Flooding in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa

March 15th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (above) revealed widespread river flooding (in the wake of rapid snow melt and heavy rainfall) across parts of southeastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska and western/central Iowa on 15 March 2019. Water and flooded land appear as darkest shades of gray to black on both sets of images —  remaining snow cover also appeared as darker shades on the 1.61 µm imagery. Additional information regarding the flooding is available from NWS Sioux Falls

In a toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images at 1821 UTC (below),1.61 µm imagery showed the darker shades of flooding over a north/south portion of Interstate 29 that was closed from State Highway 34 (west of Glenwood, Iowa) to the Iowa/Missouri border (south of Hamburg, Iowa).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Near-Infrared "Vegetation" (0.86 µm) and "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images; Interstate Highways are plotted in red, while State Highways are plotted in gray [click to enlarge]

Comparisons of Terra MODIS True Color and False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images at 1720 UTC viewed using RealEarth are shown below. In the False color imagery, snow cover appears as lighter shades of cyan, while water appears as darker shades of blue.

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images, centered over eastern Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images, centered near Vermillion, South Dakota [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images, centered near Vermillion, South Dakota [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images, centered near Ames, Iowa [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images, centered near Ames, Iowa [click to enlarge]

===== 16 March Update =====

Landsat-8 False Color image. centered to the east of Sioux City, Iowa [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color image centered to the east of Sioux City, Iowa [click to enlarge]

An overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite at 1706 UTC on 16 March provided 30-meter resolution False Color imagery — 2 sections of the swath are shown above and below. The RealEarth link to interactively view the image is here.

Landsat-8 False Color image. centered to the south of Omaha, Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color image centered to the south of Omaha, Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Closer views centered at the NWS Omaha forecast office (which had to be evacuated due to flooding) and just west of Offutt Air Force Base (about one-third of which was under water) are shown below.

Landsat-8 False Color image. centered at the NWS forecast office in Valley, Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color image centered at the NWS forecast office in Valley, Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color image. centered near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color image centered just west of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska [click to enlarge]



Cyclone Idai makes landfall in Mozambique

March 14th, 2019 |

Meteosat-8 Infrared (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images of Cyclone Idai at 1630 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images of Cyclone Idai at 1630 UTC [click to enlarge]

Cyclone Idai — which had been slowly intensifying over warm water within the Mozambique Channel since 09 March — made landfall as a Category 2 storm along the coast of Mozambique on 14 March 2019 (storm track). A toggle between Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (above) revealed a large and well-defined eye and eyewall structure at 1630 UTC. Idai had been rated at Category 3 intensity during 3 periods of time during its life cycle, most recently at 12 UTC on the day of landfall.

At 1911 UTC, Metop-A ASCAT winds in excess of 60  knots were sampled just west of the eyewall region (below).

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) image, with plots of Metop-A ASCAT winds at 1911 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) image, with plots of Metop-A ASCAT winds at 1911 UTC [click to enlarge]

A comparison of VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP, visualized using RealEarth, is shown below.

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

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

Idai had been moving through an environment of very low deep-layer wind shear — a favorable factor for maintaining its intensity — as shown in an animation of Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images (below).

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images with contours of satellite-derived Deep-Layer Wind Shear valid at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

Meteosat-8 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images with contours of satellite-derived Deep-Layer Wind Shear valid at 18 UTC [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC TC product (below) suggested that Idai might have been in the early stage of an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) just prior to making landfall. This, after completing a separate ERC during the preceding 48 hours.

MIMIC TC morphed microwave imagery [click to enlarge]

MIMIC TC morphed microwave image product [click to enlarge]

The eye of Idal was becoming cloud-filled as it approached the Mozambique coast, as seen on EUMETSAT Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images (below).

Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-8 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images [click to play animation]

A time series of surface data from the port city of Beira FQBR (below) showed deteriorating conditions before observations ceased at 15 UTC.

Surface observation data from Beira, Mozambique [click to enlarge]

Surface observation data from Beira, Mozambique [click to enlarge]


Incidentally, an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite on 11 March provided a 30-meter resolution view of the eye (below), soon after Idai’s first period of rapid intensification to Category 3 strength (SATCON). Surface mesovortices were apparent within the eye.

Landsat-8 False Color image of the eye of Idai on 11 March [click to play a zooming animation]

Landsat-8 False Color image of the eye of Idai on 11 March [click to play a zooming animation]

Flooding from Idai led to hundreds of fatalities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Industrial and ship plumes in supercooled clouds

December 4th, 2018 |

MODIS and VIIRS

MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” BTD images [click to enlarge]

A sequence of nighttime MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) images (above) revealed long plumes (darker shades of red) streaming southwestward for over 200 miles from their industrial point sources in the Mesabi Range of northeastern Minnesota on 03 December 2018.

During the subsequent daytime hours, a comparison of GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) showed signatures of these Mesabi Range plumes along with others emanating from industrial or power plant sources. A few ship tracks were also apparent across Lake Superior.

