Category Archives: Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images

An RGB computed using the GOES-16 Cirrus Channel

Cloud Type RGB at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

Red-Green-Blue (RGB) Composite Images are a handy way of showing information from multiple satellite bands (or band differences) at once. The image above shows an RGB created by NOAA Scientist Andy Heidinger that uses the GOES-16 Visible Band (0.64 µm) as the green component, Snow-Ice Band (1.61 µm) as the blue component and Cirrus Band (1.38 µm) as the red component to tease out information about Cloud Type.  The Cirrus Channel (unique to GOES-16 as far as Geostationary Satellites are concerned) is a handy channel to use in an RGB because it discriminates very well between high clouds and low clouds.  In a moist environment, low clouds are not apparent at all in the Cirrus Band.  The toggle below shows the Visible, Snow/Ice and Cirrus Channels at 1502 UTC.  Low clouds over Kansas have no signal in the Cirrus channel — there are other differences as well, of course.

In the RGB, Thin cirrus clouds (for example, the contrails over Illinois) are red, opaque ice clouds (over the western Atlantic) are yellow (having a contribution from both Red and Green Components), Low Clouds (over the southern Plains) are Cyan (having a contribution from Blue and Green), snow is Green, and lofted water clouds are white (having a contribution from all three). As the atmosphere dries, the amount of lofting necessary for the Cirrus channel to view a cloud composed of water droplets (and therefore white in the RGB) decreases.

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Snow/Ice (1.61 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Cirrus Channels (1.38 µm) (Click to enlarge)

The Day Land Cloud RGB (sometimes called ‘Natural Color’) can also be used to estimate cloud type. The toggle below shows how the Cloud Type RGB has more gradations between ice cloud type because of the use of the Cirrus Channel.  The Cloud Type RGB also highlights the contrails and thin cirrus more effectively, again because of the use of the Cirrus Channel

Cloud Type RGB (1.38 µm, 0.64 µm, 1.61 µm) and Day/Land/Cloud RGB (1.61 µm, 0.86 µm, 0.64 µm), 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

 

Three toggles below show the Snow/Ice and Visible and Cirrus channels zoomed in over Illinois (where contrails are present), over the western Atlantic (where strong convection is occurring) and over the southwestern United States.

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 Imagery at 1502 UTC on 3 November 2017: Cirrus Channel (1.38 µm), Visible (0.64 µm) and Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 also has a Baseline Product that shows Cloud Type. That is shown below. The 1502 UTC Image was incomplete, so the 1507 UTC image is shown.

GOES-16 Cloud Phase, Baseline Product, 1507 UTC on 3 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Ex-hurricane Ophelia over Ireland and the United Kingdom

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (6.25 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

After reaching Category 3 intensity over the eastern Atlantic Ocean on 14 October, Hurricane Ophelia (storm track) rapidly underwent transition to an extratropical storm which eventually spread high winds across much of Ireland and the United Kingdom on 16 October 2017. EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 upper-level Water Vapor (6.25 µm) (above) and lower-level Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images (below) revealed the familiar “scorpion tail” signature of a sting jet (reference). Hourly wind gusts (in knots) from primary reporting stations are plotted in red.

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Water Vapor (7.35 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Two sites with notable wind gusts were Cork, Ireland (67 knots at 0930 UTC) and Valley, UK (70 knots at 1500 UT), shown below. In fact, a wind gust of 103 knots (119 mph or 191 km/hour) was reported at the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse off the southwest coast of Ireland.

Time series plot of surface data from Cork, Ireland [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Cork, Ireland [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Valley, United Kingdom [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Valley, United Kingdom [click to enlarge]

———————————————————————————-

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

In a toggle between Terra MODIS (overpass time around 1159 UTC) and Aqua MODIS (overpass time around 1345 UTC) true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) imagery (above), a somewhat hazy appearance was seen over the Irish Sea on the Terra MODIS image. This was due to an airborne plume of sand from the Sahara Desert (UK Met Office story).

In fact, blowing sand was observed about 3 hours later at Isle of Man, from 1520-1620 UTC — during that time period their surface winds gusted to 68 knots (78 mph), and surface visibility was reduced to 2.2 miles (below).

