PyroCb in British Columbia

On 16  May a pyroCb formed in British Columbia (~56 N, ~122W). GOES-15 detected the smoke plume and pyroCb cloud, as well as the fire hot spot. Starting at 22:00 UTC on 16 May, the animation below shows visible (.63 μm) on the left and shortwave IR (3.9 μm) on the right (click image to play animation). In the shortwave IR images the black pixels indicate very hot IR brightness temperatures exhibited by the fire source region.

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel (right) and 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel images (left) (click to play animation)

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel (right) and 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel images (left) (click to play animation)

In addition, using GOES-15 10.7 μm IR channel the cloud-top IR brightness temperature could be found. The animation below, starting at 22:00 UTC on 16 May, shows the brightness temperature for the pyroCb is -53ºC around 00:05 UTC on 17 May (lime green color enhancement).

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 10.7 µm IR channel images (click to play animation)

OMPS AI index images (courtesy of Colin Seftor) shows the transport of smoke on 16 May and 17 May. On 16 May the max AI index of 8.4 at 56.84 N 110.14 W, which is just west of the spot of the pyroCb.

OMPS Aerosol Index image on 16 May (click to enlarge)

OMPS Aerosol Index image on 16 May (click to enlarge)

On 17 May the max AI index of 14.0  at 59.09 N 94.36 W, which is northeast of the pyroCb.

OMPS Aerosol Index image on 17 May (click to enlarge)

OMPS Aerosol Index image on 17 May (click to enlarge)

In addition, the image below on 17 May is a VIIRS image with hotspots detection on the left and OMPS AI overlay on the right (courtesy of Colin Seftor) .

VIIRS hotspot detection (left) and OMPS AI overlay (right) on 17 May (click to enlarge)

VIIRS hotspot detection (left) and OMPS AI overlay (right) on 17 May (click to enlarge)

PyroCb in British Columbia

On 05 May there was a pyroCb in British Columbia  at 56.6 N 120 W. GOES-15 detected the smoke plume and clouds around the fires, as well as the fire hot spots. Starting at 00:00 UTC on 06 May, the animation below shows visible (0.63 μm) on the left and shortwave IR (3.9 μm) on the right (click image to play animation). In the shortwave IR images the darker black to red pixels indicate very hot IR brightness temperatures exhibited by the fire source region.

GOES-15 0.64 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 0.63 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

Using GOES-15 10.7 μm IR channel imagery the minimum cloud-top IR brightness temperatures could be found. The animation below, starting at 00:00 UTC on 06 May, shows that the pyroCu reached around -35ºC (dark blue color enhancement) around 02:30 UTC. At 3:11 UTC which is after the image loops the pyroCu reached a brightness temperature of -40.4ºC and is now considered a pyroCb.

GOES-15 10.7 μm IR images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 10.7 μm IR images (click to play animation)

In addition, the GOES-14 satellite was operating in Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSOR) mode, providing images at 1-minute intervals. The animation below (also available as a large 115 Mbyte Animated GIF) showed the flare-up of fire hot spots and the development of smoke plumes beginning at 1915 UTC on 05 May.

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

To further investigate the transport of smoke from this fire CALIPSO (courtesy of Mike Fromm) was used. This LIDAR shows the height of the clouds from the wildfire. The first image below is the 532nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot on 06 May from 07:30 UTC to 7:52 UTC. This CALIPSO track is east and north of the pyroCb but smoke was still detected The smoke from this fires can be seen ~48 N indicated faintly by a red color. The second image is 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot, the smoke on this plot is indicated by a yellow/red color. The third image is the Depolarization image the smoke is indicated by a blue color. The fourth image is the Attenuated Ratio plot between 1064 nm and 532 nm. The smoke is indicated by magenta pixels. The fifth image is the Vertical Feature Mask. This plot shows the different features that are in the atmosphere, the smoke is attributed as a cloud on this plot and is indicated by a yellow color.

