Friday, August 18, 2017

Upcoming Solar Eclipse on August 21st

I don't normally write about celestial events here on this blog, but I am making an exception with the upcoming solar eclipse in the US on August 21st. As a child I was living in Massachusetts, and in the summer of 1963 I do recall seeing what I was told was a solar eclipse. Someone told me, probably my Dad, that the moon would be blocking the sun during the day. It turns out that the solar eclipse that I witnessed that afternoon was not a total solar eclipse, but a partial solar eclipse, more information on that eclipse may be found here. Still as a child, I was awestruck by what I saw.

I am hoping to be at or near an area where the total solar eclipse may be seen on Monday, August 21st. See the map. I'll let you know what I see or don't see. I was fortunate enough to find a few pairs of reputable eclipse viewers from a local store before they ran out. Looking at the eclipse with reputable eclipse viewers can cause blindness, please be safe, please don't be fooled by counterfeit products. Our eclipse viewers are from American Paper Optics, meeting ISO 12312-2 international safety standards for eclipse viewers. These are paper, and I will use them under my eyeglasses. For other tips on viewing the eclipse safely, go to this NASA page.

The National Weather Service has a webpage where you may find out about weather conditions and other facts about the upcoming eclipse, see this NWS website for more information.

A map from NASA of the path of the eclipse and how much of the eclipse you can see over the US and adjoining areas of Canada and Mexico is reproduced below. Some of you might be interested in NASA's explanation of this mapping along with some other products and some history here. NASA's entry page to eclipse mapping is found on this NASA webpage.


Obtained on August 16, 2017 from https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4518
If you will be driving around the time of the eclipse, please be safe and follow the suggestions in this Time Magazine article. Allow extra time to get to your observation spot if you are going to somewhere in the path of totality and arrive early!

NASA's entry page to the 2017 eclipse may be found here with links to oodles of information. I suspect that many newspapers have coverage of the eclipse. I'll leave you to your own devices to find coverage in your favorite media outlet, but here is a nice page on the eclipse from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Space dot com has a list of live streams covering the eclipse available here. NASA will have a livestream of the eclipse on Monday with a variety of ways you can stream the eclipse, including facebook, smart phone apps, and NASA TV, the entry page for NASA's eclipse live stream is hereNASA has a page with some apps that you may choose from to watch the eclipse on your tablet or smartphone. Finally NASA has a nice press release about the eclipse and some viewing options that was posted on June 21, 2017.

For those of you who are home during the day and want to watch the eclipse from your living roomI think, but am not sure that the Weather Channel, ABC and the Science Channel are among those networks that will be broadcasting about the eclipse. I don't know how many of you will have the Science Channel but I think that most basic cable and satellite packages include an ABC affiliate as well as the Weather Channel. You might want to check your local listings to verify this and to see about other live eclipse coverage where you live.

The links on this page may only be live up to the day of the eclipse. So, I suspect that some of these links will be no good after the eclipse has passed. However, I'll try to post something about the eclipse, a video and other stories after the eclipse has passed.

On Monday, I will post links to what I hope for where you can go for live streams of the eclipse.






Wednesday, August 16, 2017

IMET deployments - early to mid August 2017

It continues to be a busy wildfire season, The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) issued a National Preparedness Level 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5) on August 10th for about four days. As I write this on August 16, the National Preparedness Level is at level 4, still high but not as high as it was. For those of you who are curious, and want to see the current National Preparedness Level, you will want to visit this NIFC page. Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) continue to work wildfires, monitoring weather conditions on their assigned wildfires and conducting briefs to name but a few things that they do. As you can see from the Facebook Post embedded below, IMETs issue lightning alerts.




Here are some recent IMET deployments. IMETS work onsite on their assigned wildfire for up to two weeks. As required a new IMET will be rotated in as an IMET finishes their deployment.

IMET Trainee
Deployed on August 8th


August 4th



August 6th







August 8th

Monday, August 14, 2017

Stories from survivors of the 2003 Cedar Fire (San Diego County CA)

The Cedar Fire, driven by Santa Anna winds burned over 280,000 acres in San Diego County California in late October/early November of 2003. In the first 24 hours something like 100,000 acres had burned. Fifteen people died including one firefighter. 2,232 residences were destroyed, 22 commercial buildings and 566 outbuildings were destroyed. The wildfire was human caused by a lost hunter setting a signal fire.

The Cedar Fire occurred some five years before I got interested in learning about wildland fires and blogging about what I was learning. Memory can be a funny thing, but I am pretty certain that I remember hearing about this wildfire through newspaper and other media accounts.

A friend of mine and retired wildland firefighter suggested that I read a book about this wildfire, The Fire Outside my Window: A Survivor Tells the True Story About the Epic Cedar Fire, by Sharon Millers Younger. I bought the Kindle edition last night.

I was looking for something to watch on TV last night (Sunday, August 13th) and came across a preview for NBC's Dateline Survivor. The show's title was "Inferno" and the description told me that I would hear survivors of the 2003 Cedar Fire tell there stories. Not all stories have happy endings, one family tells of the death of their young daughter. I watched "Inferno" with interest because of my wildland firefighters recommendation of Sharon Millers Younger's book. It turned out that Ms. Younger and her husband were among those who told their stories about surviving the Cedar Fire.

I watched the show with interest because it gave me a view of the experience of surviving an epic fire such as the Cedar Fire. A view that I don't ordinarily get to see. Not a comfortable show to watch, but important for me to watch. I have a lot to think about, and expect that I will have more to think about after I read Younger's book. The two hour shows focuses mainly on the stories of some of the survivors of the Cedar Fire. If you want an analysis or after action report of the wildfire, this is not the show for you.

