Transverse banding over California

February 4th, 2020 |

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm) images (above) displayed widespread “transverse banding” — elongated cirrus elements oriented perpendicular to the ambient jet stream flow — that was migrating southward across California on 04 February 2020. This satellite signature is an indicator of potential turbulence, which in this case did indeed result in several pilot reports of light to moderate turbulence.

One of the pilot reports over Salinas, California at 2150 UTC (below) indicated Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) at an altitude of 30,000 feet — this suggests that the aircraft might have been flying just above or below the actual cirrus bands.

GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) image with a pilot report of Clear Air Turbulence at 2150 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) image with a pilot report of Clear Air Turbulence at 2150 UTC [click to enlarge]