Explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga volcano

January 15th, 2022 |

JMA Himawari-8 True Color RGB images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

JMA Himawari-8 True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed the rapid expansion of a volcanic cloud following an explosive eruption of Hunga Tonga on 15 January 2022. An abrupt shock wave was also evident, which propagated radially outward in all directions.

The volcanic cloud also exhibited a striking appearance in GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (below), with a pronounced arc of cloud-top gravity waves along its eastern edge as the bulk of the cloud material drifted westward. Pulsing concentric shock waves were also seen in the infrared imagery.

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/ASPB) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Beginning at 0705 UTC, a GOES-17 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over the region, providing imagery at 1-minute intervals — Infrared images during the period 0705-1200 UTC are shown below. The crescent-shaped area of “bow shock wave” ripples persisted, due to the robust and dense volcanic cloud acting as an obstacle to the easterly winds within the stratosphere.  The 1-minute imaging was also able to capture the brief pulse of an overshooting top which exhibited an infrared brightness temperature of -105.18ºC (which could be a record cold cloud-top temperature, as sensed from a geostationary satellite — see this blog post).  

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

VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi-NPP, viewed using RealEarth (below), also showed the region of cloud-top gravity waves (with minimal parallax compared to GOES-17) .  

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

 

GOES-17 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) Time Difference images (credit: Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/ASPB) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Propagation of the volcanic shock wave across the Pacific Ocean could be followed in GOES-17 (GOES-West) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) Time Difference images (above). As the shock wave continued to propagate farther eastward across North/South America and then the Atlantic Ocean, the wave front could be seen in GOES-16 (GOES-East) Water Vapor Time Difference images (below). As the shock wave moved across southern Wisconsin, a brief rise/fall couplet in surface air pressure just prior to 1500 UTC (9:00 am CDT) was evident in plots from the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences building rooftop tower (as well as the personal weather station of the author of this blog post).

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) Time Difference images (credit: Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/ASPB) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Typhoon Tiffany makes landfall in Australia

January 9th, 2022 |

JMA Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

JMA Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed Tropical Cyclone Tiffany as it made landfall along the eastern coast of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia on 09 January 2022. [UPDATE: just prior to making landfall around 0130 UTC on 10 January, Tiffany intensified to a Category 1 typhoon (JTWC discussion)].

A longer animation of Himawari-8 Infrared (10.4 µm) images (below) revealed pulses of overshooting tops which exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures in the -90 to -95°C range.

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared (10.4 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

A stepped sequence of zoomed-in Suomi-NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) images at 1517 UTC, viewed using RealEarth (below) showed a few red pixels — which highlighted cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of -100°C or colder.   

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) image at 1517 UTC [click to enlarge]

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) imagery from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed convection wrapping around a very small eye feature at 1905 UTC.

DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

Himawari-8 Infrared images with contours of deep-layer wind shear (below) indicated that Tiffany was moving through an environment of light to moderate shear. 

JMA Himawari-8 Infrared images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

Eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano

December 19th, 2021 |

Ash Height product [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha?apai volcano in Tonga violently erupted around 2030 UTC on 19 December 2021 — a radiometrically-retrieved Ash Height product from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (using JMA Himawari-8 data) indicated that ash was ejected as high as 16-18 km.

Ash Loading was very high within the volcanic cloud, with particles having a large Ash Effective Radius (below).

Ash Loading product [click to play animated GIF | MP4]


Ash Effective Radius product [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

In GOES-17 (GOES-East) Ash RGB images created using Geo2Grid (below), brighter shades of yellow indicated that significant concentrations of SO2 were present within the volcanic cloud — while shades of red supported the presence of ash.

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

GOES-17 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (below) clearly showed the expansion of the glaciated volcanic cloud (brighter shades of orange).

GOES-17 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (credit: Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/ASPB) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (below) indicated that the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were in the -80 to -89C range (shades of violet).

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

Super Typhoon Rai

December 18th, 2021 |

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

For the second time during its life cycle, Typhoon Rai reached Category 5 intensity (ADT | SATCON) east of Vietnam during the 18-19 December 2021 period. JMA Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of -90C and colder at times around the eye.

 VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi-NPP as viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a more detailed view of Rai around the time that it reached Category 5 intensity.

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

3 days earlier, Rai first reached reached Category 5 intensity at 0000 UTC on 16 December, shortly before making landfall in the Philippines; 2.5-minute Himawari-8 Infrared images (below) revealed a small-diameter “pinhole” eye. As Rai moved across the Philippines, it was responsible for hundreds of fatalities in addition to widespread flooding and power outages.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]