Particles emitted from the exhaust stacks at power plants and industrial sites (as well as ships) can act as efficient cloud condensation nuclei, which causes the formation of large numbers of supercooled water droplets having a smaller diameter than those found within the adjacent unperturbed supercooled clouds — and these smaller supercooled cloud droplets are better reflectors of incoming solar radiation, thereby appearing brighter in the Near-Infrared and warmer (darker gray) in the Shortwave Infrared images.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

On the following night, another sequence of MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) images (below) highlighted a number of industrial and power plant plumes across Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The curved shape of many of these plumes resulted from boundary layer winds shifting from northerly to westerly as the night progressed.

MODIS and VIIRS "Fog/stratus" BTD images [click to enlarge]

MODIS and VIIRS “Fog/stratus” BTD images [click to enlarge]

During the following daytime hours on 04 December, a comparison of VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed 2 plume types across eastern Nebraska. There were several of the brighter/warmer plumes similar to those noted on the previous day across Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan — but one large plume originating from industrial sites just east of Norfolk (KOFK) had the effect of eroding the supercooled cloud deck via glaciation (initiated by the emission of particles that acted as efficient ice nuclei) and subsequent snowfall. This is similar to the process that creates aircraft “distrails” or “fall streak clouds” as documented here, here and here.

VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared

VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]


Farther to the east over Ohio and Pennsylvania, another example of the 2 plume types was seen (below) — one plume originating from an industrial site near Cleveland was glaciating/eroding the supercooled cloud and producing snowfall, while another bright/warm supercooled droplet plume was moving southeastward from a point source located west of Indiana County Airport KIDI.

The Cleveland plume was captured by an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite, with a False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth providing great detail with 30-meter resolution (below). A small “overshooting top” can even be seen above the industrial site southeast of Cleveland, with the swath of glaciated and eroding cloud extending downwind (to the southeast) from that point.

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Coincidentally, Landsat-8 also captured another example of a glaciating cloud plume downwind of the Flint Hills Oil Refinery south of St. Paul, Minnesota on 03 December (below). The erosion/glaciation of supercooled cloud extended as far south as Albert Lea, Minnesota. Similar to the Cleveland example, a small “overshooting top” was seen directly over the plume point source.

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

===== 08 December Update =====

The effect of this industrial plume glaciating and eroding the supercooled water droplet clouds over northern Indiana was also seen in a comparison of Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (below).

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

===== 09 December Update =====



During the following daytime hours, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed a number of plumes from industrial sites (many of which were likely refineries) streaming southeastward and eastward over the Gulf of Mexico on 09 December. Note the lack of a plume signature in the 10.3 µm imagery.
GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared "Snow/Ice" (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared "Cloud Particle Size" (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Snow cover in the Brooks Range and North Slope of Alaska

September 2nd, 2018 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images on 01 and 02 September [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images on 01 and 02 September [click to enlarge]

A low moved eastward across the Beaufort Sea on 01 September 2018, bringing a cold front southward across the North Slope and Brooks Range in far northern Alaska (surface analyses). A sequence of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (above) showed the clearing of high/cold clouds in the wake of the frontal passage.

The upslope flow of cold air helped to generate accumulating snowfall across that region — prompting a Winter Storm Warning to be issued for the eastern Brooks Range, where 4-8 inches was expected at higher elevations — and some of the resulting snow cover was seen on a Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image at 1415 UTC or 6:15 am local time on 02 September (below). A comparison with the corresponding VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image and Topography is also shown. The darker shades of brown on the topography image correspond to elevations of 6000-8000 feet in the Brooks Range.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Topography images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Topography images [click to enlarge]

Later in the day on 02 September, additional clearing of patchy low clouds revealed more of the snow cover, as seen in a toggle between VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Topography images (below). Supercooled water cloud droplets are efficient reflectors of incoming solar radiation, making patches of low cloud appear darker shades of gray on the Shortwave Infrared image (helping to identify low clouds over snow cover).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Topography images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Topography images [click to enlarge]

At 2124 UTC (or 1:24 pm local time), a 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a more detailed view of a portion of the snow cover. Snow and ice appear as shades of cyan in this type of RGB image — which is created by combining Landsat bands 6 (1.61 µm), 5 (0.865 µm), and 4 (0.655 µm) as Red, Green, and Blue — and numerous small ice floes can also be seen off the coast.

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

On a side note, farther to the west an interesting pattern of contrails was seen in VIIRS Visible and Infrared Window images at 2046 UTC (below). On the Visible image, note that the darker contrail shadows cast onto the surface are displaced about 15 miles to the north (due to the low sun angle); the contrail features exhibited Infrared brightness temperatures of -10 to -15ºC. These contrail patterns were generated by military aircraft performing training exercises: similar features have been noted over California and North Dakota.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A curved portion of one of these contrails was seen on web camera images looking south from Atqasuk (below).