Time series plot of surface data from Isle of Man [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface data from Isle of Man [click to enlarge]

Wildfires in Northern California

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with county outlines plotted in gray (dashed) and surface station identifiers plotted in white [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with county outlines plotted in gray (dashed) and surface station identifiers plotted in white [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the “hot spot” signatures (black to yellow to red pixels) associated with numerous wildfires that began to burn in Northern California’s Napa County around 0442 UTC on 09 October 2017 (9:42 PM local time on 08 October). A strong easterly to northeasterly Diablo wind (gusts) along with dry fuels led to extreme fire behavior, with many of the fires quickly exhibiting very hot infrared brightness temperature values and growing in size at an explosive rate (reportedly burning 80,000 acres in 18 hours).

A comparison of nighttime GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (below) offered another example of nocturnal fire signature identification — the bright glow of the fires showed up well on the 1-km resolution 1.61 µm imagery. Especially noteworthy was the very rapid southwestward run of the Tubbs Fire, which eventually moved just south of station identifier KSTS (Santa Rosa Sonoma County Airport; the city of Santa Rosa is located about 5 miles southeast of the airport. These Northern California fires have resulted in numerous fatalities, destroyed at least 3500 homes and businesses, and forced large-scale evacuations (media story).

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, left) and Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A toggle between 1007 UTC (3:07 AM local time) Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) provided a view of the fires at an even higher spatial resolution. Since the Moon was in the Waning Gibbous phase (at 82% of Full), it provided ample illumination to highlight the dense smoke plumes drifting west-southwestward over the adjacent offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A closer VIIRS image comparison (with county outlines) is shown below.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from RealEarth (below) helped to discriminate between smoke and cloud features offshore over the Pacific Ocean.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

===== 10 October Update =====
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]

With the switch to southwesterly surface winds on 10 October, smoke plumes could be seen moving northeastward on RealEarth VIIRS true-color imagery, while the burn scars of a number of the larger fires became apparent on VIIRS false-color RGB imagery (above).

===== 11 October Update =====

Landsat-8 false-color RGB images, from 04 October (before the Tubbs Fire) and 11 October (after the Tubbs Fire) [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color RGB images, from 04 October (before the Tubbs Fire) and 11 October (after the Tubbs Fire) [click to enlarge]

A toggle (above)  between 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color RGB images from 04 October (before the Tubbs Fire) and 11 October (after the Tubbs Fire) showed the size of the fire burn scar (shades of brown) which extended southwestward from the fire source region into Santa Rosa.

===== 12 October Update =====
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, with VIIRS-detected fire locations [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, with VIIRS-detected fire locations [click to enlarge]

A transition back to northerly winds on 12 October helped to transport the wildfire smoke far southward over the Pacific Ocean (above). Smoke was reducing surface visibility and adversely affecting air quality at locations such as San Francisco (below).

Time series plot of surface observations at San Francisco International Airport [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface observations at San Francisco International Airport [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Aerosol Optical Depth values were very high — at or near 1.0 — within portions of the dense smoke plume (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image and Aerosol Optical Depth product [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB image and Aerosol Optical Depth product [click to enlarge]

Increase in Gulf of Mexico water turbidity in the wake of Hurricane Irma

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images on 07 September and 11 September [click to enlarge]ep

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images on 07 September (before Irma) and 11 September (after Irma) revealed a marked increase in turbidity of the shallow Continental Shelf waters off the coast of southern/southwestern Florida and the Florida Keys. Irma moved through that region on 10 September as a Category 3 hurricane — and even though the center of Irma moved northward off/along the west coast of Florida (with a wind gust to 75 mph at Key West) , the strongest winds were recorded along/near the east coast of Florida: wind gusts to 92 mph and 109 mph and 142 mph — stirring up particulates within the shallow Continental Shelf waters.

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

Large-scale (CONUS) VIIRS true-color before-Irma and after-Irma images are available here and here. Note that the cloud shield of Irma had expanded as far westward as Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma on 12 September ( GOES-16 true-color images) — in addition to large areas of dense smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest (blog post) which was drifting eastward across the northern US.

