Category Archives: VIIRS

Cyclone Numa in the Mediterranean Sea

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images, viewed using RealEarth (above), revealed the well-defined eye structure of Cyclone Numa over the Ionian Sea (between Italy and Greece) on 18 November 2017. Tracing its origin back to the remnants of Tropical Storm Rina (track), Cyclone Numa had acquired subtropical characteristics on this day, making it a relatively rare Medicane.

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 High Resolution Visible (0.8 µm) images (below) showed the evolution of the storm on 18 November. Plots of hourly surface reports (in metric units) are plotted on the images.

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.8 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Visible (0.8 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images (below) showed cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures around -60ºC (darker red enhancement) associated with some of the convective bursts during the 18-19 November period, as the system eventually moved inland across Greece.

Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Meteosat-10 Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Satellite signatures of the JPSS-1 launch

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image [click to enlarge]

The JPSS-1 satellite was successfully launched at 0947 UTC (1:47 AM local time) on 18 November 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (Spaceflight Now). A Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image about 22 minutes prior to launch (above; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed light emitted by the launch facility as well as nearby cites and offshore buoys.

A comparison of 3 consecutive images of GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 mm) data (below) revealed the thermal signature of the launch rocket booster engines at 0947 UTC (just west of the California coast). The hot thermal signature is brighter white on the Near-Infrared images, and darker gray on the Shortwave Infrared image. Nearby 09 UTC surface observations are also plotted (KVBG = Vandenberg AFB).

GOES-16 Near-Infrared

GOES-16 Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, left), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, center) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 mm, right) images, with plots of surface observations [click to enlarge]

Since the GOES-16 Water Vapor bands — Lower-level 7.3 µm, Mid-level 6.9 µm and Upper-level 6.2 µm —  are essentially Infrared bands (which sense the mean temperature of a layer of moisture), a warm thermal signature was evident on all three of the 0947 UTC images (below).

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with plots of surface reports [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images, with plots of surface reports [click to enlarge]

Read about SSEC scientists’ efforts to calibrate and validate CrIS and VIIRS on JPSS-1 here.

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

Strong storm off the Pacific Northwest coast

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

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

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

Nighttime images  of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) data (above) showed an occluded extratropical cyclone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest at 1050 UTC or 3:50 AM local time on 13 November 2017. This system was producing storm force winds offshore.

A GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector had been positioned over that region, providing imagery at 1-minute intervals — the structure and evolution of the storm could be seen using Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor imagery (below).

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm, left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, center) and Upper-level (6.2 µm, right) Water Vapor images [click to play MP4 animation]

A more detailed view was provided by GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below), with hourly wind gusts plotted in yellow. Peak wind gusts as high as 89 mph were reported within the Seattle and Portland County Warning Areas.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly wind gusts plotted in yellow [click yo play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly wind gusts plotted in yellow [click yo play MP4 animation]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2038 UTC or 1:38 PM local time (below) showed a curved cloud band with embedded convective elements moving inland over western Washington and Vancouver Island. Note that the VIIRS instrument will also fly on the JPSS series of satellites.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Deadly Smog in India and Pakistan

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day Night Band Visible Imagery (0.70 µm) at Night, 05, 07 and 08 November 2017 (Click to enlarge).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible Imagery at Night (the Day Night Band Visible Image (0.7 µm) from 5 November, 7 November and 8 November), above, and Infrared Channel Brightness Temperature Difference  (11.45 µm – 3.9 µm) on 5 November, 7 November and 8 November), below, both show the presence of fog/smog over northern Pakistan and northwestern India from 05-08 November 2017 (Suomi NPP VIIRS Imagery courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS). The Smog led the Government of Punjab to ban burning of stubble; schools in Delhi were closed.  Vehicle crashes linked to reduced visibilities have killed at least 10 people (source).  Air Quality in the region is very poor as shown in this Screen Grab from this site.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared channel Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.9 µm) on 05, 07, and 08 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

An animation of Meteosat-8 Visible Imagery, below, from 03-09 November, shows little improvement in conditions in the past week.

Meteosat-8 Visible Imagery (0.6 µm) at 0300 UTC from 03 to 09 November 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from RealEarth, below, showed the areal coverage of the smog during the 03-09 November period. Surface observations at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport indicated that the visibility remained below one statute mile — with zero visibility at times — during the 72-hour period spanning 07 November, 08 November and 09 November (animation).

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images (click to enlarge)

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images (click to enlarge)

Worth noting on a nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Difference (11.45-3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images, below, was the appearance of a cloud shadow being cast by moonlight onto the top of the boundary layer smog/fog.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Difference (11.45-3.74 µm) and Dat/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Difference (11.45-3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Lake/river effect clouds in North Dakota

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, bottom) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

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

As cold arctic air continued to move eastward across North Dakota on 07 November 2017, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (above) showed “lake effect” cloud plumes streaming east-northeastward from Lake Sakakawea (and also from Missouri River). The Snow/Ice images were the most useful for discriminating between supercooled water droplet cloud plumes (brighter shades of white) and the surrounding snow-covered land surfaces (darker shades of gray).

During the preceding nighttime hours, Suomi NPP VIIRS and Aqua MODIS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images (below) — the legacy “fog/stratus product” — revealed that the orientation of the Lake Sakakawea cloud plume changed as surface winds switched from northwesterly to westerly.

Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm = 3.74 µm) and Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm - 3.7 µm) [click to enlarge]

Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images from Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm = 3.74 µm) and Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm – 3.7 µm) [click to enlarge]

The Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product (below) indicated that the water in Lake Sakakawea was as warm as 47.9ºF (darker green enhancement) — significantly warmer than the surface air passing over it, which was generally in the 5 to 15ºF range.

