Pyrocumulonimbus cloud in northwestern Canada

July 12th, 2022 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom left) and Fire Temperature RGB (bottom right) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Fire Temperature RGB images (above) showed a wildfire just southwest of Yellowknife (CYZF) in Canada’s Northwest Territories, which produced a pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud during the afternoon hours on 12 July 2022.

This large fire burned very hot, with 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared brightness temperatures reaching 138.71ºC — which is the saturation temperature of ABI Band 7 detectors. The coldest pyroCb cloud-top 10.35 µm Infrared Window brightness temperatures were around -49ºC (lighter shades of blue).

The Electra Fire in California

July 5th, 2022 |

The Electra Fire near Jackson, California began on the afternoon of 2022-07-04 and can be observed with GOES-West (GOES-17) satellite imagery on RealEarth. The fire produced pyrocumulonimbus clouds, or pyroCb, which are storm clouds that start due to fire conditions.

As of 2022-07-05 at 15:00 UTC, the Electra Fire is 0% contained and has affected 3,034 acres.

Five-minute imagery video of GOES-17 Band 2 (visible) overlayed with Band 7 (infrared) showing the Electra Fire in northern California from 2022-07-04 22:30UTC to 2022-07-05 3:30UTC. The Band 7 “enhanced fire” signature can be seen beginning at 23:00UTC. This animation can be recreated using RealEarth.
A quick loop of GOES-17 true color imagery over the area, from 2022-07-04 22:20UTC to 2022-07-05 3:50UTC. The Electra Fire event is indicated by a red arrow. This animation was made using CSPP geo2grid.

Wildfire smoke across Alaska

June 29th, 2022 |

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed a widespread pall of smoke covering much of southern Alaska — from above-normal fire activity during the preceding several days, amid drought conditions — along with the growth of new smoke plumes from many of the larger fires later in the day on 29 Jun 2022. This dense smoke was restricting the surface visibility at numerous sites, creating hazards to aviation and poor air quality for inhabitants. 

===== 30 June Update =====

GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

On the following day, GOES-17 True Color RGB images (above) showed an increasing trend in the areal coverage of smoke — and also revealed the marked re-intensification of a 40-50 mile long line of the combined Koktuli River and Pike Creek fires in southwestern Alaska (northwest of Iiamna Lake).

A closer view of the Koktuli River and Pike Creek fire line is shown below, using 1-minute Mesoscale Sector GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Day Cloud Land Fire RGB and Fire Temperature RGB images. This was reportedly the largest wildfire complex in that area of Alaska in the past 70 years.

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), Day Cloud Land Fire RGB (bottom left) and Fire Temperature RGB (bottom right) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

The dense smoke plume was transported northwestward toward the Seward Peninsula, where it contributed to very poor air quality in Nome on the following day. 

Pyrocumulonimbus cloud in Canada’s Northwest Territories

June 24th, 2022 |

GOES-18 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, center) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom) images, which include hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-18  images in this blog post are preliminary and non-operational

GOES-18 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed the formation of a small pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud — generated by a wildfire that was burning near the northwest coast of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada — on 24 June 2022. The pyroCB cloud then drifted southeastward across the lake, toward Resolute Bay (CYFR). Incidentally, this was Canada’s first documented pyroCb of the 2022 wildfire season.

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images valid at 1930 UTC, with plots of surface reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images valid at 1930 UTC (above) showed the pyroCb shortly after it formed (when it exhibited a minimum cloud-top 11.45 µm infrared brightness temperature of -49C, lighter shades of red) — and Suomi-NPP VIIRS images valid at 1930 UTC (below) displayed the pyroCb over Great Slave Lake at 2110 UTC (when it exhibited a minimum cloud-top 11.45 µm infrared brightness temperature of -54C, darker shades of violet).

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images valid at 2110 UTC, with plots of surface reports [click to enlarge