Prescribed burns across the central US

April 2nd, 2021 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Every Spring season, many states conduct prescribed burns as a part of land management within forests, parks, wetlands etc — and GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed a large number of smoke plumes associated with prescribed burning across parts of the central US on 02 April 2021.

Of particular interest was a very long smoke plume that was seen streaming northward across southern Lake Michigan — a closer view using GOES-16 True Color RGB images centered over that area (below) indicated that 2 separate plumes merged into one larger/longer smoke plume that continued to drift north-northeastward toward the west coast of Lower Michigan. The source of these smoke plumes was the combination of a small prescribed burn and a larger wildfire within the Indiana Dunes National Park near the coast of Lake Michigan.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images (below) provided a more detailed view of the smoke plume over far southern Lake Michigan, as well as thermal anomalies (clusters of hot pixels) associated with the industrial sites producing the smoke.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The pair of 1-minute GOES-16 Mesoscale Domain Sectors was positioned to cover the northern and southern portions of the central US  — and a small overlap of the sectors provided 30-second imagery over the Nebraska/Kansas border area. 30-second GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB images (below) offered a qualitative view of the locations and relative intensities of a few prescribed burns in the southwestern portion of Nebraska.

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Metal recycling center fire in La Crosse, Wisconsin

April 2nd, 2021 |
GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the thermal anomaly (cluster of darker red pixels) associated with a fire at a metal recycling plant in La Crosse, Wisconsin — located at the center of the images — on 02 April 2021. According to media reports, over 100 vehicles were burning at the facility. Farther to the south, a few thermal signatures of prescribed burns were seen in northeastern Iowa.

A brief smoke plume was produced by the recycling center fire, as shown in GOES-16 True Color RGB images (below), which drifted north-northeastward. Smoke plumes from the prescribed burns were also evident.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A time series plot of surface weather conditions at La Crosse Regional Airport (below) showed the strong southerly winds gusting to 27 knots around the time of the fire, which transported the smoke plumes northward.

Time series plot of surface weather conditions at La Crosse Regional Airport [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface weather conditions at La Crosse Regional Airport [click to enlarge]

Early Spring over the Great Lakes

April 2nd, 2021 |

True-Color imagery derived from VIIRS on board NOAA-20 at 1824 UTC on 2 April 2021 (Click to enlarge)

VIIRS data from the ascending NOAA-20 overpass on 2 April 2021 — with data downloaded at the Direct Broadcast site at UW-Madison — showed predominantly clear skies over the Great Lakes.  Lake ice is confined to bays on the north shore of Lake Superior, and a hint of green appears over southeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern Ohio.  A larger version of this image is available here, for about a week.  VIIRS imagery is routinely available from all recent overpasses and can be viewed here.

Thunderstorms northeast of Guam

April 2nd, 2021 |

Himawari-8 Band 13 Clean Window infrared imagery (10.41 µm) from 2300 UTC on 1 April through 1100 UTC 2 April (Click to enlarge)

The animation above shows Himawari full-disk imagery from 2300 UTC on 1 April through 1140 UTC on 2 April and depicts a cluster of thunderstorms over the Pacific Ocean far to the northeast of Guam.  A particular challenge in diagnosing atmospheric events over the open Pacific is the lack of data.  In this case, a timely NOAA-20 overpass (around 0300 UTC), below, allowed for the use of NOAA-Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS) profiles to describe the atmosphere in and around this ongoing convection.

NOAA-20 NUCAPS Sounding Availability points, 0300 UTC on 2 April 2020 (click to enlarge)

The toggles below shows Total totals index and Tropopause heights over the Pacific Ocean around Guam and northeastward over the developing convection.  Modest instability surrounds the convective cluster (TT values from 40-44);  somewhat more unstable air (TT > 46) is diagnosed to the northwest of the convection.   Tropopause heights surrounding the convection are high, around 200 mb.  Much lower tropopause heights are diagnosed over the northern part of the domain, and the more unstable TT values are in a region where the tropopause height is sloping.

HImawari-8 Clean Window infrared imagery (10.41 µm) overlain with NUCAPS-derived Total Totals indices (with and without labels) at 0312 UTC on 2 April 2021 (click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 Clean Window infrared imagery (10.41 µm) overlain with NUCAPS-derived estimates of tropopause heights, 0312 UTC on 2 April 2021 (Click to enlarge)


Himawari-8 infrared (Clean Window, 10.41 µm) imagery and NUCAPS-derived lapse rates, 925-700 mb, 0312 UTC on 2 April 2021

NUCAPS can also show you lapse rates within the atmosphere.  It is important when viewing lapse rates to consider that the vertical resolution of NUCAPS profiles is typically not greater than 10 layers within the tropopause.  The toggle above shows lapse rates from 925-700 mb; lapse rates from 850-500 mb are shown below. These domains are is a bit larger than the domain used in showing the tropopause height and Total Totals index above.  The 925-700 mb lapse rates show two regions:  relatively weak stability, with lapse rates around 5 or 6 C/km south of 30 N Latitude, and much stronger stability (Lapse rates closer to 3 C / km ) north of that latitude, to the east of Japan.

The 850-500 mb lapse rates similarly show two general regions:  not as stable south of 30 N, much more stable east of Japan.  There is a more concentrated region of lower stability, however, along the leading edge of the sloped tropopause, at 850-500 mb compared to 925-700 mb, and the 850-500 mb values show larger lapse rates in the air to the east of Japan.  This toggle shows the 925-700 and 850-500 mb lapse rates directly.

Himawari-8 infrared (Clean Window, 10.41 µm) imagery and NUCAPS-derived lapse rates, 850-500 mb, 0312 UTC on 2 April 2021

 


This region of the Pacific Ocean is scanned by both the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) on JMA’s Himawari-8 satellite and the similar Advanced Meteorological Imager (AMI) on KMA’s GK2A satellite.  The animation below combines visible imagery from the two satellites at 0100, 0110, 0230 and 0400 UTC to create a pseudostereocopic image of the convection.

Himawari-8 (left) and GK2A (right) visible imagery (0.64 µm) at 0100, 0110, 0230 and 0400 UTC 2 April (Click to enlarge)


Developing (and ongoing) thunderstorms are usually locations of turbulence. The CIMSS Turbulence product, shown below for the region from 0000 UTC to 0350 UTC, and available online here, does show elevated turbulence probabilities over the convection (located over the western part of the domain shown below).

Turbulence probability plotted on top of Himawari-8 grey-scale water vapor imagery, 0000 – 0350 UTC on 2 April 2021 (Click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 imagery in this blog post courtesy of JMA; GK2A imagery in the blog post courtesy of KMA. Thanks to Brandon Aydlett, WFO Guam, for alerting us to this interesting case.