Eruption of Popocatépetl in Mexico

January 9th, 2020 |

GOES-16 Low-, Mid- and Upper-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm, 6.9 µm and 6.2 µm), Split Window Difference (10.3-12.3 µm) and Cloud Top Height product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Low-, Mid- and Upper-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm, 6.9 µm and 6.2 µm), Split Window Difference (10.3-12.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Popocatépetl erupted at 1226 UTC on 09 January 2019 — GOES-16 (GOES-East) images of Low-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) and Split Window Difference (10.3-12.3 µm) (above) showed a higher-altitude ash plume moving rapidly south-southeastward, while ash at a lower altitude moved slowly north-northeastward.

The difference in speed and direction of ash transport was explained by plots of rawinsonde data from Mexico City and Acapulco at 12 UTC (below), which revealed stronger northwesterly winds within the 200-250 hPa pressure layer, with lighter southerly to southwesterly winds existing between 400 and 600 hPa.

Plots of rawinsonde data from Mexico City and Acapulco at 12 UTC [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Mexico City (yellow) and Acapulco (cyan) at 12 UTC [click to enlarge]

At 1402 UTC a Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over Mexico — and 1-minute GOES-16 Ash RGB images created using Geo2Grid (below) tracked the distinct signature of the northern lower-altitude ash (brighter shades of pink to red) while the southern higher-altitude ash signature faded as it was more quickly dispersed by the stronger winds.

GOES-16 Ash RGB images {click to play animation | MP4]

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

A GOES-16 Ash Height product from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (below) indicated that the southern ash plume exhibited heights in the 6-8 km range, with similar heights seen for the slow-moving northern ash feature.

GOES-16 Ash Height product [click to play animation MP4]

GOES-16 Ash Height product [click to play animation MP4]

Eruption of Popocatépetl in Mexico

October 2nd, 2019 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Split Window (10.3 – 12.3 µm), Ash RGB, Dust RGB and SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A sequence of GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Split Window (10.3 – 12.3 µm), Ash RGB, Dust RGB and SO2 RGB images (above) revealed signatures of volcanic plumes from an eruption of Popocatépetl on 02 October 2019. According to the Volcanic Ash Advisory issued at 1323 UTC (below), the longer plume moving westward — which was clearly seen in the Visible imagery — extended to an altitude of 21,000 feet. The second volcanic plume moving northwestward — which exhibited subtle signatures in the Split Window and RGB images — extended to an altitude of 24,000 feet. Although neither the Split Window nor the RGB images showed strong volcanic cloud signatures, taken together they helped to confirm the presence and transport of the 2 separate plumes.

GOES-16 Split Window image with the text of the 1323 UTC Volcanic Ash Advisory [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Split Window (10.3 – 12.3 µm) image showing the text of the 1323 UTC Volcanic Ash Advisory [click to enlarge]

The radiometrically-retrieved Volcanic Ash Height product from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site indicated a maximum height in the 5-7 km range for the westward-moving plume (below).

GOES-16 Volcanic Ash Height product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Volcanic Ash Height product [click to play animation | MP4]

Eruptions of Popocatépetl in Mexico

November 23rd, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10. µm, right) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

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

An eruption of Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano — the largest since 2013 — occurred on 23 November 2017. The volcanic cloud was evident in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) as it drifted southward. However, due to the relatively thin nature of the cloud (a result of low values of ash loading), 10.3 µm infrared brightness temperatures were quite warm (greater than -20ºC), making a height determination from the single-band infrared imagery alone rather difficult.

This example demonstrates the value of using multi-spectral image techniques to derive retrieved products — available from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site — such as Ash Height (below). In this case, the retrieved ash cloud height was 7 km or 24,000 feet (darker green enhancement0, even for portions of the cloud with relatively low ash loading.

Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

During the following nighttime hours, another eruption occurred, this time sending ash to a slightly higher altitude of 8 km or 26,000 feet (below).

Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

Ash Cloud Height product [click to play animation]

A GOES-16 GeoColor animation can be seen here.

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Two of the channels on GOES-16 detect radiation in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum where sulfur dioxide (SO2) absorbs radiation: Band 10 (7.3 µm, the low-level Water Vapor channel) and Band 11 (8.4 µm, the Infrared Cloud Phase channel, see in particular the figure on the first page of the Quick Guide). The SO2 Red-Green-Blue (RGB) Composite was designed to highlight volcanic plumes, using the Brightness Temperature Difference between the mid-level and low-level Water Vapor Channels (6.9 µm7.3 µm) as the Red Component, the Brightness Temperature Difference between the Clean Infrared Window (Band 13, 10.3 µm) and the Infrared Cloud Phase (Band 11, 8.4 µm) as the Green Component, and the Clean Infrared Window (Band 13, 10.3 µm) as the Blue Component.  The eruption is obvious in the SO2 RGB imagery, below, with magenta and blue values apparent.  The volcanic plume’s appearance differs markedly from that of the convection along the Pacific coast of Mexico south and west of the eruption.

GOES-16 SO2 RGB, 2023 UTC 23 November 2017 – 2148 UTC 23 November 2017 (Click to animate)

Eruption of the Popocatépetl Volcano in Mexico

January 25th, 2016 |

Soumi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Soumi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

The Popocatépetl Volcano in Mexico began erupting at 1546 UTC on 20 January 2016 (Washington VAAC message). The volcanic plume was evident on Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images on 23, 24, and 25 January, as viewed using the SSEC RealEarth web map server (above).

Nighttime images of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Longwave Infrared Window (11.45 µm), and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 0817 UTC on 25 January (below, courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) revealed the hot spot of the erupting volcano summit (orange pixels), and ample illumination from the Moon allowed the plume to be seen on the Day/Night Band image. The large areas of bright city lights from Mexico City and Pueblo (located northwest and southeast of Popocatépetl, respectively) are also very apparent on the Day/Night Band image.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Longwave Infrared Window (11.45 µm), and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Longwave Infrared Window (11.45 µm), and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A legacy product for use in the detection of volcanic ash plumes is the Infrared “Split-Window” (11-12 µm) brightness temperature difference product (below), which showed the plume streaming eastward to northeastward during the 24-25 January period.

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared "Split Window" (11-12 µm) Brightness Temperature Difference product images [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared “Split Window” (11-12 µm) Brightness Temperature Difference product images [click to enlarge]

Taking advantage of the multi-spectral imagery available from the MODIS and VIIRS instruments on the Terra/Aqua ans Suomi NPP satellites, quantitative products can be derived such as Ash Height, Ash Loading, Ash Effective Radius, and Ash Probability from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Coud Monitoring (below).

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Height product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Height product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Loading product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Loading product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Effective Radius product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Effective Radius product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Probability product [click to enlarge]

Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Volcanic Ash Probability product [click to enlarge]