Widespread Smoke in the Pacific Northwest

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

Dry weather over the Pacific Northwest (and over Idaho and Montana) has created an ideal environment lately for wildfires, and much of the region is shrouded in smoke from those fires as shown in the Suomi NPP True Color Imagery, above, from this site.  Note the red points that are Suomi-NPP-detected fires; they persist from day to day, and some grow in size during the course of the animation. GOES-16 Animations of True Color (in this case, the CIMSS Natural True Color product that is created using Bands 1, 2 and 3 (0.47 µm, 0.64 µm and 0.86 µm, respectively)), below, (also available here; a similar product from CIRA is available here), show the pall of smoke as well. Air Quality Alerts from the National Weather Service were widespread on 6 September.

CIMSS Natural True Color, every 15 minutes, from 1400-2130 UTC on 6 September 2017 (Click to animate)

GOES-16 has multiple channels and products that can view both the Smoke and the Fires that produce the smoke. In addition to the visible imagery, Fire Products, below, can characterize the Temperature, Power (in megawatts) and area (in square meters) of the fire detected by GOES-16.  On this day, clouds over the fires in Oregon mean that satellite detection is challenged, even though the by-product, smoke, is apparent.  Fires over Idaho are readily apparent however.  These fires were also detected by the 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared channel on GOES-16, the traditional fire-detection channel (used in concert with 10.3 µm, the clean window channel).  Imagery at 1.6 µm and 2.2 µm imagery can also be used to highlight hot fires;  that will be the subject of a future blog post.

GOES-16 Fire Products: Fire Temperature, Fire Power and Fire Area, 2037 UTC on 6 September 2017 (Click to enlarge)

 

The mp4 animation, below, shows CIMSS Natural True Color over the Full Disk on 5 September 2017.  The Full Disk View allows a better visualization of how the smoke is moving (and underscores how widespread it is) — and it shows Hurricane Irma as well.

CIMSS Natural True Color, every 15 minutes, on 5 September 2017 (Click to animate)

 

NOAA creates many Smoke-related products, some of which are easily accessible at this link.

Hurricane Irma in the eastern Atlantic Ocean

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (Click to enlarge)

A toggle between nighttime images of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) data at 0347 UTC (courtesy of William Straka, SSEC/CIMSS) showed a high-resolution view of the eye of Category 3 Hurricane Irma.

 

Toggle of CIMSS True Color, GOES-16 Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) field, and GOES-16 Dust RGB Product, 1315 UTC on 1 September 2017 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 data (ABI and GLM) posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

The animation above cycles through imagery from 1315 UTC on 1 September, showing CIMSS GOES-16 True Color Imagery, The GOES-16 Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm), and the GOES-16 Dust RGB (Red-Green-Blue) Product. The Split Window Difference field highlights moist air (bright red in the enhancement) to the south of Irma, and also dryer air (blue in the color enhancement), to the north. The Saharan Air Analysis, below, from the CIMSS Tropical Weather Website, corroborates the placement of the dry air to the north of Irma, and Total Precipitable Water estimates (from here) also show dry air. This dry air could influence further strengthening of the storm in the short term.

Saharan Air Layer analysis on 01 September 2017 (Click to animate)

Irma is near the eastern edge of the GLM Domain for GOES-16 in the central Test position at 89.5 W Longitude; the animation below, with GLM Group information (every 10 minutes) over ABI Band 13 (10.3 µm, every 30 minutes from the Full Disk Domain), shows little lightning near the center of Irma on 30/31 August. Lightning was more active on 1 September.

GOES-16 ABI “Clean Window” 10.3 µm Infrared Imagery, every half hour, with GLM Group Data plotted in 10-minute increments from 0000 UTC on 30 September through 1200 UTC on 1 September 2017 (Click to animate)

Satellite trends with Irma show the development of an eye structure, as seen below in the screen capture from the GOES-13 Floater (source) at 1745 UTC, and DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) at 1829 UTC on 1 September.

GOES-13 10.7 µm Infrared Imagery, 1745 UTC, 1 September 2017 (Click to enlarge)

The evolution of the eye is also apparent in the GOES-16 Visible Imagery (0.64 µm), below, from 1315-1815 UTC on 1 September 2017.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery, 1315-1815 UTC, 1 September 2017 (Click to animate)

For more information on Irma, consult the webpages of the National Hurricane Center or the CIMSS Tropical Weather Website.

Total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017 – a satellite perspective

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing*

GOES-16 CONUS Sector images (at 5-minute intervals)

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

During the total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017,  the lunar umbra was evident on imagery from the GOES-16  0.5 km resolution (at satellite sub-point) “Red” Visible band (0.64 µm) (above) and 1.0 km resolution Near-Infrared “Vegetation” band (0.86 µm) (below).