CALIPSO 532 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 06 May(click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 532 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 06 May(click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 06 May (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 06 May (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Depolarization Ration on 06 May (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Depolarization Ration on 06 May (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Attenuated Color Ratio between 1064 nm and 532 nm on 06 May (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Attenuated Color Ratio between 1064 nm and 532 nm on 06 May (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Vertical Feature Mask on 06 May (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Vertical Feature Mask on 06 May (click to enlarge image)

Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire

GOES-15 0.63 um Visible (top) and 3.9 um Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the hot spot (dark black to yellow to red pixels) and the development of pulses of pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) clouds associated with a large wildfire located just to the west of Fort McMurray, Alberta (station identifier CYMM) on 03 May 2016. The fire — which started on 01 May (Wikipedia) — caused a mandatory evacuation of the nearly 90,000 residents of the city (the largest fire-related evacuation in Alberta history). Note that the hourly surface plots indicated a temperature of 90º F (32.2º C) at 22 and 23 UTC — in fact, a new daily high temperature record of 32.6º C was set for Fort McMurray (time series plot of surface data).

The corresponding GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (below) revealed cloud-top infrared brightness temperature values as cold as -58º C (darker red color enhancement) at 0030 and 0100 UTC on 04 May.

GOES-15 0.63 um Visible (top) and 10.7 um Infrared Window (bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (bottom) images [click to play animation]

Suomi NPP VIIRS False-color RGB, Visible (0.64 um), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um), and Infrared Window (11.45 um) images at 1834 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS False-color RGB, Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1834 UTC [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS false-color “Snow vs cloud discrimination” Red/Green/Blue (RGB), Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1834 UTC (above) showed that while a large fire hot spot was apparent on the Shortwave Infrared image, there was no clear indication of any pyrocumulus cloud development at that time. However, a similar image comparison at 2018 UTC (below) revealed that a well-defined pyroCb cloud had formed (with a cloud-top infrared brightness temperature as cold as -60º C, dark red color enhancement) which was drifting just to the north of the Fort McMurray airport (whose cyan surface report is plotted near the center of the images). A 2104 UTC NOAA-19 AVHRR image provided by René Servranckx showed a minimum IR brightness temperature of -59.6º C.

Suomi NPP VIIRS false-color RGB, Visible (0.64 um), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um), and Infrared Window (11.45 um) images at 2018 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS false-color RGB, Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2018 UTC [click to enlarge]

A closer look using Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images from the SSEC RealEarth site (below) showed the initial pyroCb cloud as it had drifted just east of Fort McMurray, with the early stages of a second pyroCb cloud just south of the city.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um) images [click to enlarge]


Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 1015 UTC or 3:15 am local time (below; courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed the bright glow of the large Fort McMurray wildfire, as well as the lights associated with the nearby oil shale mining activity.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 um) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 um) images at 1014 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 1014 UTC [click to enlarge]

A sequence of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images covering the 02 April – 04 April period (below) showed the diurnal changes as well as the overall growth of the fire hot spot (darker black pixels).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

===== 05 May Update =====

The GOES-14 satellite was operating in Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSOR) mode, providing images at 1-minute intervals — and the scan sector was positioned to monitor the Fort McMurray wildfire on 05 May. GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below; also available as a large 133 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the growth of the smoke plume and fire hot spot signature (black to yellow to red pixels).

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 0.63 µm Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]


A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (below) showed the size of part of the fire burn scar (darker brown) as well as the active fires (bright pink) along the perimeter of the burn scar.

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

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

===== 06 May Update =====

The Fort McMurray fire continued to produce a great deal of smoke on 06 May, and the coverage and intensity of fire hot spots increased during the afternoon hours as seen on 1-minute GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below; also available as a large 180 Mbyte animated GIF).

GOES-14 0.63 µm (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 0.63 µm (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 13 May Update =====

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 Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 0906 UTC or 3:06 am local time (above) showed the fire hot spots (dark gray to yellow to red pixels) and their nighttime glow.

A time series of VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images covering the 04-13 May period (below) revealed the rapid early growth of the fire, and the continued slow spread of the fire periphery toward the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. On 13 May the total size of the area burned by the Fort McMurray fire was estimated to be 241,000 hectares or 595,524 acres.