For those who are interested, here is a link to an NBC site with what I think is the full edition of "Inferno". Note that you will have to disable your ad blocker, if you have one. I had difficulty disabling the ad blocker on Fire Fox but was able to disable my ad blocker on both Chrome and Safari on my Apple Mac. I don't know how long NBC will have this show online for free viewing. I don't know how long the NBC I linked to will have the full edition of "Inferno" on their website. If Dateline NBC has uploaded the show to their Youtube channel (NBC Dateline), I can not find it.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Remembering my friends in Florida and a bad year for wildfires

I came across two videos about the 2017 fire season in Florida. I'd like to thank my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page who post new fire videos each week,  your shared both of these videos in recent weeks.

Many of you know that I have a special place in my heart for Florida. I am glad that you have good wildland firefighters, on the ground and in the air who work to keep you safe.


Direct link to video


Direct link to video

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Update: GOES-16 Field Campaign

Sometime on or about March 22, 2017, GOES-16 began a two month period of field testing to calibrate the GOES-16 instrumentation. During this period high altitude planes, unmanned space systems (drones), the international space station, and other satellites were used. The expertise of a variety of personnel were used including but not limited to satellite engineers, meteorologists, and pilots. I wrote an earlier article on this field campaign, including a video, on June 19th.

You might be interested in three articles from the NOAA Satellite and Information Service plus a Flicker page with some still photos:
The latest GOES-R (aka GOES-16) quarterly newsletter with links to archives may be found here, you may also find links to factsheets and a GOES-R overview on that page.

The field Campaign was completed on May 17, 2017 (see p 3 of the 2nd Quarter 2017GOES R (aka GOES-16) Newsletter). The folk at the GOES-16 Field Campaign released a six-minute on June 27th providing more details on what was involved in the field campaign including some images of the earth taken from NOAA's U2 plane used in the field campaign. I think that you will enjoy this video, I know that I did. I found the video on this page on GOES-R dot gov, with a grid showing other videos on the GOES-R/16 mission.


Direct link to video

Monday, August 07, 2017

CAL FIRE may be getting close to a contract for Black Hawk Helicopters

For awhile now, I was wondering if it might soon be time for CAL FIRE to replace their Super Huey helicopters. So, I was very interested to read Bill Gabbert’s August 3rd  article that CAL FIRE is in the process of completing a contract with Air Methods/United Rotorcraft for the Sikorsky S-701 Black Hawk Helicopter. If this comes to fruition, CAL FIRE will replace their Super Hueys with Black Hawks. There is more that has to happen before the deal is finalized, Bill writes:
Before the contract is signed other bidders have the opportunity to protest the award. If one is filed, the final decision will be made by a neutral administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings. … 
“Even after a contract is awarded”, Chief Pimlott said yesterday, “the number and timing of the State’s orders will be determined on a year-by-year basis. The contract does not commit the State to any specific number of purchases or delivery schedule.”

An August 3rd article in Vertical Magazine by Elan Head offers some details about CAL FIRE’s Request for Proposal:
According to its request for proposal (RFP), Cal Fire anticipates acquiring 12 aircraft over a five-year period. However, as actual purchase rates and quantities may vary, the five-year contract will include an option to extend the contract for up to three additional one-year periods.
You may want to read both articles referenced here for more information, and a couple of photos.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Time for more Helos (Aug 2017 edition)

Regular readers may recall that when I love helicopters, and that I had a good friend who is now flying in favorable tail winds. Matt, I share these helicopter videos in your memory. May you rest in peace. I know that you are smiling on all firefighting helicopters.


Direct link to video


Direct link to video


Direct link to video

Thursday, August 03, 2017

A look inside an Airtanker courtesy of a Tanker Captain

I was checking out yesterday's (August 2nd) Wildfire News of the Day from Mike Archer when I came upon an article with a video on Inside an Airtanker from KDRV Newswatch 12 out of Medford Oregon. In this video you will Captain Ron Minter of Neptune Aviation talk about the demands of being a Tanker pilot. Captain Minter and his co-pilot have had a long season, flying since February 28, 2017. They get one day off a week, at where ever their current base is.

Captain Minter and his co-pilot were flying the Modoc July Complex (just south of the Oregon-California border at the time of the KDRV report, based at Medford (OR) Airtanker Base. Medford was very busy at the time of this report. You might recall that a NWS Incident Meteorologist (IMET) Trainee was deployed to the Modoc July Complex on July 31st. As I write this, the Modoc July Complex has burned 73,735 acres and is at 35% containment. Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has written about the Modoc July Complex, go to his August 2nd article with links to his earlier articles for more information. You might also be interested in KDRV's August 2nd article on the Modoc July Complex (with a couple of photos).

I could not get the embed code that KDRV supplied with the video to work, I am sorry. That happens sometimes. Here is a direct link to the two-minute video from KDRV, I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to watch the video.



Wednesday, August 02, 2017

More IMET trainees deployed to wildfires

Several days ago I wrote about Incident Meteorologist (IMET) Trainees with the help of my friends at the US National Weather Service IMET Facebook page, see my July 21st post for more information on IMET training. I was perusing the IMET Facebook page just now to see what is going on when I saw that three IMET trainees have been deployed to three different wildfires since July 31st. I wish all these IMET trainees deployed to these three fires as well as other IMET trainees not currently deployed safe wishes as you complete your task books under the guidance of an experienced IMET mentor.

IMETs save lives!

On July 31st IMET trainee was enroute to Modoc July Complex; 73,735 acres burned at 35% containment)


On August 1st IMET trainee was enroute to Lolo Peak Fire; 6,302 acres, burned no containment information. Here is a three minute video on Lolo Peak Fire Strategy and Tactics that you might enjoy and another video of an IMET releasing a radiosonde weather balloon last week to collect meteorological data.


