Using 1-minute GOES-17 imagery to monitor tropical convection near American Samoa

February 21st, 2021 |

GOES-17 Infrared images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed thunderstorms associated with the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) on 21 February 2021. The 3 METAR stations plotted on the imagery are, from left to right, Hihifo Airport, Wallis and Fotuna (NLWW), Apia, Samoa (NSFA) and Pago Pago, American Samoa (NSTU).

In spite of their degraded quality due to GOES-17 ABI Loop Heat Pipe thermal issues (which reaches one of its peaks at the end February), the Infrared images were still helpful in confirming that the primary SPCZ axis was remaining just north of the Samoan islands — and since the NWS Pago Pago office lacks radar coverage, they highlighted the importance of satellite imagery in one of their forecast discussions:

The active South Pacific Convergence zone (SPCZ) is lingering over the Samoan 
island chain, as seen on latest GOES-17 mesoscale this afternoon.
We have a very difficult time with confirming the wind forecast by model data, 
as there are no observations available of the persistent convection brewing 
just off-shore the islands. However, the models coupled with satellite are 
our only tools.

===== 22 February Update =====

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

The Fiji Meteorological Service determined that Tropical Depression 10F formed along the SPCZ  around 00 UTC on 22 February (surface analysis). Shortly after that time, a convective burst developed just east of the disturbance center, which exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -94.3ºC — which indicated a significant overshoot of the Equilibrium Level as analyzed on 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Pago Pago, American Samoa.

GOES-17 Infrared images, with plots of upper-level satellite winds and contours of upper-level convergence [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Infrared images, with plots of upper-level satellite winds and contours of upper-level convergence [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Infrared images with plots of upper-level satellite winds and contours of upper-level convergence (above) and plots of low-level satellite winds and contours of low-level convergence (below) from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site showed that the deep convection developing within the SPCZ was sustained by an environment of favorable kinematic fields. Tropical Depression 10F was also located within a narrow ribbon of relatively low deep-layer wind shear.

GOES-17 Infrared images, with plots of low-level satellite winds and contours of low-level convergence [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Infrared images, with plots of low-level satellite winds and contours of low-level convergence [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC TPW product (below) highlighted the rich tropical moisture within the NW-SE oriented SPCZ.

MIMIC TPW product [click to enlarge]

MIMIC TPW product [click to enlarge]

A closer look at the MIMC TPW product over the Samoan islands at 16 UTC on 22 February is shown below. With such high tropical moisture in place across the region, thunderstorms were producing heavy rainfall and/or wind damage in some of the islands (local storm reports).

MIMC TPW product over the Samoan islands at 16 UTC

MIMC TPW product over the Samoan islands at 16 UTC [click to enlarge]

===== 23 February Update =====

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 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed that as deep convection began to diminish, the low-level circulation center of TD 10F slowly became more exposed as the tropical disturbance weakened — prompting the Fiji Meteorological Service to discontinue classifying feature as a tropical depression as of 2100 UTC on 23 February (below).

Surface analyses at 18 UTC and 21 UTC on 23 February (map time stamps are Fiji local time) [click to enlarge]

Surface analyses at 1800 UTC and 2100 UTC on 23 February (map time stamps are Fiji local time) [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Imagery shows ice cover on Great Lakes

February 20th, 2021 |

Suomi-NPP VIIRS true-color imagery (1843 UTC) and GOES-16 Band 5 (1.61 µm) imagery (1841 UTC) on 20 February 2021 (Click to enlarge)

An uncommon somewhat clear day on 20 February 2021 allowed VIIRS on Suomi-NPP to provide a true-color image of all 5 Great Lakes. The true-color image above is shown in a toggle with GOES-16 “Snow-Ice” Band 5 near-infrared data (1.61 µm) that allows for discrimination between clouds made up of water droplets (bright white) and underlying snow/ice (darker grey).  Much of western Lake Superior shows ice:  highly reflective in the true color imagery and much darker in the snow/ice channel (but not quite as dark as open water).  Lake Superior has about 50% ice coverage (this figure, originally from this website).  Western Lake Michigan shows little ice coverage (except over Green Bay);  ice coverage on Michigan is less than 30%.   Lake Erie is the most ice-covered of the Lakes:  around 80% ice-covered.  Recent northwesterly winds have moved the pack ice away from the northern shore (except for the far western basin).

Ice motion on the Great Lakes

February 19th, 2021 |

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]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) revealed the fracturing of land-fast ice in the far southern portion of Lake Michigan on 19 February 2021. Although the westerly wind speeds were not particularly strong — generally 15-20 knots over water, including Metop ASCAT winds early in the day — these winds in tandem with lake currents were enough to move some of this ice eastward.

Farther to the north over western Lake Superior, 5-minute CONUS sector GOES-16 Visible images (below) also showed a significant amount of ice motion during the day.

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]

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color RGB image viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a more detailed look at the ice structure over western Lake Superior at 1653 UTC. Ice and areas of vegetation-sparse snow cover (rivers, lakes and wildfire burn scars) appear as shades of cyan in the RGB image.

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

===== 20 February Update =====

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]

On 20 February, another look at 1-minute GOES-16 Visible images over southern Lake Michigan (above) indicated that new ice leads were opening up within individual ice floes that had broken free a day earlier.

===== 21 February Update =====

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]

On 21 February, GOES-16 Visible images (above) showed how southerly winds were shifting much the ice in Lake Erie to the north. However, the effects of lake currents on the ice motion were also evident. As mentioned in this blog post, ice coverage on Lake Erie was around 80%.

Eruption of Mount Etna

February 19th, 2021 |

Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (above) showed the signature of a volcanic cloud associated with an eruption of Mount Etna on 19 February 2021. The brighter shades of red/magenta suggested the presence of ash within the volcanic cloud. This was supported by high values of retrieved Ash Loading (below).

Meteosat-11 Ash Loading product [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Ash Loading product [click to play animation | MP4]

A Meteosat-11 Ash Effective Radius Product (below) depicted rather large ash particles, generally in the 14-16 µm range.

Meteosat-11 Ash Effective Radius product [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Ash Effective Radius product [click to play animation | MP4]

A Meteosat-11 Ash Height product (below) showed retrieved values up to 12-13 km (magenta enhancement) for parts of the volcanic cloud.

Meteosat-11 Ash Height product [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 Ash Height product [click to play animation | MP4]

Another version of Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images which use 8.7 µm data (below) revealed shades of green that indicated a higher concentration of SO2 within the southern portion of the volcanic cloud.

Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Meteosat-11 False Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]