Time series of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, covering the 04-13 May period [click to enlarge]

Time series of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images, covering the 04-13 May period [click to enlarge]

===== 16 May Update =====

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm shortwave Infrared (right images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm shortwave Infrared (right images [click to play animation]

Strong southerly winds ahead of an approaching trough axis (surface analyses) created favorable conditions for rapid fire growth on 16 May — GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images (above) showed the development of pyrocumulus clouds (first on the far western flank of the fire around 1930 UTC, then later in the eastern portion of the fire area). This new flare-up of fire activity prompted additional evacuations of some oil sands work camps and facilities north of Fort McMurray.

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1932 UTC (below) showed that a small pyroCb had developed, which exhibited a cloud-top IR brightness temperature of -41.48 C.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm), and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A toggle between the corresponding VIIRS true-color RGB image and Shortwave Infrared images is shown below.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A time series plot of surface weather conditions for Fort McMurray (below) shows that during prolonged periods of light winds, the surface visibility dropped below 1 mile at times. The air quality at Fort McMurray was rated as “extreme“, and deemed unsafe for residents to return to the city.

Time series of weather conditions at Fort McMurray on 16 May [click to enlarge]

Time series of weather conditions at Fort McMurray on 16 May [click to enlarge]

===== 17 May Update =====

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (right) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 0.63 µm Visible (left) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (right) images [click to play animation]

A shift to westerly winds followed the passage of a surface trough axis on 17 May (surface analyses), which slowed the northward progress of the fire. GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) continued to show a great deal of thick smoke over the region, with hot spots from active fires.

However, during the afternoon hours multiple pyroCb clouds were seen to develop along the eastern flank of the fire. A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 2054 UTC (below) revealed the pyroCb clouds, which exhibited cloud-top IR Window brightness temperatures as cold as -57º C (darker orange color enhancement).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 m) and Infrared Window (11.45 ) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.74 m) and Infrared Window (11.45 ) images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of GOES-15 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (below; also available as an MP4 animation) showed the development of the pyroCb clouds around 2000 UTC, whose anvil debris moved rapidly southeastward;  these pyroCb clouds exhibited a darker gray appearance on the shortwave IR images, along with cloud-top IR Window brightness temperatures as cold as -52º C (light orange color enhancement). Lightning strikes were detected during the early stages of pyroCb growth.

GOES-15 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (left) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (right) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (left) and 10.7 µm Infrared Window (right) images [click to play animation]

===== 19 May Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images covering the 04-18 May 2016 period [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images covering the 04-18 May 2016 period [click to enlarge]

Daily Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images covering the period 04 May to 19 May 2016 are shown above. The rapid growth of the perimeter of fire hot spots (yellow to red color enhancement) was quite evident during the first few days; patches of thick cloud cover tended to mask many of the fire hot spots during the middle of the animation period, but then another increase in hot spot growth was seen beginning on 16 May. The far eastern perimeter of the fire had crossed the Saskatchewan border on the morning of 19 May.

PyroCb near Perth in Western Australia

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, left) and Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, left) and Visible (0.64 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

A 2-panel comparison of Himawari-8 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the “hot spot” (red pixels) associated with a large bush fire burning near Waroona (south of Perth) in Western Australia on 06 January 2016 (media report), along with smoke from the fire and the explosive development of a pyroCb cloud after about 0830 UTC. The variation in smoke transport was explained by the strong vertical wind shear profile seen on a plot of 12 UTC Perth rawinsonde data: easterly winds within the 800m-2000m layer were carrying smoke westward off the coast, while smoke transported to higher altitudes by the pyroCb cloud was drifting southeastward due to northwesterly flow aloft.

Himiwari-8 Infrared (10.4 µm) images (below) indicated that cloud-top IR brightness temperatures cooled to -40º C (bright green color enhancement) around 0830 UTC, eventually reaching a minimum of -56º C (darker orange color enhancement). According to analysis performed by René Servranckx, the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature detected by the AVHRR instrument on NOAA-18 was -61.2º C at 1104 UTC (which corresponds to an altitude of 14 km based upon the Perth rawinsonde data).

