Oil refinery fire in Venezuela

April 25th, 2020 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images created using Geo2Grid (above) revealed the large, dark smoke plume resulting from a fire — likely at the Muelle Bachaquero Oil & Natural Gas Company (Google maps) — along the eastern shore of Lake Maracaibo in far northwestern Venezuela on 25 April 2020. Other features apparent in the imagery were persistent pyrocumulus clouds over the fire source, and the bright appearance of solar reflection off surface oil slicks caught within a counterclockwise gyre in the middle of the lake (similar solar reflection was seen off the Deepwater Horizon oil slick, as documented here and here).

VIIRS True Color RGB images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 as viewed using RealEarth (below) indicated that the leading edge of the dark smoke plume had drifted westward across the Venezuela/Colombia border after 18 UTC.

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

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

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) showed the thermal anomaly or fire “hot spot” (small cluster of dark black pixels), which first appeared at 1100 UTC.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (credit: Tim Schmit, ASPB/CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]