Karymsky eruption on Kamchatka

November 3rd, 2021 |
Himawari-8 derived Ash Loading, 0440 – 1230 UTC on 3 November 2021

Imagery from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Monitoring website (link) shows derived Ash loading (above) from the 3 November eruption of Karymsky on the Kamchatka peninsula. The website identified an eruption beginning around 0720 UTC, with an obvious eruptive plume by 0740 UTC. In addition to Ash Loading, shown above, Ash Height (click here for an 8-h mp4 animation) was also derived; a still image from 1110 UTC, below, shows two separate plumes, one around 6 km (indicated by the white arrow), one closer to 10-12 km (indicated by the magenta arrow).

Retrieved Volcanic Ash height, 1110 UTC on 3 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)

In addition to quantitative estimates of ash, Himawari-8 (and GOES-R and GK2A) channels can be combined in RGBs to highlight qualitatitely regions where ash is likely. The animation below (from Scott Bachmeier) shows the Ash RGB. (Click here for a Quick Guide on this RGB)

Himawari-8 Ash RGB Imagery showing the Karymsky Ash Cloud, 0710-1250 UTC 3 November 2021 (click to enlarge)

A tip of the (winter) Hat to Nathan Eckstein, NWS AAWU in Anchorage, for alerting us to this event.

Update: Nate Eckstein sent along the following Himawari imagery time-matched with VIIRS SO2 Index imagery provided by Carl Dierking at GINA. The 1300 UTC RGB imagery suggests that the north (and east, given the projection) side of the plume is rich in ash whereas the southern (and western) part of the plume contains more SO2. The Suomi NPP VIIRS SO2 Index product (more information on that product is here) tells a similar story: most of the SO2 from this eruption is confined to the southwestern portion of the plume.

Himawari-8 RGB products from 1300 UTC on 3 November 2021: Ash RGB (upper left) and SO2 RGB (lower left); a VIIRS SO2 Index image from 1400 UTC on 3 November 2021. (click to enlarge)

Imagery from later (0050 UTC on 4 November), below, tells a similar story. The SO2 aspect of the plume can be detected in the False Color Imagery below in the upper left — the region of bright yellow to the south of the arcing red feature that is the ash cloud. Ash/Dust Cloud Height (below, bottom left) keys in on that arced feature, and the SO2-rich feature is mostly ignored in the figure. In contrast, the SO2 index product, below on the right, from NOAA-20 VIIRS data at 0050 UTC, shows a strong signal of SO2 — but the arcing ash cloud is barely apparent!

Himawari-8 False Color Imagery, upper left, at 0050 UTC on 4 November 2021; Himawari-8 Derived Ash/Dust Height Product, lower left, also at 0500 UTC on 4 November 2021 (both images from https://volcano.ssec.wisc.edu); NOAA-20 VIIRS SO2 Index, 0500 UTC on 4 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)

Eruption of Manam in Papua New Guinea

October 19th, 2021 |

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

The Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupted around 2200 UTC on 19 October 2021. JMA Himawari-8 True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed lower- to middle-altitude ash clouds (shades of tan to brown) moving westward and northward, while the main eruptive cloud — composed of a mixture of ash, SO2 and ice particles — spread out at high altitudes to the east and north. (Side note: brief flashes of sun glint off some of the island rivers were also seen.)  

Retrieved values of Ash Height from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (below) indicated that the Manam eruption cloud reached maximum altitudes within the 16-18 km range. 

Himawari-8 Ash Height [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Kompasu skirts to the north of Luzon

October 11th, 2021 |
Himawari-8 clean window infrared (band 13, 10.4 µm) imagery, 0232 – 1502 UTC on 11 October 2021

Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu moved westward just north of the island of Luzon in the Philippines on 11 October. The Himawari-8 Target Sector clean window infrared (Band 13, 10.4 µm) imagery, above, from 0232 – 1502 UTC (Imagery courtesy JMA; imagery available here), shows deep convection becoming more organized as the storm center moved.

Moderate wind shear that had been affecting Kompasu slowly relaxed in the 24 hours before the storm moved north of Luzon, as shown in the wind shear tendency map shown below (imagery obtained from this link at the CIMSS Tropical Website). Shear over/around the storm has been relaxing.

Wind shear tendency, 1500 UTC 10 October 2021 – 1200 UTC 11 October 2021 (click to enlarge)
Wind shear over the western Pacific, 1200 UTC 10 October – 1200 UTC 11 October 2021 (Click to enlarge)

Computed shear (imagery also taken from the CIMSS Tropical Website) is shown in the animation above. Wind shear for both animations above is defined here. A relatively small area of favorable wind shear was near the storm center as Kompasu became better organized in the band 13 imagery above.

