Wildfires and blowing dust in New Mexico

May 8th, 2022 |

GOES-17 Fire Temperature RGB (top left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), with GOES-16 Fire Power (bottom left) and Fire Temperature (bottom right) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) Fire Temperature RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) along with 5-minute GOES-16 (GOES-East) Fire Power and Fire Temperature (above) displayed thermal signatures of the Calf Canyon Fire and the Cerra Pelado Fire in northern New Mexico on 08 May 2022. The Fire Temperature and Fire Power derived products are components of the GOES Fire Detection and Characterization Algorithm FDCA.

The northern portion of the Calf Canyon Fire exhibited extreme behavior, with rapid intensification and rates of spread that led to evacuation orders being issued for 2 communities just north of Mora. That part of the fire also exhibited maximum 3.9 µm brightness temperatures of 138.71ºC — which is the saturation temperature of ABI Band 7 detectors — beginning around 1900 UTC.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (below) revealed the dense smoke plumes (pale shades of white) from the the wildfires, in addition to broad plumes of blowing dust (shades of tan) originating in northwestern New Mexico — strong winds across the region aided in the rapid northeastward transport of these aerosols.

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

GOES-16 Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) images (below) include plots of  hourly surface visibility — as the plume of blowing dust (shades of yellow to blue) from northwestern New Mexico was transported northeastward across Colorado, it appears to have played a role in reducing the visibility to as little as 2-3 miles at some locations (although local blowing dust sources may have also contributed to these low visibility values).

GOES-16 Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) images, with hourly surface visibility (miles) plotted in red [click to play animated GIF | MP4]