Smoke in the Gulf of Mexico

April 18th, 2019 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with surface fronts plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed some clearing of the dense pall of smoke across the far western Gulf of Mexico in the wake of a cold front that was moving southward/southeastward off the Texas coast on 18 April 2019. The parallel wave clouds of an undular bore were also evident ahead of the cold front from 13-16 UTC — the bore was also causing horizontal convective roll perturbations in the smoke about 20-40 miles ahead of the wave clouds (1506 UTC image).

The hazy signature of smoke was better defined in GOES-16 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the AOS site (below). This smoke was the result of widespread annual Springtime agricultural burning across southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Toward the end of the day, additional small plumes of smoke and blowing dust could  be seen moving back across the Gulf of Mexico into the “cleaner” air behind the cold front.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Thermal anomalies or “hot spots” (yellow to red pixels) associated with the larger fires in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras could be seen in GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below).

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A map of fires detected by Suomi NPP VIIRS on the previous day is shown below, as viewed using RealEarth.

Fires detected by Suomi NPP VIIRS on 17 April [click to enlarge]

Fires detected by Suomi NPP VIIRS on 17 April [click to enlarge]

Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk

April 18th, 2019 |

Himawari-8

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

JMA Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed circulations of ice within the Sea of Okhotsk (east of Sakhalin Island — station identifier UHSS is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia) on 17-18 April 2019. Wind stress from an occluded Gale Force Low moving through that region on the previous day (surface analyses) likely helped to enhance some of the ice circulations.

In a comparison of Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (below), note that the ice appears much darker than cloud features (since ice is a strong absorber of radiation at the 1.61 µm wavelength).

Himawari-8 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Thanks to Thomas Birchard (NWS Honolulu) for bringing this interesting feature to our attention!