Mount St. Helens: June 1980

June 12th, 2020 |

SMS-2

Vis and IR

Visible and Infrared NASA SMS-2 animation on June 13, 1980 between 02:30 and 07:00 UTC. The red square denotes the  approximate location of Mount St. Helens, and the arrows highlight the plumes of the two separate eruptions.  [Click to play mp4]

The main Mount St. Helens eruption was May 18, 1980 — yet there were also later paroxysmal eruptions. Imagery from NASA’s SMS-2 (Synchronous Meteorological Satellite) monitored two more Mount St. Helens eruptions on June 12th (local time), 1980, as shown above. Note that in “UTC-time”, the eruption took place on June 13th. A similar side-by-side SMS-2 visible and infrared animation (without the arrows) is available here (in addition to one without the red location box).

SMS-2 Visible image

NASA SMS-2 visible animation from June 13th (02:00 to 04:00 UTC), 1980. The red square denotes the  approximate location of Mount St. Helens. [Click to play mp4]

A visible band animation without the red square at the location of Mount St. Helens is shown above. The second plume coated Portland (OR) with ash. For more on this case, see Wikipedia and the USGS. Here’s the same loop and image, but without the red location box.

The volcanic ash plume was also evident in the infrared window band, below, but the imagery has fairly coarse spatial (and temporal) resolution compared to today’s GOES-R series ABI (which allows much improved volcanic cloud monitoring). This longer IR loop shows the 2nd plume as well.

IR image

NASA SMS-2 infrared animation from June 13th (02:45 to 04:00 UTC), 1980. The red square denotes the  approximate location of Mount St. Helens. [Click to play mp4]

Swipe between SMS-2 Visible and Infrared bands. Red square notes Mount St. Helens location.

Fade between a SMS-2 Visible and Infrared band.

Note that there is a geolocation offset between the two spectral bands. The satellite times listed are the image scan start times.

GOES-3

The experimental SMS series followed the ATS series, and was a precursor to the operational GOES.

GOES -3 also observed both volcanic ash plumes.

GOES-3 IR

GOES-3 Infrared animation from June 13, 1980. [Click to play mp4]

A slightly longer GOES-3 infrared animation is available here. NASA SMS-2 and NOAA GOES-3 data are via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services.

40th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption

May 18th, 2020 |

GOES-3 Visible (0.65 µm) images at 1545 and 1615 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-3 Visible (0.65 µm) images at 1545 and 1615 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA GOES-3 Visible (0.65 µm) images at 1545 and 1615 UTC (above) showed the volcanic cloud shortly after the explosive eruption of Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980. GOES-3 was decommissioned in 2016.

The corresponding GOES-3 Infrared (11.5 µm) image at 1545 UTC (below) appeared to display a small “enhanced-V” or cold/warm (-65ºC/-47ºC) thermal couplet signature downwind (east) of the volcanic cloud’s overshooting top.

GOES-3 Infrared (11.5 µm) image at 1545 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-3 Infrared (11.5 µm) image at 1545 UTC [click to enlarge]

A comparison of GOES-3 Visible and Infrared images (below) showed that a large portion of the volcanic cloud exhibited IR brightness temperatures of -60ºC or colder (darker red color enhancement) as the feature moved rapidly eastward during the first 10 hours following the eruption.

GOES-3 Visible (0.65 µm, top) and Infrared Window (11.5 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-3 Visible (0.65 µm, top) and Infrared (11.5 µm, bottom) images [click to play animation]

The volcanic cloud was also captured on NASA SMS-2 Visible (0.62 µm) and Infrared (11.6 µm) imagery (below). An animation that cycles through both SMS-2 Visible and Infrared images can be seen here.

NASA SMS 2 Visible (0.62 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 anmation]

NASA SMS-2 Visible (0.62 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 animation]

NASA SMS 2 Infrared (11.6 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 animation]

NASA SMS-2 Infrared (11.6 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 animation]

SMS-2 “Visible/Infrared Sandwich” Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images are shown below.

NASA SMS-2 Visible/Infrared Sandwich RGB images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 animation]

NASA SMS-2 Visible/Infrared Sandwich RGB images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play MP4 animation]

Archived GOES-3 and SMS-2 imagery was provided by SSEC Satellite Data Services.

The monitoring of volcanicashplumes and their attributes have greatly increased from 1980 to today. Moving from qualitative (somewhat after the fact imagery) to quantitative applications (that are much more timely)! Due to the large number of volcanoes, coupled with the increase in satellite observations, satellite observations are key in monitoring the world’s volcanoes for aviation safety and other uses. More on volcanic ash monitoring.

 

VIIRS views volcanic activity at Nishinoshima in the western Pacific

April 27th, 2020 |

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day Night Band Visible (0.70 µm) imagery,  1603 UTC 19 April 2020, Click to enlarge)

Nishinoshima is a small volcanic island (at 27.2471° N, 140.8779° E) about 150 km west of Chichijima.)  Nishinoshima has grown in size over the past decades because of volcanic activity, including activity (apparently accompanied by occasional earthquakes) that started in March 2020.   Day Night Band imagery from NOAA-20, above, (toggled with an annotated image) shows the light from the ongoing volcanic activity on 19 April 2020 (Clean Window Infrared imagery also showed a heat source).  (Day Night Band imagery is also available here, from NASA Worldview)

Many thanks to Brandon Aydlett, WFO Guam, for the imagery.


The toggle below (imagery courtesy William Straka, CIMSS), shows more NOAA-20 VIIRS data from the same NOAA-20 pass:  Day Night Band Imagery, 3.75 µm Shortwave Infrared imagery (Band I04), 1.61 µm near-infrared imagery (Band M10) and 2.26 µm (Band M11)4.05 µm Shortwave Imagery (Band M13), and the VIIRS Active Fire Product.  All show evidence of the hot spot over the volcano.

NOAA-20 VIIRS Imagery at 1607 UTC on 19 April 2020: Day Night Band (0.7 µm) Visible Imagery, I04 Band (3.75 µm Shortwave Infrared), M10 Band (1.61 µm Near Infrared), M11 Band (2.25 µm Near-Infrared), M13 Band (4.05 µm Shortwave Infrared) and the VIIRS Active Fire Product (Click to enlarge)

South Sandwich Islands volcanic and orographic cloud signatures

March 12th, 2020 |

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Even though the South Sandwich Islands are near the limb of the GOES-16 (GOES-East) view, Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) images (above) were able to display a long volcanic plume (brighter shades of white) originating from Mount Michael on Saunders Island during the daylight hours on 12 March 2020. In addition, smaller/shorter volcanic plumes could also be seen originating from a few of the smaller islands just to the north of Saunders Island. The volcanic plumes were more reflective (brighter white) because they were comprised of smaller droplets compared to the expansive stratus/stratocumulus clouds over the South Atlantic Ocean.

The smaller cloud particles of the volcanic plume were also more efficient reflectors of incoming solar radiation, thus appearing warmer (darker shades of gray) in GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below).

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

2 days later, southerly/southwesterly winds interacting with the rugged terrain of the islands created von Kármán vortex streets downwind (north-northeast) of some of the islands (especially Montagu Island, the largest of the South Sandwich chain) — VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP  as visualized using RealEarth (below) provided a detailed view of these vortices.

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

In spite of the lower spatial resolution and large satellite viewing angle, the von Karman vortices could also be seen in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

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

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