On August 2nd, IMET trainee enroute to Sapphire Complex Fire; 12,775 acres at 5% containment


Monday, July 31, 2017

Recent IMET assignments

Our Incident Meteorologists are busy on fires of varying sizes, here are some recent IMET assignments

Orleans Complex 1,222 acres burned, no information on containment, IMET on way to fire on July 27th


Bruner Mountain Fire 469 acres burned, 65% containment, IMET on way to fire on July 29th


Diamond Creek Fire 5,005 acres burned, 10% containment, IMET on way to fire on July 30th


Minerva Fire 1,050 acres burned, 15% containment, IMET on way to fire on July 30th


Liberty Fire 1843 acres burned, no information on containment, IMET on way to fire on July 31st


Whitewater Fire 127 acres burned, 40% containment, IMET on way to fire on July 31st

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wildfire Documentary - Inmate wildland fire crews working So CA wildfires

Enjoy this documentary from Chris Terril as he joins an inmate wildland firefighting crew known as the "Good Bad Guys" fight wildfires in southern California. This is (or was) done with the cooperation of CAL FIRE and the California Department of Corrections. Some of the footage is from 2008. The video is one of a number of documentaries available on the Real Stories Channel on Youtube. Allow 45 minutes to watch the video. Thanks to my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page for sharing this video.



Direct link to video

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Boucher Hill Fire Tower - San Diego County CA

Enjoy this video from ABC10 in San Diego about the recently reopened Boucher Hill Fire Tower in Palomar Mountain State Park in southern California. This is one of three recently reopened Fire Towers in the area.



Direct link to video from ABC10

Monday, July 24, 2017

Penn Swamp Fire NJ, Burlington County NJ

I wrote last Friday about a major wildfire that was then burning in a remote area of Wharton State Forest in Burlington County, NJ. To contain the wildfire the New Jersey Forest Fire Service crews did a large burn out operations that resulted in the wildfire growing to 3,500 acres. The fire was 100 percent contained on Saturday, July 22nd. However, fires continue burn in the interior, and may continue to burn for the next few days. Here is some information on the Penn Swamp Fire reported on July 23rd by my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire page:

Crews completed a large burn-out operation achieving 100% containment at about 3,500 acres on 07/22/ Interior pockets of vegetation will continue to burn over the next several days. Crews will continue to monitor control lines. 
Batso Village has reopened to visitors but some trails remain closed.
New Jersey Advance Media reported on this fire on July 23rd.

The Penn Swamp Fire may be the largest wildfire that has burned in New Jersey in ten years, see this article from NJ Advance Media for more information.

It did rain last night, July 23rd into July 24th, I don't know what effect the rains had on helping firefighters to manage the interior sections of the fire that may still be burning. I'd imagine that the rains helped.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Major Fire in Pine Barrens, Burlington County NJ

July 21, 4:59 PM

Only now just learning of a major wildfire, known as the Penn Swamp Wildfire,  that is currently burning in Washington Township NJ (NJ Forest Fire Service Section B2). According to the latest update (July 21st at 4:30 PM) from my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page the fire is in a remote area of the Pine Barrens with no access. Fire reported by Batso Fire Tower about 1:20 EDT on Thursday, July 20th.

Crews are performing a large burn-out operation to accomplish containment which will increase the fire size to near 3,500 acres. Currently the fire is about 2,800 acres with 60 percent containment being reported. I found an article with some videos from 6ABC in Philadelphia and another article from NJ Advance Media (updated on July 21st at 2:40 PM).

Here is some nice footage (no sound) from CBS Philly.



Direct link to video


July 21 8:15 PM



Direct link to video

IMET trainees

About a month ago I was perusing the National Weather Service IMET Facebook Page looking for recent postings of IMETs (incident meteorologists) working wildfires and other news affecting IMETs when I came across a couple of posts about IMET trainees on their way to wildfires. See for example the post below.



I wanted to know more about IMET trainees so I wrote a Facebook Message to the NWS IMET staff (in Boise Idaho) who are responsible for their NWS IMET Facebook Page. I have corresponded with them before via Facebook so they knew about my blog. I sent the NWS IMETs a Facebook message them asking them if they could share a little about the IMET training program. This is their response:
IMET training: NWS meteorologists start out their careers as interns and take numerous training courses in forecasting, satellite, radar, etc. After 4 years or so they can become Journey level forecasters (aka General Forecasters). Once they reach the Journey level, and if there are openings in the IMET program, they can volunteer for an IMET position. Once accepted they go through another 250 hours of training, learning everything from meso and micro scale meteorology, weather in different locations across the nation (everything from the mountains in the west to sea breeze interactions in the east), fire behavior training and fire safety. They then go on a minimum of 2 training fires where they complete a taskbook that spells out all the duties they must be capable of doing on a wildland fire incident. Once that taskbook and all the training is complete, then their taskbook is certified as complete and they become a qualified IMET. Annually the IMETs take about 20-40 hours of refresher training to keep their skills sharp and brush up on their fire safety.
I was waiting to share this post until I saw recent activity on IMET trainee postings, when I saw the following posting about an IMET trainee on their way to the Missouri Fire currently burning near Yellow Pine, Idaho (date of origin - 7/20/17; 1,194 acres; 5% containment). I wish this IMET trainee luck as h/she works on their taskbook. Stay safe and thanks for what you are doing! IMETs save lives.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Columbia AAB Tanker Ops on Detwiler Fire

I found a nice short video on tanker operations at the Columbia Air Attack Base (CA), while CAL FIRE Tankers 82 and 83 were working the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County - 45,724 acres, 8 structures destroyed, evacuations in place, 7% containment as of July 19, 2017 at 12:30 PM EDT. For those of you who are interested in further coverage of the Detwiler Fire, Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has been covering the fire in this July 19th post.

