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.

Severe thunderstorms over Wyoming and South Dakota

June 28th, 2020 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images with time-matched plots of SPC Storm Reports (above) displayed clusters of thunderstorms that moved across eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota on 28 June 2020. Numerous overshooting tops were seen, along with cloud-top gravity waves and a couple of Above-Anvil Cirrus Plumes (reference | VISIT training). These storms produced hail as large as 2.25″ in diameter and wind gusts as high as 83 mph.

A longer sequence of GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images that extended for several hours after sunset (below) showed that some overshooting tops exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -70ºC (darker black enhancement).

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

The tropopause temperature in 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Rapid City, SD was -63ºC (below) — so the overshooting tops of -70ºC were likely about 1 km above the local tropopause / equilibrium level.

Plot of rawinsonde data from Rapid City, SD [click to enlarge]

Plot of 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Rapid City, SD [click to enlarge]

Exploring the effects of GOES-17 parallax over Alaska

June 27th, 2020 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and

Topography, GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) displayed the formation of an orographic rotor cloud downwind (north-northeast) of the Kigluaik and Bendeleben Mountains in the Seward Peninsula of Alaska on 27 June 2020. Even though the highest terrain in those mountain ranges was only 3700-4700 feet (1.1-1.4 km), the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures within the rotor cloud feature were around -50 to -51ºC.

A plot of rawinsonde data from Nome (below) showed the strong southwesterly winds that existed within most the troposphere on that day. The tropopause temperatures were around -51ºC at altitudes of 9.4-9.6 km — indicating that these high-altitude rotor clouds were forced by vertically-propagating waves initiated by interaction of the anomalously-strong southerly/southwesterly lower-tropospheric flow with the west-to-east oriented mountain ranges.

Plot of rawinsonde data from Nome, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Plot of rawinsonde data from Nome, Alaska [click to enlarge]

Comparisons of topography and Visible/Infrared images from Suomi NPP and GOES-17 around 1320 UTC and 2140 UTC are shown below. Since there is generally very little parallax offset associated with imagery from polar-orbiting satellites (such as Suomi NPP), the rotor cloud appeared closer to the topography that helped to force development of that cloud feature.

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images around 1320 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images around 1320 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and GOES-17 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images around 1320 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images around 1320 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and GOES-17 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images around 2140 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images around 2140 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and GOES-17 "Clean" Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images around 2140 UTC [click to enlarge]

Topography, Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images around 2140 UTC [click to enlarge]

Plots of GOES-17 parallax correction vectors and displacements (in km) for a 30,00-feet (9.1 km) cloud feature at select points over the Alaska region (from this site) are shown below. For such a cloud feature over the Seward Peninsula, the parallax offset would be about 40 km (25 miles) — which closely corresponded to the offset seen between the GOES-17 and Suomi NPP images shown above.

Plots of GOES-17 parallax correction vectors and displacements (in km) for a 30,000-foot (9.1 km) cloud feature at select points over the Alaska region [click to enlarge]

Plots of GOES-17 parallax correction vectors and displacements (in km) for a 30,000-foot (9.1 km) cloud feature at select points over the Alaska region [click to enlarge]

Ice in Hudson Bay

June 25th, 2020 |

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]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the subtle motion of ice in the southwestern portion of Hudson Bay, Canada on 25 June 2020. A slower version of the animation is available here.

According to the Ice Concentration Departure from Normal map issued by the Canadian Ice Service on 22 June (below), except for the narrow sliver of above-normal nearshore ice, most of the ice coverage and concentration seen on the GOES-16 imagery was normal.

Ice concentration departure from normal [click to enlarge]

Ice concentration departure from normal [click to enlarge]