Interesting contrail in North Dakota

November 21st, 2017 |

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

As mentioned in a Tweet from NWS Grand Forks (above), an interesting contrail was seen over eastern North Dakota on 21 November 2017. They noted that the contrail was most easily seen using imagery from the water vapor bands.

A comparison of GOES-16 ABI Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (below) showed the formation and motion of the contrail feature (which was likely caused by military aircraft, based in Grand Forks and/or Minot, performing training exercises).

GOES-16 Lower-level (10.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with surface station identifiers plotted in cyan [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Lower-level (10.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images [click to play animation]

A comparison of three of the GOES-16 Near-Infrared bands (below) showed that the high-altitude ice crystal contrail feature was also very apparent in “Cirrus” (1.37 µm) images; the contrails themselves were very subtle in the “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images, but their darker shadows which were cast upon the surface (to the east-northeast) were more obvious — for example, on the 2132 UTC images.

GOES-16 Vegetation (0.86 µm, left), Cirrus (1.37 µm, center) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Vegetation (0.86 µm, left), Cirrus (1.37 µm, center) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

A similar contrail feature was noted over North Dakota in March 2011.