I had been reading about this wildfire, but my interest was peaked when I came across this July 17th article with video by Giuseppe Ricapito of the Union Democrat. The video was by Maggie Beck with audio by Giuseppe Ricapito. I always enjoy watching and learning more about tanker operations at air attack bases. I hope that you take the time to read the article because there is some information in the article that is not in the video (embedded below).

Ricapito talks about the number of drops made on Monday, July 17th along with some information about flying to the fire (Union Democrat, July 17 2017, Giuseppe Ricapito)
By about 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Air Tankers 82, 83 and 88 (which is stationed out of Grass Valley) had performed 35 retardant drops near the fire site in Mariposa and Jesus Maria Road in Mokelumne Hill. The operations had begun at around 8:30 a.m. Monday, with helicopters deployed to the area not expected to return until evening. The helicopters were not required to return for a refilling of material or fuel, Podesta said, since they could access water at Lake McClure, about two miles from the blaze.  
With around 30 nautical miles to the drop zone, each of the planes has a turnaround time to Columbia Air Attack Base for a fire retardant refilling every 20 to 25 minutes. Every four to five drops, the aircraft would return to the Columbia Air Attack Base for a longer refueling by a mobile Shell jet fuel truck that would pull up alongside the plane on the runway.  
While in the Mariposa area, the air tankers fly at a designated elevation and flight path, dropping the liquid retardant ahead of the movement of the fire. 


Direct link to Union Democrat You Tube video

Monday, July 17, 2017

Campfire safety: cool to touch before you leave

I was online this morning checking for information on the Tongue River Complex that has burned 28,917 acres (90% containment) in the Custer Gallatin National Forest (Montana) when I saw a nice video on their Facebook Page on the proper way to extinguish a campfire.

I was interested in this video because I knew that it had been awhile since I last posted on campfire safety in a post in October 2013. The information in that video is still pertinent as they talk about how to build a safe campfire from checking campfire regulations before you to go to your camping area. selection of the campsite, building a campfire pit, maintaining the campfire, and extinguishing the campfire.

Knowing that campfires are one of the causes of wildfires, I was interested in this video from the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Their Facebook post and video is embedded below. While this short video may be focused for users of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, I think that the instructions on how to safely extinguish a campfire are important. I was probably taught as a youth about the importance of being certain that the campfire was cool to the touch before leaving. It has been many years since I last camped, and perhaps I won't again. If I do, I hope that I remember campfire safety.

The first step in campfire safety is determining before you go to your campsite whether campfires are allowed, so check with your park/forest/campgrounds/local agencies before you go. There is some great information about campfire safety at the Smokey Bear website, including a very nice page on how to maintain and extinguish a campfire.

Friday, July 14, 2017

IMETs on wildfires burning in the western USA

IMETs are working several wildfires currently burning in the western USA, including but not limited to wildfires listed below. If you click on the day of the week in the Facebook posts below you will see the date of the post. Acreage and containment information is current as of 10AM EDT on July 17th. What you see when you click on the link for each fire may differ depending on when you are accessing this page.

Draw Fire (Nevada): 26,872 acres, 70% containment




Rooster Combs Fire (Nevada): 218,380 acres, 71% containment



Brooklyn Fire (Arizona): 32,804 acres, 100% containment 



Tongue River Complex (Montana): 28,957 acres, 80% containment



Whittier Fire (California): 13,199 acres,  52% containment

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More on wildfires burning in the western USA

On July 10th, I wrote about two of the wildfires burning in California (Alamo and Whittier). When I read the New York Times yesterday, I saw two articles (with pictures) about the wildfires burning out west: one article on the wildfires burning in California and the other article on wildfires burning in the Western USA and Canada (with pictures). Wildfires in ArizonaMontana, Nevada and British Columbia Canada to name a few. Here are some of the wildfires currently burning in each area at various stages of containment (acreage and containment information as of July 12th at 2:45 PM EDT).

Arizona
Frye Fire (48,443 acres, 88% containment)
Hilltop Fire (33,826 acres, 75% containment)
Brooklyn Fire (32,804 acres, 85% containment)

Montana
Tongue River Complex (28,684 acres, 55% containment)
Blue Ridge Complex (3,000 acres, no containment)
July Fire (11,174 acres, 70% containment)

Nevada
Roosters Comb (120,000 acres, 15% containment)
Draw Fire (25,249 acres, 60% containment)
Tabor Flats Fire (25,000 acres, 95% containment)

British Columbia, Canada
Gustafsen wildfire (5,000 hectares, estimated or 12, 355 acres, no containment)
Hanceville Fires (10,000 hectares, estimated or 24,711 acres, no containment)
150 Mile House Fire (2,600 hectares, estimated or 6,425 acres, 50% containment)

If you are interested in more photos of the recent wildfires, check out The Weather Channel online as they have 126 photos of the recent wildfires in an article dated July 11th.

Thanks to the ground and air crews and their support staffs for all you are doing to keep us safe. Stay safe!




Monday, July 10, 2017

Alamo and Whittier Fires, Santa Barbara County CA

There have been a number of wildfires burning out west recently keeping ground and aerial crews busy. Two of these fires are the Alamo and the Whittier Fires, both burning near Santa Barbara CA. The Whittier Fire (10,834 acres, 5% containment) has a page on inciweb while the Alamo Fire (23,867 acres, 15% containment) has no inciweb page but has a page on the CAL FIRE incident page. As I understand it, each incident has tankers and helos working the fire to support the ground crews. Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today, doing his usual good job, has been covering the Alamo Fire and the Whittier Fire.

