Silt at the mouth of the Mississippi River

March 13th, 2018 |

CIMSS Natural True Color Imagery, 1515 – 1830 UTC on 13 March 2018 (Click to animate)

The CIMSS Natural True Color RGB, above, from 13 March 2018, shows the motion of alluvial sediment in the Gulf of Mexico in the outflow from various rivers. Muddy plumes from the Atchafalaya River in central Louisiana, the Mississippi River, and the Mobile River in Alabama are apparent. In particular, there is distinct northward motion during the 3 hours shown in this animation along the northern edge of the Mississippi River Delta.

A similar animation for 9 March 2018 is available here (courtesy Tim Schmit, NOAA and Mat Gunshor, CIMSS). Close monitoring of where the outflow from rivers is mixing with the Gulf of Mexico waters is a capability of GOES-16 Imagery when skies are clear.

Natural True Color is computed from GOES-16 Reflectance imagery using the “Blue” band (0.47 µm), the “Red” band (0.64 µm) and the “Veggie” band (0.86 µm), that latter being used to give information that in True Color Imagery from MODIS or Suomi NPP (for example) is supplied by a true “Green” band (0.55 µm).

The animation below shows True-Color imagery from MODIS for clear days between 30 January and 13 March 2018. The superior resolution of MODIS (on the Terra and Aqua spacecraft) and the presence of a 0.55 µm channel (in addition to 0.47 µm and 0.64 µm) allows for crisper imagery than from GOES-16; however, the ability to animate at small time scales over the Gulf of Mexico is a capability reserved for GOES-16 (and GOES-17, when it becomes operational). Terra and Aqua imagery are not useful if the overpass of the Polar Orbiters coincide with clouds; on days with variable cloud cover, GOES Imagery is more likely to provide useful information.

MODIS True Color Imagery for select dates between 30 January and 13 March 2018 (Click to animate)

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