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

The large cloud plume from Lake Sakakawea was also very evident on GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (below). Farther to the east, smaller and shorter-lived cloud plumes could also be seen originating from Devils Lake (along the Benson/Ramsey county line) and Stump Lake (in Nelson county).

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

Taking a closer look at the Lake Sakakawea area, the brighter signature of steam plumes rising from power plants located south and southeast of the lake (2 in Mercer county, and 1 in McLean county) could be spotted on the Day Snow-Fog RGB images (below).

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

GOES-16 Day Snow-Fog RGB images [click to animate]

Due to the low sun angle and the snow-covered land surface, morning shadows from these rising steam plumes could be seen on GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible images [click to animate]

Special thanks to Carl Jones (NWS Grand Forks) for bringing this case to our attention, and supplying the AWIPS RGB and Visible images at the bottom of the blog post.

 

Severe weather across Indiana and Ohio

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red (on Visible images) and black (on Infrared images) [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red (on Visible images) and black (on Infrared images) [click to play MP4 animation]

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

An outbreak of severe weather occurred across the Midwestern US on 05 November 2017, with a number of tornadoes (including a 39-mile long track EF-2 tornado) in Indiana and Ohio. A GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector provided imagery at 1-minute intervals during this event — “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) with plots of SPC storm reports (T=tornado; W=damaging winds; H=hail) showed the development and motion of the severe thunderstorms. The locations of the plotted SPC storm reports have been parallax-corrected upward from the surface, to match a mean storm-top height of 10 km.

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed a snapshot of the storm at 1803 UTC. SPC storm reports within about  +/- 30 minutes of the image time are also plotted. The coldest storm-top infrared brightness temperatures were -71ºC (black enhancement), over southern and eastern Indiana. The VIIRS instrument will also fly on the JPSS series of satellites.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

One interesting aspect seen on 1806 UTC Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm) imagery (below) was the signature of strong subsidence (darker blue enhancement) immediately upwind — along the western edge — of the 2 larger areas of severe convection. Once again, SPC storm reports within about +/- 30 minutes of the image time are plotted.

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Infrared Window (11.0 µm) and Water Vapor (6.7 µm) images, with SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Infrared Window (11.0 µm) and Water Vapor (6.7 µm) images, with SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Additional information on this event can be found on the Satellite Liaison Blog, as well as the NWS forecast offices at Indianapolis IN, Northern IN, and Wilmington OH.

Power Outages in the wake of a strong Nor’easter

Suomi NPP Day Night Band Visible Imagery (0.70 µm) on 4 October 2017 (2:43 AM EST) and on 30 October 2017 (2:38 AM EST) (Click to enlarge)

The toggle above includes nocturnal visible Suomi NPP VIIRS  Day Night Band (0.7 µm) imagery over New England after a strong storm (blogged here), compared with a reference image from 04 October 2017.  The primary nighttime light source for the Day Night Band over land on 31 October was cities (since the Moon was below the horizon), thus a comparison between the latest image with one earlier in the month having different lunar illumination (from October 4th) highlights regions that experienced significant power outages due to high winds.  Clouds will affect the interpretation of the Day Night Band imagery, and a reference Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image from 31 October at 2:38 AM EST is here.  The Day Night Band image with only cloud outlines is here.  (VIIRS imagery courtesy of Will Straka, CIMSS).

Dissipation of nocturnal valley fog across New England

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

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

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

With high pressure dominating across the region during the pre-dawn nighttime hours (surface analyses), strong radiational cooling (minimum temperatures) aided in the formation of widespread valley fog across New England on 28 October 2017.  Post-sunrise GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images revealed the areal extent of the valley fog; however, fog dissipation was fairly rapid during the morning hours as surface heating from abundant sunlight promoted sufficient boundary layer mixing.

During the preceding nighttime hours, development of widespread valley fog could be seen on Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images (below) — although surface fog features were obscured at times by patchy cirrus clouds aloft (black enhancement). This example demonstrates that because of the wide (3000 km) scan swath of the VIIRS instrument, in many cases the same region might be sampled by 2 consecutive overpasses. VIIRS will also be part of the instrument payload on the upcoming JPSS series of polar-orbiting satellites.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Super Typhoon Lan in the West Pacific

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) plot for Typhoon Lan [click to enlarge]

Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) plot for Typhoon Lan [click to enlarge]

A plot of the Advanced Dvorak Technique for Typhoon Lan (above) showed that the tropical cyclone underwent a period of rapid intensification during the 00-12 UTC period on 20 October 2017.

A 24-hour animation of Himawari-8 rapid-scan (2.5 minute interval) Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (below) revealed the development of a very large eye during the 20 October/06 UTC to 21 October/06 UTC period.

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1700 UTC or 2:00 AM kocal time (below; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS/SSEC) provided a good visualization of the “stadium effect” — an eye that was more narrow at the surface, with a larger diameter at higher altitudes. A packet of mesospheric airglow waves (reference) was also evident on the Day/Night Band image, propagating south-southeastward away from the eye.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A 2-panel comparison of Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) showed the eye of Lan after it attained Super Typhoon status at 18 UTC on 20 October. Mesovortices could  be seen within the eye on the rapid-scan images.

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Himawari-8 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A large amount of moisture was associated with this tropical cyclone, as depicted by hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) — note the large area with TPW values of 70 mm or greater (light violet color enhancement).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

A TPW value of 72.5 mm (2.87 inches) was derived from the Minamidaitojima, Japan rawinsonde data at 12 UTC on 21 October (below). Minamidaitojima is the largest island in the Daito Islands group southeast of Okinawa, Japan  — this station was just to the northeast of Lan around 12 UTC.

Rawinsonde data from Minamidaitojima, Japan [click to enlarge]

Rawinsonde data from Minamidaitojima, Japan [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]