Here is a time lapse image of both wildfires shot over 17.5 hours, uploaded to Youtube


Direct link to video

This is a nice video about how various crews from southern California are cooperating to work the Alamo Fire, and what goes on behind the scenes including animal evacuations.


Direct link to video

Friday, July 07, 2017

Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Over the last several weeks as I was first learning about GOES-16 and then learning about the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification  (WFDN) App, I have gained an appreciation for what the improvements in GOES-16 will bring to weather forecasting when she becomes operational as GOES-East in the Fall of 2017. I have tried to touch on these improvements in earlier articles and as applies to wildfire detection in this series. Looking at wildfire detections, I am very excited at the improvements that the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) in GOES-16 will mean to fighting wildfires.

The work that the NWS WFO at Norman OK and their state partners shows that the WFDN App means that in most cases, WFDN App dispatches come before 911 notifications, the lead time depending on how the WFO pushes WFDN to their local/state partners.

I have also gained an appreciation for how complicated satellite meteorology is. What I have learned about GOES-16 barely scrapes the surface of what GOES-16 will bring to weather forecasting.

June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire
detection: Introduction

June 23: Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the
GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection
improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App (this article)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

I have exchanged several e-mails and have had a couple of telephone conversations with Todd Lindley (Science and Operations Officer, NWS Weather Forecast Office Norman OK about the Wildfire Detection Notification (WFDN) App. In a telephone conversation on May 1, 2017, I asked Todd if he could provide a couple of examples that I could share with you about how the Experimental WFDN App has made a difference. He discussed two examples that I will share with you.
February 8th 2017: The NWS Norman OK Forecaster analyzing GOES-16 wildfire detection images detected a hot spot in Logan County, OK. After the analysis and evaluation of these images was complete, the data released to Oklahoma for dispatch. Upon dispatch to Oklahoma, it turned out that the hot spot detected by GOES was a  structure fire in a very rural location. This WFDN dispatch was the only dispatch, there was no 911 dispatch. The house, which was not occupied at the time, was fully engulfed. 
February 23rd, 2017: In the period leading up to February 23rd, weather forecasters at WFO Norman OK used some historical wildfire outbreak data coupled with elevated wildfire danger conditions in the area to communicate extreme fire danger conditions to their State partners. The Oklahoma Forestry Services used this information to preposition ground and aviation resources (in this case Blackhawk helicopters) on February 22nd. 
On February 23rd Forecasters at NWS Norman OK analyzing GOES-16 images detected a hotspots, after analysis and evaluation, the data was released to their State partners for dispatch. One of the hot spots was near where OFS had prepositioned ground and aerial assets on February 22nd. Units responded quickly to the wildfire with good initial attack. The fire was contained at about 200 acres.. Similar outbreaks in nearby areas of Texas in the same time period grew to about 5 to 8,000 acres. The key to the containment of this particular fire at 200 acres was the prepositioning of ground and air resources coupled with the WFDN resulting in moving resources to the hotspot. The key was initial attack.
In part 8, I will conclude this series with some  of my own reflections on what I have learned in writing this series on the application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App.

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection

June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

June 23: Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire
Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire
Detection Notification App making a difference (this article)

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using
GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Monday, July 03, 2017

Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Ap in use Spring 2017

The launch of GOES-16 in November 2016, which continues in operational testing, means that images from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) are available to NWS weather forecasters at WFO Norman OK in 2017 for use with the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification (WFDN) App. There are times when GOES-16 is unavailable because of operational testing, when that happens imagery is available from GOES-14 in Super Rapid Scan (SRSOR) mode (see the June 30th article in this series for more information about GOES-14 in SRSOR mode). The WFDN App continues to help first responders respond to wildfires quickly as this official from the Oklahoma Forestry Services shared with Todd Lindley of the NWS Weather Forecast Office Norman OK: “The timeliness and location accuracy of the detected wildfires prompted timely communication with local resources. Having this information encourages rapid size up and allocation of resources prioritization and efficient assignment of aerial and heavy equipment” (Todd Lindley January 27 2017 e-mail with author).

GOES-16 imagery (or GOES-14 in SRSOR mode) flows directly into AWIPS and NWS radar. The next step is important, that is, a NWS forecaster has to analyze and evaluate the GOES-16 imagery before the data is released via the WFDN App software for dispatch to state (or local) officials. NWS staffing in times of wildfire danger is similar to staffing in other severe weather events such as tornadoes. The WDFN App was modified and improved in the spring 2017 by the NWS Norman OK, one of the key improvements is that the WFDN App auto-populates. There are no added costs to the WFOs, at least there are no added costs to the WFO Norman OK.

The NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Norman OK partners with the Oklahoma Forestry Service (OFS), the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM), the Texas A&M Forest Service. NWS Norman send WFDN SMS to e-mail notifications are sent to two OFS Chiefs, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Watch Officers, and a Chief from the Texas A&M Forest Service, they in turn transmit the WFDN App to local first responders. Speaking of the partnership between NWS WFO staff and State/County wildfire agencies, Todd Lindley told me that the use of the WFDN App “requires a deep level of cooperation between State/County Agencies and the NWS WFO staff” (May 1, 2017 phone call with author). In most counties in the NWS Norman OK forecast area the use of the WFDN App has translated to 5 to 10 minutes lead time ahead of E-911 notifications.