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) images [click to play animation]

The shadow was also prominent in other Visible and Near-Infrared bands, as shown in a 4-panel comparison of GOES-16 “Blue” Visible (0.47 µm, upper left), “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, upper right), “Vegetation” (0.86 µm, lower left) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, lower right) images (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Blue” Visible (0.47 µm, upper left), “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, upper right), “Vegetation” (0.86 µm, lower left) and “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, lower right) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC Geostationary Satellite site (below) showed another view of the shadow. A GOES-16 Full-Disk true-color animation (courtesy of  Kaba Bah, CIMSS) is available here.

GOES-16 true-color RGB images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 true-color RGB images [click to play animation]

The 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared band is also sensitive to reflected solar radiation — particularly that which is reflected from land surfaces and cloud tops composed of small spherical supercooled water droplets (and to a lesser extent, small ice crystals) — which causes this band to sense warmer (darker gray to black) brightness temperatures compared to the other ABI infrared bands. Therefore, a loss of sunlight within the eclipse shadow will lead to cooling (lighter shades of gray) 3.9 µm brightness temperatures (below).

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

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

Taking a closer look at eastern Missouri and southern Illinois as the solar eclipse shadow was passing over that region shortly after 1800 UTC (1:00 pm local time), GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) revealed that the pronounced decrease of incoming solar radiation appeared to temporarily suppressed the development of widespread boundary layer cumulus clouds. Note that increase in hourly surface temperatures was also halted, with some locations even experiencing a slight cooling (1-3 ºF) due to reduction of heating within the lunar umbra.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) also showed a slight cooling — seen as a lighter shade of red enhancement — across the region.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector images (at 1-minute intervals)

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images, with station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

1-minute GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A “floating” Mesoscale Sector provided 1-minute imagery during the eclipse (above).

Polar-orbiting satellite images (Terra MODIS, and Suomi NPP VIIRS)

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm). Land Surface Temperature product, Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Land Surface Temperature product, Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Land Surface Temperature product, Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (above) showed the eclipse shadow as it was centered over western Nebraska around 1748 UTC. Without a time series of MODIS Land Surface Temperature product images, it is difficult to gauge the exact amount of surface cooling brought about within the shadow of totality. A large-scale high resolution Terra MODIS Visible image is available here (courtesy of Liam Gumley, SSEC).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (above) showed the shadow center over eastern Tennessee around 1833 UTC. A closer comparison of Day/Night Band and Infrared images (below) revealed the  presence of cloud features that made it difficult to see a signature of any city lights that may have come on in the Nashville TN (KBNA) metropolitan area.

Suomi NPP VIIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Canadian wildfire smoke over Quebec, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

Filaments of smoke aloft from Canadian wildfires were evident in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Cirrus (1.37 µm) imagery (above; also available as a 24 Mbyte animated GIF) on 17 August 2017, drifting cyclonically eastward over Quebec, Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. The appearance of the smoke signature on Cirrus images was due to the fact that this spectral band is useful for detecting features composed of particles that are efficient scatterers of light (such as cirrus cloud ice crystals, airborne dust or volcanic ash, and in this case, smoke).

A comparison of GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and Cirrus (1.37 µm) images (below; also available as a 21 Mbyte animated GIF) demonstrated that no smoke signature was seen on the infrared images (since smoke is effectively transparent at infrared wavelengths).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm, top) and Cirrus (1.37 µm, bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A more upstream view of the smoke feature was provided by a comparison of  Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1626 UTC (below). Again, note the lack of a smoke signature in the Infrared image.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Cirrus (1.375 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Depending on the altitude of these smoke filament features, daily composites of  Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images covering the 5-day period of 12 August17 August (below) suggest that their source was either widespread fires in the Northwest Territories, or intense fires in British Columbia (which included pyroCb that injected smoke to very high altitudes).

Suomi NPP VIIRS daily true-color images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS daily true-color images [click to enlarge]

Pyrocumulonimbus clouds in British Columbia, Canada

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing*

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) along with “Red” Visible and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the formation of 3 pyrocumulonimbus( pyroCb) clouds late in the evening on 12 August 2017, within the cluster of ongoing intense wildfires in British Columbia, Canada.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A toggle between NOAA-18 AVHRR Visible (0.63 µm), Near-Infrared (0.86 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images is shown below. The coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature was -70º C (associated with the northernmost pyroCb).

