NUCAPS views Saharan Air over the Atlantic

September 20th, 2018 |

Saharan Air Layer Analysis over the Tropical Atlantic, 0600 UTC on 20 September 2018 (Click to enlarge)

There have been many episodes of Saharan Air over the tropical Atlantic within the past months, and another episode is in progress on 20 September. The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) analysis, above, from the CIMSS Tropical Weather website (Direct Link), shows dry air north and east of the Caribbean. The Clean Window ABI Band 13 (10.3 µm) Full-Disk ABI infrared imagery, below, from 0500 UTC, overlain with NUCAPS sounding points, shows where data were available from that morning overpass of Suomi NPP.

GOES-16 ABI 10.3 µm Infrared Imagery at 0500 UTC along with NUCAPS Sounding Points at approximately the same time (Click to enlarge)

The stepping animation below shows NUCAPS Soundings at a selection of points that starts north of the Saharan Air Layer and ends up within the SAL. The underlying figure is the Dust RGB from AWIPS, an RGB that combines the Split Window Difference (12.3 µm -10.3 µm; Red Component), Split Cloud Top Phase Brightness Temperature Difference (11.2 µm – 8.5 µm; Green Component) and 10.3 µm Infrared Imagery (Blue Component). Typically, regions with dust as might accompany a SAL have a pink tinge. The soundings are annotated to include Total Precipitable Water measurements, and mid-level Relative humidity. NUCAPS soundings identify the region where the SAL is present.

Dust RGB at 0433 UTC north and east of the Caribbean, and NUCAPS Soundings at selected points along a transect (Click to enlarge)

The SAL air continued its movement west during the day on 20 September.  The toggle below shows the Dust RGB, ABI Band 3 (0.86 µm) and the Baseline Aerosol Detection Product (in blue) at about the same time as the afternoon NUCAPS Sounding overpass (from Suomi NPP).  Suomi NPP overflew the eastern half of the SAL air (the overpass from NOAA-20 was more centered on the SAL air approaching the Caribbean, but NOAA-20 NUCAPS soundings are not yet in AWIPS;  they should be by the end of the year).

GOES-16 ABI Dust RGB, “Veggie Band” (Near-Infrared at 0.86 µm), and Baseline Aerosol Detection Product (Blue points), 1615 UTC on 20 September 2018 (Click to enlarge)

NUCAPS Soundings at 3 points (North of the SAL, within the SAL, and south of the SAL), below, show much different thermodynamics within the SAL.

NUCAPS Profiles at ~1600 UTC on 20 September 2018 at three locations as noted (Click to enlarge)

NOAA’s G-IV flew through this outbreak, deploying dropsondes to sample the event. The path of the aircraft (with the dropsonde locations) is here. Sonde #26, below, in the heart of the SAL, is shown below, with a nearby NOAA-20 NUCAPS sounding. (Flight path and Sonde imagery courtesy Chris Barnet, STC/NOAA) Refer to the caption for details.  Recall that the Dropsonde shows values at a point.  The NUCAPS profile is sampling a volume that is approximately a 50-km cylinder!  There is nevertheless excellent agreement.

Dropsonde #26 data (raw data in light grey; values averaged into the 100 NUCAPS vertical layers in black); GFS sounding in magenta. NUCAPS Microwave-only sounding in green; NUCAPS Microwave and infrared retrieval (as might be seen in AWIPS) in Red. Time offset from the Dropsonde is noted (Click to enlarge)

SAL outbreaks cause a significant deterioration in air quality over the Caribbean. The image below, courtesy Ernesto Rodriguez, SOO for the National Weather Service office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, compares Air Quality before and during a SAL outbreak in July, and during the current outbreak.

The view outside of the National Weather Service office in San Juan on 20 September and 13 July 2018 (during SAL outbreaks) and on 12 July 2018 (before a SAL outbreak). Imagery courtesy Ernesto Rodriguez, NWS SJU.

