Eruption of the Raikoke volcano in the Kuril Islands

June 21st, 2019 |

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

For the first time since 1924, a major eruption of the Raikoke volcano occurred around 1800 UTC on 21 June 2019. Himawari-8 False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (above) showed — via the brighter yellow areas — that a large portion of the volcanic plume was rich in both ash and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The Tokyo VAAC estimated the maximum ash height to be 43,000 feet (~13 km) above ground level — and CALIPSO CALIOP data indicated a maximum ash height around 12 km shortly after 02 UTC on 22 June (between 45-50º N latitude and 159-161º E longitude).

A comparison of an Aqua MODIS False Color RGB image with the corresponding Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius retrieved products at 0310 UTC on 22 June (below) indicated maximum ash height values of 18-20 km (black pixels) immediately downwind of the eruption site. Maximum Himawari-8 Ash Height values were in the 16-18 km range.

Aqua MODIS False Color RGB, Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius at 0310 UTC on 22 June [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS False Color RGB image with Ash Height, Ash Loading and Ash Effective Radius retrieved products [click to enlarge]

In a comparison of Himawari-8 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images (below), since the 7.3 µm spectral band is also sensitive to SO2 absorption, those images showed a good signature of the leading filament of volcanic SO2 as it was transported east-southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean.

Water Vapor images from Himawari-8: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Water Vapor images from Himawari-8: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Similarly, the GOES–17 (GOES-West) Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images also showed the filament of volcanic SO2 that was being drawn into the circulation of a Gale Force Low south of the Aleutian Islands. As a result, the Anchorage VAAC issued aviation Volcanic Ash Advisories that covered large areas of the North Pacific Ocean and southern Bering Sea; they continued to estimate the maximum ash height to be 43,000 feet. Around 16 UTC on 22 June, CALPSO CALIOP data sampled a small portion of the ash at an altitude near 17 km (between 45-50º N latitude, 155-157º W longitude).

Water Vapor images from GOES-17: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

Water Vapor images from GOES-17: Upper-level (6.2 µm, top), Mid-level (6.9 µm, middle) and Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom) [click to play animation | MP4]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP as viewed using RealEarth are shown below at approximately 01 UTC, 02 UTC and 03 UTC on 22 June. The combination of True Color and Infrared imagery indicated that volcanic ash was present a multiple altitudes.

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP at 01, 02 and 03 UTC on 22 June [click to enlarge]

Due to the highly-oblique satellite viewing angle of GOES-17, multiple Raikoke eruption pulses of significant vertical extent were clearly evident in GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

GOES-17

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

A somewhat less oblique view from the west was provided by the NSMC FY-2G satellite (below).

NSMC FY-2G Visible (0.73 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

NSMC FY-2G Visible (0.73 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) provided another interesting view of the multiple eruption pulses — and since the eruption began around 5 AM local time, long early morning shadows were cast by the initial bursts of tall volcanic clouds. A faster animation revealed shock waves propagating radially outward from the eruption site.

Himawari-8

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




Incidentally, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station took a photo of the volcanic cloud at 2246 UTC on 21 June — and the two Visible images that bracket that time (2240 and 2250 UTC) from GOES-17 and Himawari-8 are shown below.

Photo taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station [click to enlarge]

Photo taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station at 2246 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images at 2240 and 2250 UTC {click to enlarge]

===== 23 June Update =====

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 False Color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

A 2-day animation of 10-minute Himawari-8 False Color images (above) showed the ash- and SO2-rich volcanic plume (brighter shades of yellow) eventually being transported northeastward across the western Aleutian Islands and circulating cyclonically over the Bering Sea. Similarly, this volcanic cloud transport was also seen in the corresponding GOES-17 False Color imagery.

===== 24 June Update =====

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB imagery (above) continued to show a signature of the volcanic cloud (brighter shades of yellow) from the Raikoke eruption over a large portion of the Bering Sea on 24 June. Volcanic ash advisories were issued for flight altitudes as high as 40,000 feet — and a pilot report of SO2 over the Bering Sea at 47,000 feet was received at 1822 UTC (below).

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Split Clout Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and Dust RGB images, with a pilot report of SO2 [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Split Clout Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) and Dust RGB images, with a pilot report of SO2 [click to enlarge]

===== 25 June Update =====

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB images (above) showed the persistent signature of the SO2-rich volcanic cloud as much of it remained within the circulation of a quasi-stationary low pressure system in the Bering Sea.

An interesting Pilot Report north of the Aleutians at 36,000 feet (below) noted thin grey-colored layers below the altitude of the aircraft. GOES-17 Air Mass RGB images showed a subtle brown/tan plume — could this have been a thin filament of ash from the Raikoke eruption that was drawn into the circulation of the Bering Sea low?

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Air Mass RGB, Dust RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2008 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB, Air Mass RGB, Dust RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2008 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

Another Pilot Report farther to the west at 2119 UTC (below) was close to the southern edge of the GOES-17 SO2 signatures, but no sulphur odor was reported; however, they did note the presence of an apparent ash layer south of Shemya in the western Aleutian Islands.

GOES-17 SO2 RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2119 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 SO2 RGB and Split Cloud Top Phase (11.2-8.4 µm) images, with a 2119 UTC Pilot Report [click to enlarge]

NWS Juneau, Alaska issues their first-ever Severe Thunderstorm Warning — based on satellite imagery

June 27th, 2019 |

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

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

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the development of thunderstorms over the far southern end of the Alaska Panhandle on 27 June 2019. These storms intensified as they moved southeastward toward the Misty Fjords area of Alaska (located east and southeast of Ketchikan PAKT) — and when a significant lightning jump was noted with the strongest storm, NWS Juneau issued their first-ever Severe Thunderstorm Warning at 0249 UTC. A few thunderstorm overshooting tops could be seen in the visible images (for example, at 0230 UTC).

The Severe Thunderstorm Warning polygon is shown below.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning polygon [click to enlarge]

Severe Thunderstorm Warning polygon [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (below) revealed minimum cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures around -60ºC (darker red enhancement).

GOES-17 “Clean

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A comparison of GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images at 1-minute intervals with GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images at 15-30-minute intervals (below) helps to underscore the importance of 1-minute imagery for identifying and tracking the pulse-type of thunderstorms that developed on this day. Also evident is the brighter appearance of the GOES-17 Visible imagery — the ABI instrument on the newer GOES-R Series benefits from on-orbit visible calibration, which mitigates the visible detector degradation that plagued the older GOES series.

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Additional information about this severe thunderstorm event is available on a FDTD GOES Applications Webinar.

On a side note, a larger-scale view of GOES-17 Visible imagery (below) showed a curious thin elongated feature moving southwestward from Yukon across the Alaska Panhandle to the Gulf of Alaska, which became more obvious later in the day as the lower sun angle increased forward scattering. This feature was casting a shadow onto the marine boundary layer stratus clouds over the Gulf of Alaska (0250 UTC image).

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

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

This feature was also apparent in GOES-17 Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.38 µm) images (below), since that spectral band excels at the detection of atmospheric particles that are efficient scatterers of light (such as cirrus ice crystals, dust, smoke and volcanic ash/sulfate). In fact, this was a streamer of high-altitude sulfate from the Raikoke eruption on 21 June — and this thin volcanic filament could be unambiguously identified earlier in Cirrus imagery than in Visible imagery (for example, over Yukon at 1950 UTC, before forward scattering became large enough to aid identification at visible wavelengths).

GOES-17 Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.38 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.38 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]