Scatterometry imagery, below, from various satellite platforms at this site, tracked the system’s motion from 0100 to 1130 UTC on 11 October, as it moved north of Luzon.

Scatterometer imagery from HY-2B and HY-2C, and from ASCAT A, B and C, between 0100 and 1130 UTC on 11 October (2021)

Kompasu is forecast to move due west across the South China Sea in the next days, affecting the island of Hainan on the 13th before 1200 UTC. (Forecast, from JTWC; Here is a similar plot from JMA). Wind shear is not forecast to relax further in the next days so significant stregthening is not forecast.

Meteorologists Monitor Meteor

September 29th, 2021 |

According to the JPL site, there was a bright meteor (or bolide) on September 29, 2021 over the Gulf of Alaska. (The JPL and a similar NASA site are posted under the GLM tab on this link of links.) This event was seen by both the ABI and GLM on NOAA‘s GOES-17, as well as the AHI on Japan’s Himawari-8. What may be unique about his event is that the imagers monitored the meteor soon after it’s explosion, and not just the resulting plume (as was done in this case over Russia in 2013). This is based on the length of the event, during which the various spectral bands displayed a signature and other information.

Peak Brightness DatePeak Brightness Time (UT)Latitude (deg.)Longitude (deg.)Altitude (km)Total Radiated Energy (J)Calculated Total Impact Energy (kt)
2021-09-29 10:50:5953.9N148.0W2813.7e100.4

Entry from table via the JPL site.


The GLM and ABI observed this event, but given it’s faster readout, the GLM offers much more information than the ABI. The apparent location of the meteor as seen by the ABI is different than the reported location, in part due to parallax. More on the concept of parallax is available here.

Animation of GOES-17 ABI band 12 (9.6 mirometer) mesoscale sector #2 on September 29, 2021.

Hotter brightness temperatures can be seen in the GOES-17 ABI band 12 at 10:50:59 UTC.

Animation of all 16 bands of the GOES-17 imager on September 29, 2021. Note band 12.

Indicative of a short duration event, coupled with how the ABI scans, the meteor signature was only clearly seen at one time in nearly every ABI spectral band (although possibly the ABI band 11 as well). Due to the layout of the focal plane array on the ABI, not all spectral bands observe the Earth at the precisely same time. [Figure a modification from the GOES-R Series Data Book.] A similar loop as above, but as an animated gif, is available here. In addition,. while a bit hard to see, the longwave split window infrared difference also showed a subtle signature of the meteor.

Spectral difference images (over time) can also be useful in the monitoring of meteors. An ABI 10.3 – 12.3 micrometer band difference is shown below. An shortwave minus longwave difference loop.

An animation of the GOES-17 difference image between ABI 10.3 – 12.3 micrometer bands. The brightness temperature range is -5 to +5K.

The GLM on GOES-17 also observed this event. A similar loop as below, but as an animated gif, is available.

ABI band 12 and the GLM Flash Event Group density on September 29, 2021. Credit: CIRA/RAMMB Slider.

The rapid movement of the meteor to the south is clearly evident. As well as the GLM group map and the key (blue is early times and red is later times).

GOES-17 GLM meteor location over time and space on September 29, 2021 with larger circles (color coded to intensity). Credit: Todd Beltracchi.

As well as the changes over time, most likely monitoring the meteor break-ups.

GOES-17 GLM meteor over time on September 29, 2021. Credit: Todd Beltracchi.

More on the GLM’s light curves from NASA AMES.


Both the ABI and Japan’s AHI scan space around the edge of the Earth. However, with the ABI data the process of making calibrated, navigated, and remapped radiance only pixels located on the Earth are included in the Level 1b radiance files. Hence, the ABI may scan meteors in space, but the data are not available to most users.

All 16 spectral bands from Himawari-8 AHI at the same nominal time (10:50 UTC) on September 29, 2021.

A similar loop as above, but as an animated gif, is available here (and an 8-panel AHI image at this same time is available here). This example helps to illustrate that each AHI detector doesn’t sense radiation from the same exact location at the same time.


NOAA GOES17 data were accessed via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services. McIDAS-X and Geo2Grid was used to generate imagery. Thanks also to Todd Beltracchi and Scott Bachmeier, and to CIRA/RAMMB Slider images/movies.