildfires, with a subsequent southeastward transport across Canada and eventually the Northeast US.

HYSPLIT model 72-hour back trajectories from 3 points off the Northeast US coast [click to enlarge]

HYSPLIT model 72-hour back trajectories from 3 points off the Northeast US coast

6-hourly GFS 500 hPa analyses (source) shown below help to explain the smoke transport as seen in both the VIIRS imagery and the HYSPLIT trajectories — a ridge of high pressure was present over western Canada early in the period, with a transition to a deepening longwave trough over eastern Canada with a shortwave trough digging across Quebec and the Maritimes on 21-22 May. Strong descent of the trajectories occurred during the final 12 hours of transport, on the back side of the digging shortwave trough.

6-hourly GFS 500 hPa analyses [click to enlarge]

6-hourly GFS 500 hPa analyses, from 12 UTC on 18 May to 12 UTC on 22 May [click to enlarge]