The WFO Norman OK continued to use the WFDN App during their Late Winter/Early Spring 2017 wildfire season, and they will continue to use the WFDN beyond the Late Winter/Early Spring 2017 wildfire season. In addition, other NWS WFOs are using the WFDN App. The WFDN App can be modified by each WFO for their own use. The use of the WFDN has spread to other NWS WFOs, and there are still more WFOs that have expressed interest in the WFDN. Other WFOs that are currently using the WFDN App include: NWS Amarillo TX and NWS Tulsa OK. In Amarillo TX, after the imagery is analyzed and evaluated by their forecasters, the WFDN notifications are released directly to local agencies. This means that local first responders in the Amarillo TX region receive the notification 15 to 20 minutes in advance of E-911 notifications because unlike in the Norman OK area (5 to 10 minutes ahead of E-911), the WFDN goes directly to the local agencies.

The WFOs of the NWS have always been involved in forecasting fire weather through the issuance of fire weather forecasts and red flag warnings. The development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App (WFDN) changes this for Norman, Amarillo, and Tulsa WFOs, Todd Lindley of WFO Norman OK explains:
If I could make a final summarizing statement about the Experimental WFDNs, it is that there is not a change in overall NWS fire weather services. However, the development of the Experimental WFDN, a prototype, does mean that in in addition to providing fire weather services they are taking on an experimental and more active tactical role in routing firefighting resources directly to newly detected fires (May 1 June 5, 2017 e-mails with author).
In part 7,  I will share a couple of examples of how the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification made a difference in the Spring of 2017 in Oklahoma.

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection

June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

June 23:  Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017 (this article)

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Friday, June 30, 2017

Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Feb 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Application

In this article I will introduce the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification (WFDN) application first developed and used in the NWS Norman OK WFO on February 18, 2016. The WFDN was first used in conjunction with GOES-14 in super rapid scan mode. After GOES-16 was launched, and while she was still in operational testing, the WFDN was and still is being used by National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Norman OK in conjunction with GOES-16.

Todd Lindley, Science Operations Officer with the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Norman Oklahoma is the senior author of a 2016 paper in the Journal of Operational Meteorology: T. Todd Lindley, Aaron R. Anderson, Vivek N. Mahale, Thomas S. Curl, William E Line, Scott S. Lindstrom and A. Scott Bachmeier. 2016. Wildfire Detection Notifications for Impact-Based Decision Support Services in Oklahoma Using Geostationary Super Rapid Scan Satellite Imagery. Journal of Operational Meteorology, 4 (14), 182-191, http://nwafiles.nwas.org/jom/articles/2016/2016-JOM14/2016-JOM14.pdf. I have been privileged to have exchanged e-mails and had a telephone conversation with Mr. Lindley about an Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Application (WFDN) that he and his colleagues have written about in this 2016 paper. Unless otherwise noted, this post is based on Lindley et al’s 2016 paper.

In February 2016, GOES-16 (GOES-R) was not yet launched. GOES-14, the in-orbit spare, was operating in what is known as super rapid scan mode (SRSOR), an experimental mode where GOES-14 can take special one-min imagery. GOES-14 was operating in this SRSOR mode in mid to late February 2016 when there were wildfires in OK. Lindley et al explain how this works in their 2016 paper:
Although not capable of the improved spatial or spectral attributes of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) of GOES-16, the GOES-14 imager was operated by NOAA in SRSOR mode during several multi-week periods spanning late 2012 through early 2016. These SRSOR windows have demonstrated the high-temporal resolution sampling capability of the GOES-R ABI when operating in mode 3, known as “flex mode,” by providing 1-min imagery. The SRSOR data have been utilized in algorithm development, in various NWS field offices and national centers, and in operational support of experiments including those in the NWS’s Operations Proving Ground and Hazardous Weather Testbed. Experimental use of SRSOR and the operational benefits of high- temporal resolution satellite imagery is well documented for numerous phenomena including fog and low stratus, convective storms, wildland fire and smoke, and tropical cyclones (Lindley et al (2016, p, 184).
February 18, 2016 was a busy day at the NWS Norman OK Weather Forecast Office. They were monitoring both wildfire danger and existing wildfires in their forecast area. GOES-14 in SRSOR mode (one-minute imagery) was available to them where data and images were being fed into their AWIPS computer system. I’ll let Todd Lindley, Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service in Norman, OK explain:
We had a request by Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) to provide a courtesy call as we detected new fire on the morning of 18 February 2016.  It just so happened that we were ingesting 1-min SRSOR data that day as part of an experimental window in preparation for GOES-R/16.  My Meteorologist-in-Charge had the vision that morning to suggest that this was an opportunity to ‘innovate’.  We quickly brainstormed on how best to do that, and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification (WFDN) App was born (May 10, 2017 e-mail with author).
Specifically, the NWS Norman OK Weather Forecast Office Information Technology staff quickly wrote a Python application where after the satellite imagery was analyzed by NWS forecasters for wildfire hotspots. After the imagery was analyzed, the NWS forecasters could transmit wildfire detection notifications through AWIPS to a list of predetermined OFS officials by SMS e-mail to text. The SMS includes the latitude and longitude of the wildfire hotspot plus a link to the local weather forecast. Todd was nice enough to send me a sample of one of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notifications for you to look at:

Courtesy of NWS Norman OK Weather Forecast Office


Among the wildfires in the February 18, 2016 wildfire outbreak was the Buffalo Fire that ultimately burned 17,280 acres in Northwest Oklahoma. GOES-14 in SRSOR mode detected wildfire hotspots that would not have been detected by GOES East (GOES-13) and GOES West (GOES-15). The high resolution capabilities of GOES-14 in SRSOS mode and the WFDN App meant an 18 to 23 minute advantage leading to improved response time by responding fire departments and wild land firefighters.
A total of eight wildfire notifications were transmitted by WFO Norman on 18 February 2016. Post-event feedback from OFS stated that these notifications were 'key contributors to a measure of effectiveness in response to very aggressive and fast-paced fire activity' and that the dissemination of this information ‘enhanced situation awareness’ and ‘permitted contact [with] a few departments in advance of 911 calls.’ It was additionally noted that 'fire location often plays a role in resource allocation priority' and that text messages enabled a timely dispatch of resources and aided in prioritization of fires ‘with structures and improvements at risk' (D. Daily 2016 personal communication cited in Lindley et al, 2016, 185).
After the February 18th wildfire outbreak, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management developed a GIS based display system that monitors wildfires and allocation of equipment and firefighters. During the remainder of the 2016 late-winter early-spring wildfire season the WFO Norman OK continued to use GOES-13 (GOES East) or GOES-14 in SRSOR mode. After analyses by NWS Forecasters at WFO Norman OK, the imagery was fed into AWIPS, and to the WFDN App and many notifications were received by first responders prior to 911 calls.