Florence produces record rainfall in North Carolina and South Carolina

September 17th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type symbols plotted in yellow and SPC storm reports plotted in cyan, 13-17 September [click to play MP4 animation]

After Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina during the morning hours on 14 September, it moved very slowly (at times only 2-3 mph) southwestward into South Carolina during 15-16 September (surface analyses). Prolonged heavy rainfall resulted (WPC summary), with new state records (see below) for precipitation from a tropical cyclone being set in North Carolina (35.93 inches) and South Carolina (23.63 inches). GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images every 5 minutes during the 4-day period of 13-16 September (above) showed the evolution of banding and the development of new convection that produced the heavy rainfall — widespread flooding along with strong winds caused power outages across portions of the 2 states (NC | SC), and closed sections of Interstates 95 and 40. Note that the power outages caused extended dropouts of the plotted surface reports — especially in eastern North Carolina; reports were missing when the gray 4-letter station identifiers disappeared — even though many of those sites were likely experiencing heavy rainfall during those dropout times.

Florence also spawned a few tornadoes on 14, 15 and 16 September — SPC storm reports are plotted in cyan on the GOES-16 Infrared images.

Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed tropical moisture associated with Florence as it moved inland during the 13-17 September period.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, 13-17 September [click to play animation | MP4]

Animations of plots of rawinsonde data from the coastal sites of Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina (below) revealed the increase in deep tropical moisture from 13-16 September — Total Precipitable Water values were as high as 68.6 mm (2.70 inches) at Newport and 67.8 mm (2.67 inches) at Charleston.

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Charleston, South Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Charleston, South Carolina [click to enlarge]

As the remnants of Florence moved from Kentucky to West Virginia during the daylight hours of 17 September, numerous tornadoes occurred in central Virginia (SPC storm reports | NWS Wakefield summary). 1-minute GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the development of thunderstorms which produced these tornadoes.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, left) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

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

 

===== 18 September Update =====

Before/after (26 August/18 September) Terra MODIS False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS False Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

A comparison of before/after (26 August/18 September) Terra MODIS False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the MODIS Today site (above) showed areas of inland flooding (increasing water coverage appears as darker shades of blue) in the wake of Florence across far southeastern North Carolina and far northeastern South Carolina.

Looking slightly to the south, a similar before/after comparison of Terra MODIS True Color RGB images (below) revealed areas of sediment runoff into the Atlantic Ocean.

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

September 14th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface wind gusts in knots [click to play MP4 animation]

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 1115 UTC (7:15 am EDT) with estimated maximum winds of 78 knots (90 mph) and a minimum central pressure estimate of 958 hPa (28.29″). Overlapping GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mesoscale Domain Sectors provided images every 30 seconds — “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the storm as it slowly moved inland after sunrise. A peak wind gust of 105 mph was recorded at Wilmington NC (which is located at the center of the GOES-16 images); in northeastern North Carolina, winds gusted to 105 mph at Fort Macon and 112 mph at the New River Inlet Buoy.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly plots of wind gusts [click to play MP4 animation]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed abundant moisture associated with Florence moving inland during the 48-hour period ending at 23 UTC on 14 September.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

Toggles between Visible and Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1620 UTC [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1801 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1835 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1835 UTC [click to enlarge]

Over the western Atlantic Ocean, strong winds associated with Florence created large waves which induced upwelling of colder water from below the ocean surface, as seen in Ocean Heat Content data (below).

Ocean Heat Content data from 14 September [click to enlarge]

Ocean Heat Content data from 14 September [click to enlarge]

Super Typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall in the Philippines

September 14th, 2018 |

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

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation | Animated GIF]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) showed Super Typhoon Mangkhut making landfall as a Category 5 intensity storm over the far northern portion of Luzon in the Philippines just after 17 UTC on 14 September 2018 (1 am local time on 15 September). The eye quickly deteriorated and became cloud-filled after moving inland.

The MIMIC-TC morphed microwave product (below) indicated that Mangkhut was in the process of completing an eyewall replacement cycle shortly before making landfall.

westernMIMIC-TC morphed microwave product [click to enlarge]Mangkhut moved over waters of the western Philippine Sea having high values of Ocean Heat Content and Sea Surface Temperature during the final day preceding landfall (below).

Ocean Heat Content and Sea Surface Temperature data along the path of Mangkhut [click to enlarge]