Actinoform clouds near Hawai’i

June 30th, 2020 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed 3 cyclonically-rotating actinoform cloud structures that were moving west-southwestward toward the Hawaiian Islands on 30 June 2020 (surface analyses).

A closer look at the northernmost actinoform feature showed it moving over Buoy 51000 (located northeast of Hawai’i) around 04 UTC on 01 July — there was somewhat of an increase in 1-minute wind speeds and wind gusts as it approached, but no obvious perturbation was seen in the air pressure (it appeared to have arrived during the typical ~12-hourly drop in pressure).

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A sequence of 3 hourly (at 0010, 0110 and 0210 UTC) panoramic camera views from Buoy 51000 (below) suggested that there were rain showers reaching the ocean surface beneath one of the actinoform’s radial arms at 0210 UTC (GOES-17 Visible image).

Sequence of 3 hourly (at 0010, 0110 and 0210 UTC) panoramic camera views from Buoy 51000 [click to enlarge]

Sequence of 3 hourly panoramic camera views from Buoy 51000, at 0010, 0110 and 0210 UTC [click to enlarge]

True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) VIIRS images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP as visualized using RealEarth (below) provided a detailed view of 2 of the actinoform clouds. The radial arms that comprised the cloud features remained within the marine boundary layer, so they exhibited fairly warm cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures.

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

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

Plots of rawinsonde data from Hilo, Hawai’i (below) indicated that the marine boundary layer was strongly capped by a temperature inversion at an altitude of 1.3-1.5 km (where the air temperature was around +15ºC — which was very close to the minimum cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures exhibited by the actinoform clouds).

Plots of rawinsonde data from Hilo, Hawai'i [click to enlarge]

Plots of rawinsonde data from Hilo, Hawai’i [click to enlarge]

Other examples of actinoform clouds have been shown in May 2019, March 2008, March 2007 and June 1997.

Fog/stratus along the New England coast

July 24th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

The GOES-16 (GOES-East) Total Precipitable Water product (above) showed a northerly/northwesterly flow of tropical moisture toward New England during the day on 24 July 2018, with TPW values in the 1.0 to 1.6 inch range moving toward the region. As this moist air moved over relatively cool water — as indicated by Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature values generally in the 60s F on the previous day (below) — areas of marine boundary layer fog/stratus developed.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product from 23 July [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product from 23 July [click to enlarge]

1-minue Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) revealed interesting patterns in the resulting marine layer fog/stratus — for example, bow shock waves along the eastern edges of Nantucket Island and Cape Cod, and narrow clear swaths to the lee of some of the smaller islands off the coast of Maine.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Fog/stratus over Lake Michigan

June 30th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

As a warm and very humid air mass (surface analyses) moved northward across the relatively cool waters of Lake Michigan on 30 June 2018, GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed complex interactions of the resulting fog/stratus with coastlines and islands — features such as “bow shock waves” and internal reflections of waves off the northern end of the lake could be seen.

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a very detailed view of the fog/stratus structure over the northern end of the lake.

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

The Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product at 1734 UTC (below) showed SST values in the middle 60s to around 70ºF across the southern end of Lake Michigan (the southern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 66ºF), transitioning to SST values around 60ºF mid-lake. The northern lake buoy reported a water temperature of 54ºF — much colder than the surface air dew points that were in the low to middle 70s F, which explained the more widespread coverage of lake fog/stratus farther north.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, with plots of surface and buoy reports [click to enlarge]

GOES-14 in SRSO-R Scanning

May 18th, 2015 |

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible imagery [click to play animation]

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible imagery [click to play animation]

GOES-14 is producing imagery at 1-minute intervals as part of Super-Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSO-R). Sectors that are scanned change each day and are determined by likely weather events. The animation above, in the southwest corner of the Monday May 18 sector shows strong convection over northern Louisiana. (A similar animation in mp4 format is available here (YouTube)) A benefit of 1-minute imagery is that it can capture the entire lifecycle of overshooting tops, cloud-top features that typically form and decay in less than 10 minutes.

GOES-R is scheduled to launch in March 2016. It will have the capability to provide routine 1-minute imagery over mesoscale-sized domains such as those sampled in the next three weeks by GOES-14. Real-time GOES-14 SRSO imagery is available through the SSEC RealEarth web map server and the GOES-14 SRSOR Imagery site.

Rapid Scan Operations allow the eye to distinguish between upper- and lower-level clouds that typically move at different speeds or in different directions. In the animation below (similar mp4 available here), high clouds over western Pennsylvania are moving over dissipating river fog in the central part of the state. Upper level clouds over southern New York are moving southward; low clouds are moving westward behind a back-door cold front: winds at White Plains, Newark, Trenton (and other stations) have all switched to easterly.

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible imagery [click to play animation]

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible imagery [click to play animation]

Another feature of interest was a thin layer of lake fog that was streaming northward across Lake Michigan during the morning hours, as seen in the animation below (also available as an mp4 movie file). Note the appearance of an undular bore propagating southeastward through the northern portion of the fog at the end of the animation; this may have been caused by an internal reflection of the strong southerly flow impinging upon the rugged southern coastline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. According to buoy data and the Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product, Lake Michigan waters were still in the upper 30s to low 40s F — it was the pre-cold-frontal southerly flow of much warmer air with dew point values in the 50s and 60s F that led to the formation of the lake fog.

GOES-14 0.62 um visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-14 0.62 um visible channel images [click to play animation]

Rounds of deep convection persisted over parts of the Gulf Coast states during the day, which can be seen in the sunrise-to-sunset animation of GOES-14 visible images below (also available as an MP4 movie file). In Louisiana, some of these storms produced heavy rainfall and flash flooding, with a few water rescues necessary.

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible channel images (click to play YouTube animation)

GOES-14 0.62 µm visible channel images (click to play YouTube animation)