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

NOAA-18 Visible (0.63 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Longwave Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station plots in yellow [click to enlarge]

In a daytime Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (from RealEarth) with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red (below), a very large pall of exceptionally-dense smoke from the BC fires could be seen drifting northward as far as the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to enlarge]

The Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index (AI) product (below; courtesy of Colin Seftor, SSAI) displayed AI values as high as 17.18 within the thick BC fire smoke pall.

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index [click to enlarge]

===== 13 August Update =====

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP OMPS Aerosol Index product [click to enlarge]

On 13 August, a maximum OMPS AI value of 39.91 was seen at around 21:13 UTC over the Northwest Territories of Canada (above) — according to Colin Seftor and Mike Fromm (NRL), this value surpassed the highest pyroCb-related AI value ever measured by TOMS or OMI (whose period of record began in 1979).

The north-northeastward transport of BC fire smoke — as well as a prominent increase in smoke from fires across northern Canada and the Prairies — was evident in an animation of daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 07-13 August (below).

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image composites (07-13 August), with VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red [click to play animation]

Wildfire burning in Greenland

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above; a zoomed-in version is available here) displayed a subtle hazy signature of a smoke plume along with an intermittent “hot spot” (darker black pixels) associated with  a small fire — located near the center of the cyan circle — that was burning close to the southwest coast of Greenland on 01 August 2017. The approximate latitude/longitude coordinates of the fire were 67.87º N / 51.48º W, a location about halfway between Ilulissat (station identifier BGJN) and Kangerlussuaq (station identifier BGSF) and about halfway between the western edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the west coast .

Closer views using daily composites of 250-meter resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images (from 30 July to 04 August), sourced from RealEarth (below) indicated that the fire may have started close to 1540 UTC on 31 July — when a small white smoke and/or cloud feature (just north of the cursor) was seen at the fire source location on the Terra image (overpass time). The Aqua overpass time was around 1600 UTC.

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Similar daily composite RGB images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (31 July to 04 August) are shown below. Note that the initial fire signature was not seen on the 31 May VIIRS image, due to the earlier overpass time  (1513 UTC) of the Suomi NPP satellite.

Daily composites Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images,.from 31 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images,.from 31 July to 04 August [click to enlarge]

On 03 August, a 1507 UTC overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite provided a 30-meter resolution Operational Land Imager (OLI) false-color RGB image of the fire (below). This was the same day that a pilot took photos of the fire, as reported on the Wildfire Today site.

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

A comparison of one “before” (27 July) and two “after” (03 and 05 August) Landsat-8 OLI false-color RGB images (below) showed differences in smoke plume transport as the wind direction changed.

Landsat-8 false-color images on 27 July, 03 August and 05 August [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 27 July, 03 August and 05 August [click to enlarge]

It is possible that this “natural fire” is similar to the Smoking Hills type of spontaneous combustion that has been observed in the Canadian Arctic (thanks to Ray Hoff, retired UMBC Professor of Physics, for that tip).

Credit to Mark Ruminski (NOAA/NESDIS) for first bringing this interesting event to our attention.

===== 09 August Update =====

The animations of daily Terra and Aqua true-color RGB images (below) have been extended to 09 August and 08 August, respectively.

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 09 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Terra MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 09 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 08 August [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, from 30 July to 08 August [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images from 04-09 August (below) include VIIRS-detected fire locations plotted in red. The 09 August image showed that smoke from the fire had drifted west-southwestward over the adjacent offshore waters of Davis Strait.

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, from 04-09 August, with fire detection points plotted in red [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images, from 04-09 August, with fire detection points plotted in red [click to enlarge]

===== 12 August Update =====

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 03, 05 and 12 August [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 OLI false-color images on 03, 05 and 12 August [click to enlarge]

Another overpass of Landsat-8 on 12 August provided a glimpse of the fire burn scar, which appeared as a darker hue of reddish-brown. Note that the fire had burned eastward to the coast, during a day when stronger westerly winds prevailed.

Related sites:

NASA Earth Observatory

NPR

ESA Space in Images

AGU EOS