SQF Complex fires in California

September 3rd, 2020 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the dense smoke plume and thermal anomalies (clusters of yellow to red to black pixels) associated with the SQF Complex of wildfires that had been burning since 24 August. Also evident in the Visible imagery was the presence of brighter white pyrocumulus clouds that persisted for several hours over the source region of one of the hotter fires — in fact, this fire complex included the Castle Fire which produced a pyrocumulonimbus cloud on 23 August.

As the smoke drifted northward across the San Joaquin Valley, surface visibility at some locations such as Fresno (KFAT) was reduced to 5 miles.

CMORPH Precipitation Data available

September 3rd, 2020 |

Daily CMORPH maps of of daily precipitation, 26 August – 2 September 2020 (Click to enlarge)

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Morphing (CMORPH) technique produces global estimates of hourly precipitation and those data are available in real time at this website. (Other JPSS/ABI-related flood products are available there as well). CMORPH uses microwave data from Polar Orbiters to estimate rainfall. Infrared information is related to those microwave data estimates, and those infrared data (from ABI, AHI, etc) are used to estimate precipitation during times when microwave observations are not present. This morphing technique is thus different from other morphing techniques for Total Precipitable Water (TPW) such as MIMIC that use model data to move quasi-conserved moisture fields to observational data voids. (Training on MIMIC TPW fields).

Hourly and Daily precipitation totals are available at the website. The animation above shows annual precipitation over the course of 6 days. Daily precipitation on 27 August, for example (link), shows the heavy rain accompanying land-falling Hurricane Laura. In the animation, the rains with that system move north to the mid-Mississippi River before being shunted eastward.

Hourly Precipitation, shown below from 12-15 UTC on 3 September 2020, allows for enhanced situational awareness with respect to heavy (or light) rains.

CMORPH Hourly Precipitation from 1200 – 1559 UTC on 3 September 2020 (Click to enlarge)