The WFDN App continued to make a difference in wildfire response time in NW Oklahoma during the rest of the late-winter early-spring wildfire season in NW OK:
… continued use of text notifications on 5 April 2016 prompted the following feedback from Major County Emergency Manager, Tresa Lackey: ‘We were very grateful when NWS detected a fire south of Bouse Junction and was able to route forestry planes to the location...to assist in fire suppression. Our resources were spread thin already fighting fires across the county. The extra help in the fire detection and suppression really saved us. Fire- fighters were able to contain the fire before the wind [shift] later that evening’ (Lindley et al, 2016, 189).
I will write about the further developments of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App by WFO Norman OK and other WFO offices in 2017 in part 6.

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection


June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

June 23:  Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App (this article)

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference


July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

One of the 16 spectoral channels on GOES-16, channel 7, 3.9 ┬Ám, detects wildfire hot spots among other things.. Listen to Ivan Csiszar, a physical scientist with the NOAA Center for Satellite Applications, discuss wildfire detection using GOES-16 in the following video:


Direct link to video

For those of you who want to dig a little deeper, I will share three CIMSS Blog entries below with images from GOES-13 and GOES-16 of wildfires. Note the higher resolution from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager. One of my Operational Meteorologist friends from the National Weather Service  told me that their posts explain things very well. When looking at the imagery, it is important to note that red/yellow colors in the imagery depict high intensity fires and the black colors depict smaller fires. See the March 6th imagery of the Grass Fires in KS, OK, and TX for some good imagery of high intensity fires, recall that the Northwest Complex (KS, OK, TX) burned over 782,000 acres.


I think that the April 11th imagery is the best of the three at representing  the higher resolution of GOES-16 as compared to GOES-13. The March 16 imagery depicts a smaller wildfire hotspot, you will see red/yellow colors, depicting a high intensity fire at about 5 seconds on the GOES-16 ABI image.

CIMSS Blog, April 11, 2017 Fires (prescribed burns) in Eastern KS and OK

CIMSS Blog, March 6, 2017 Grass Fires-KS, OK, TX

CIMSS Blog, March 19, 2017 GOES-16 Mesoscale Sectors: Improved monitoring of fire activity

Finally, I recently contacted NOAA Satellites and Information Services on their Facebook Page (which is very nice and I highly recommend it. I told them about the article this article, asking them if they had any videos comparing GOES-13 with GOES-16. NOAA Satellites provided this link to their animations (currently page 6 of 8 pages). You may need to scroll to find two videos, one is of GOES-16 and GOES-13 images of Grass Fires in Florida and the other is of GOES-16 and GOES-13 Comparison Punch Clouds. I did not know what a punch cloud is, so I asked one of my meteorologist friends from the National Weather Service who told me punch clouds are circular or elliptical holes in clouds that can form when supercooled water begins to freeze. Note, depending on when you are arriving at this article, it is possible that the provided link may have different images, but if you look around on different pages you should find the two referenced images.

Next up in part 5: wildfire danger in Norman in western OK (February 18, 2016) and the development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection


June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

June 23:  Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16 (this article)

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 OF 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Monday, June 26, 2017

Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16.

There is a growing amount of images from GOES-16 available on the internet. GOES-16 is undergoing testing as I write this; all of these images that you see on the internet are non-operational, preliminary data. 

The three primary sources that I go to are (1) NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service , and (2) a GOES-R mission page with a data and imagery page. Third, a few months ago, a couple of my Operational Meteorologist friends from the National Weather Service suggested that I take a look at the CIMSS out of University of Wisconsin at Madison, saying that they have good information on GOES-16 and other satellites. The CIMSS has a blog with images from GOES-16 and other satellites. I have spent hours on all three sites. 

Before I move to how GOES-16 can be used for wildfire detections, I want to show you a couple of examples of the differences between GOES-13 and GOES-16. On the theory that one picture (or short video) is worth a thousand words, I am steering you to two entries from the CIMSS Blog.

CIMSS Blog, April 4, 2017, lake effect clouds, GOES-13 and GOES-15 images (left and right) will look similar. The resolution in the GOES-16 image in the center will be clearer. Note the cloud you are looking at is not very big. 

CIMSS Blog, April 4, 2017, fog/stratus dissipation Again, the fog and stratus in the GOES-16 image will be clearer.

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection

Friday, June 23, 2017

Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

I want to begin with a little background on our geostationary weather satellites. Most of you know that we have a new geostationary weather satellite was launched last fall. GOES-16 -then known as GOES-R), was launched on November 19, 2016. GOES-16 is the first in the GOES-R series of satellites, GOES R-T. GOES-S is undergoing pre-launch testing and will launch in 2018. As I write this, GOES-16 is still under going in-orbit operational testing. GOES-16 represents the sixth generation of NOAA’s Geostationary satellites. The fifth generation is GOES 13-15 (GOES N - P). GOES-13 is also known as GOES East, GOES-15 is also known as GOES West, and GOES-14 is an in-orbit spare. I wrote about GOES 13-15 on November 30, 2016. I wrote a little more about GOES-16 here.

