Blowing dust in the Arabian Sea

November 3rd, 2018 |

Sequence of daily True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS, Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS, covering the period 01-03 November [click to play animation]

Sequence of daily True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS, Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS, covering the period 01-03 November [click to play animation]

Strong winds across southern Iran and Pakistan were lofting plumes of blowing sand/dust offshore over the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea during 01 November, 02 November and 03 November 2018 — a sequence of daily composites of True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from Terra MODIS, Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS from RealEarth (above) showed the increase in dust transport during that 3-day period.

A comparison of True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS, NOAA-20 VIIRS, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS on 03 November is shown below.

Comparison of True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS, NOAA-20 VIIRS, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS on 03 November [click to play animation]

Comparison of True Color RGB images from Terra MODIS, NOAA-20 VIIRS, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS on 03 November [click to play animation]

Metop-A and Metop-B ASCAT data (source) showed surface wind speeds in the 20-25 knot range emerging from the coast where plumes of blowing dust were located (below).

Meop ASCAT surface scatteromete winds [click to enlarge]

Meop ASCAT surface scatteromete winds [click to enlarge]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-11 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images from 02 November and 03 November (below) showed the daily evolution of the dust plumes.

Meteosat-11 Visible (0.8 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Visible (0.8 µm) images on 02 November [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Visible (0.8 µm) images on 03 November [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Visible (0.8 µm) images on 03 November [click to play animation | MP4]

Blowing dust from the Copper River Valley in Alaska

November 1st, 2018 |

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

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

Strong gap winds accelerating out of the Copper River Valley along the southern coast of Alaska were lofting fine particles of glacial silt/sand and transporting those aerosols southwestward across the Gulf of Alaska on 31 October and 01 November 2018. A sequence of NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images viewed using RealEarth (above) showed that the plume was more widespread on 01 November.

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed the plume at 2022 UTC on 01 November. The map overlay has been removed from one set of images, to better reveal the dust plume source region. Note that the plume appeared much warmer (darker shades of red)  in the Shortwave Infrared image — this is due to enhanced solar reflectance off the small dust particles. Since airborne dust is generally transparent at longer infrared wavelengths, only the thickest portion of the plume exhibited a subtle signature on the 11.45 µm image.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The surface visibility briefly dropped to 3 miles at Middleton Island (PAMD) around the time of the Suomi NPP VIIRS images. as gusty north-northeasterly winds carried the plume over that location (below). Although Cordova (station identifier PACV) is only about 20 miles northwest of the Copper River Delta, the localized gap winds did not affect that site (where wind speeds were 3 knots or less the entire day).

Time series plot of surface observations at Middleton Island [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observations at Middleton Island [click to enlarge]

ASCAT surface scatterometer winds (source) from Metop-A and Metop-B (below) showed speeds in the 25-30 knot range where the gap winds were exiting the Copper River Delta.

Metop-A and Metop-B ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

Metop-A and Metop-B ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11-12 µm) images (source) at 2204 UTC on 01 November (below) showed a subtle BTD signal within the more dense center portion of the plume, due to the silicate composition of some of the airborne particulate matter.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11-12 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11-12 µm) images [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) products from the eIDEA site (below) revealed larger AOT values on 01 November.

VIIRS Aerosol Optical Thickness product [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Aerosol Optical Thickness product [click to enlarge]

The gap winds were caused by a strong gradient between cold high pressure over Interior Alaska/Yukon and an occluding gale force low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska (surface analyses: WPC)| OPC). GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) images (below) showed the circulation of the low, and surface observations highlighted the cold air over snow-covered inland areas. While the dust plume was faintly apparent, it did not show up as well with the lower spatial resolution and large viewing angle of GOES-15.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

A similar — though more prolonged and intense — event was noted in October 2016.

West Pacific Typhoon Yutu

October 23rd, 2018 |

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Rapid-scan (2.5-minute interval) Himawari-8 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) showed the formation of a well-defined eye as Typhoon Yutu rapidly intensified from a Category 2 to a Category 4 storm  (ADT | SATCON) east of Guam on 23 October 2018. Cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were -90ºC or colder (yellow pixels embedded within violet-enhanced areas) — which was several degrees colder than the -84ºC tropopause temperature on rawinsonde data at Guam (below).

Plot of Guam rawinsonde data [click to enlarge]

Plot of Guam rawinsonde data [click to enlarge]

During this period of rapid intensification, Yutu was moving over very warm water and through an environment of low (favorable) deep-layer wind shear — and satellite-derived winds from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed the development of well-defined mid/upper-level outflow channels to the northwest and southeast of the storm, which also aided the intensification process.

Himawari-8 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with mid/upper-level satellite-derived winds [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with mid/upper-level satellite-derived winds [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Willa

October 22nd, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed Willa during the 48 hours that it rapidly intensified (ADT | SATCON) from a Tropical Storm at 15 UTC on 20 October to a Category 5 Hurricane at 15 UTC on 22 October 2018. Willa  — which became the third Category 5 hurricane of the 2018 season in the northeast Pacific basin (east of 180º longitude) — formed and had been moving over very warm water, with Sea Surface Temperatures of 29-30ºC. Deep-layer wind shear was also light during the 15 hour period lead up to Category 5 intensity.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed Category 4 Willa off the west coast of Mexico at 0852 UTC on 22 October. The Moon was in the Waxing Gibbous phase (at 95% of Full), providing ample illumination for a “visible image at night” using the VIIRS Day/Night Band. Intricate cloud-top gravity waves were seen propagating radially outward from the storm center.

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

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

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window images (below) revealed the small eye of the Category 5 hurricane after sunrise, with multiple convective bursts that erupted along the western edge of the eyewall. A continuous series of storm-top waves could be seen propagating radially outward away from the eye on Visible imagery. However, the eye eventually became cloud-filled as Willa began to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle — the formation of a larger-diameter outer eyewall was evident on the MIMIC-TC product — and weaken to a Category 4 intensity.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) provided a more direct view of the storm, since the satellite was positioned over the Equator at 89.5º W longitude while in its post-launch testing location.

GOES-17

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

October 23 is the last full day, for a while, to use GOES-16 and GOES-17 data to produce stereoscopic imagery. GOES-17 is set to cease data transmission on 24 October around 1500 UTC as it starts its motion towards its operational GOES-West position of 137.2º W Longitude. The animation below, starting at 1307 UTC on 23 October, (click here for an animated gif) shows the occasional appearance of an eye within the storm center on 23 October as it approached the coast. To view the image in three dimensions, cross your eyes until 3 images are apparent, then focus on the image in the middle.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

“Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images from GOES-16 (right) and GOES-17 (left) [click to play mp4 animation]