One of the instruments on GOES-16 is the Advanced Baseline Imager (aka ABI), go here to read a brief description about improvements in the GOES-R series ABI. NOAA and NASA have a nice short fact sheet that introduces GOES-R (GOES-16) ABI, it may be found here. This is one of many fact sheets on the GOES-R series. Some of you may be interested in a listing of GOES-R ABI products on the GOES-R products page, a sub-page accessible from the GOES-R mission page.

Finally, please take three minutes to watch this video, made in 2013, describing the ABI on the GOES-R series:


Direct link to video on Youtube

List of articles in this eight part series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection

June 21: Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

June 23: Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (this article)

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Part 1 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Introduction

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been following GOES-16 since it was launched, then known as GOES-R, on November 19, 2016. As I learned more about GOES-16 I wondered what improvements GOES-16 and her sister satellites (GOES R-T) would bring to the detection of wildfires.   One exciting use of GOES-16 for wildfire detection is the development of an Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Application that was first developed and used by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Norman Oklahoma. Learning about the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Application lead to this eight-part series on an application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection. This introduction is part 1 of 8, the rest of the articles in the series are listed below.

I start off in part 2 with a short article on the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager, followed by two articles on improvements in wildfire detection with GOES-16. I then turn to the development and use of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification Applications in parts 5 through 7, followed by my own brief reflections in part 8.

As I post each article in the series, I will update this article with links to each article in the series.

June 23: Part 2 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: A little about the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager

June 26: Part 3 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: examples of improved imagery with GOES-16

June 28: Part 4 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: wildfire detection improved with GOES-16

June 30: Part 5 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: February 18, 2016 wildfire danger in western OK and development of the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App

July 3: Part 6 of 8: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App in use Spring 2017

July 5: Part 7 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification App making a difference

July 7: Part 8 of 8 Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection: Reflections on using GOES-16 for wildfire detection and the Experimental Wildfire Detection Notification AppWildfire Detection Notification App

Monday, June 19, 2017

Field Campaign to calibrate and test GOES-16 ABI and GLM

GOES-16 began an eleven week period of field testing to calibrate the GOES-16 instruments on March 22nd, see this March 22nd press release from NASA/NOAA for more information The March 22nd press release says in part:
During this three-month campaign, a team of instrument scientists, meteorologists, GOES-16 engineers, and specialized pilots will use a variety of high-altitude planes, ground-based sensors, unmanned aircraft systems (or drones), the International Space Station, and the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP polar-orbiting satellite to collect measurements across the United States . . . 
Although these data are collected on Earth, GOES-16’s operators will obtain similar measurements of the same locations using two of the satellite’s most revolutionary instruments—the Advanced Baseline Imager and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. The data sets will be analyzed and compared to the data collected by the planes, drones, and sensors to validate and calibrate the instruments on the satellite.  (http://www.goes-r.gov/mission/fieldCampaignBegins.html)
 NOAA Satellites shared a very cool video on Youtube of a NASA ER-2 over the Sonoran Desert on a March 23rd flight to validate and calibrate the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI):


Direct link to video

The first phase of the GOES-16 field campaign was over on April 11th. In phase two, from April 12 to May 18, 2017, the ER-2 was based out of  Robins Air Force Base in Georgia for calibration and validation of the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). See this press release for more information on the first and second phases.

In the following Facebook posts from the NOAA Satellites and Information Services you will hear from some scientists about the field campaign. The videos are short. The text explanations from the folk at NOAA Satellites and Information Service that accompany each video are, I feel important. I am not sure if I was able to successfully embed the video and the text, so I have included a direct link to each post. Added on August 9th, I was having trouble with the audio on the videos, even tried two browsers. If this happens to you click on the direct link below each embedded post and you should go to the Facebook link.

Frank Padula, GOES-16 Project Manager explains why they are using NASA’s ER2

Link to Facebook post with text

Meterologist talking about how they will use ER2 to calibrate GOES-16

Link to Facebook post with text

Field Campaign testing of the GOES-16 geostationary lightning mapper (GLM)

Link to Facebook post with text

Friday, June 16, 2017

Introduction to NASA's ER-2 "high altitude" aircraft

GOES-16 began an eleven week period of field testing to calibrate the GOES-16 instruments on March 22nd. I will be posting an article about the GOES-16 field testing campaign on June 19th. Portions of the field campaign will involve one of two NASA ER2 high altitude aircraft. So, today I will introduce NASA’s ER2 aircraft.

These aircraft are flying laboratories, each having four pressurized laboratory modules. Examples of experiments include research on ozone depletion, development of tropical cyclones, and assisting in the development and testing of satellite instruments. For more information on the ER-2, see this factsheet from NASA on the ER-2.
The ER-2 is a versatile aircraft well suited to perform multiple mission tasks. The ER-2 operates at altitudes from 20,000 feet to 70,000 feet, which is above 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere. Depending on aircraft weight, the ER-2 reaches an initial cruise altitude of 65,000 feet within 20 minutes. Typical cruise speed is 410 knots. The range for a normal eight-hour mission is 3,000 nautical miles yielding seven hours of data collection at altitude. The aircraft is capable of longer missions in excess of 10 hours and ranges in excess of 6,000 nautical miles. The ER-2 can carry a maximum payload of 2,600 lb (1,179 kilograms) distributed in the equipment bay, nose area, and wing pods. (https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/FactSheets/FS-046-DFRC.html)

Here are some videos about the ER-2.

Airshow video

Direct link to video

Cockpit

Direct link to video


Take-off (no sound)

Direct link to video