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

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

During the nighttime hours following the initial pyroCb development, the fire raced westward as revealed by the spreading out of the red pixels on Himawari-8 Shortwave IR (3.9 µm) images and the light gray to brighter white pixels on Near-IR (2.3 µm) images (below).

Himawari-8 Shortwave IR (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Shortwave IR (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Near-IR (2.3 µm) images [click to play animation]

Himawari-8 Near-IR (2.3 µm) images [click to play animation]

On 07 January, two additional pyroCb clouds were seen to develop from the Waroona fire: the first after about 03 UTC, and the second after about 06 UTC. In this case, the pyroCb cloud material was transported rapidly eastward, as seen in Himawari-8 Infrared (10.4 µm) images (below), due to an increase in westerly winds aloft as seen in a plot of 00 UTC Perth rawinsonde data. An animation of Himawari-8 true-color images showing these 2 pyroCb events can be seen here.

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

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

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 06 January and 07 January (below) showed an increase in the thickness and areal coverage of smoke aloft over the region (Note: the actual overpass times of the Suomi NPP satellite were between 06 and 07 UTC, as seen here and here). A plot of VIIRS-detected fire locations (red dots) for the period ending at 12 UTC on 07 January is also shown.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 06 January and 07 January [click image to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images from 06 January and 07 January [click image to enlarge]

To further investigate the transport of smoke from this fire CALIPSO was used. This LIDAR shows the height of the clouds from the wildfire. The first image below is the 532nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot on 07 January from 05:37 UTC to 6:00 UTC. The smoke from this fires can be seen ~ 32 S indicated faintly by a red/grey color. The second image is 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot, the smoke on this plot is indicated by a grey color. The third image is the Depolarization image the smoke is indicated by a red color. The fourth image is the Attenuated Ratio plot between 1064 nm and 532 nm. The smoke is indicated by the light blue pixels. The fifth image is the Vertical Feature Mask. This plot shows the different features that are in the atmosphere, the smoke is attributed as a cloud on this plot and is indicated by a light blue color.
2016-01-07_04-30-00_Exp_V3.30_4_1CALIPSO 532 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 07 January (click to enlarge)

2016-01-07_04-30-00_Exp_V3.30_4_4CALIPSO 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 07 January (click to enlarge)

2016-01-07_04-30-00_Exp_V3.30_4_3CALIPSO Depolarization Ration on 07 January (click to enlarge)

2016-01-07_04-30-00_Exp_V3.30_4_5CALIPSO Attenuated Color Ratio between 1064 nm and 532 nm on 07 January (click to enlarge image)

2016-01-07_04-30-00_Exp_V3.30_4_6CALIPSO Vertical Feature Mask on 07 January (click to enlarge image)

Below is an animation of the convergence at 250 mb shown by a color fill, the the 250 mb geopotential height contoured every 30 meters and the wind barbs.It has been investigated that upper level divergence is associated with the ability for pyroCu to turn into a pyroCb (Peterson et al., BAMS, Feb. 2015, 229-247). Starting at 0 UTC on 06 January the spot of the pyroCbs are indicated by the white dots. These pyroCbs are in an area of divergence indicated by the light blue and dark green color. This is conducive to the strengthening of the pyroCb. If there is divergence at upper levels there is rising air below that area of divergence. These conditions are favorable to the pyroCb developing.


250 mb Convergence(color fill), Geopotential Height (contoured every 30 m) and wind barbs every 6 hours starting on 06 January 0 UTC.

This Skew-T taken at 12 UTC on 06 January after the pyroCb located at 32.9 S 116 E. From the Skew-T it is apparent that there is a very dry air above this pyroCb.
106skewtSkew-T at 12 UTC (click to enlarge) Green line is dew point and red line is temperature.

This Skew-T taken at 12 UTC on 07 January after the pyroCb located at 32.9 S 116 E. From the Skew-T it is apparent that there is a very dry air above this pyroCb, but becomes very moist above 300 mb. This moist air could be beneficial to the develop of the pyroCbs at this time.
107skewtSkew-T at 12 UTC (click to enlarge) Green line is dew point and red line is temperature.

Interesting Possibility of PyroCu in Southern Australia

On 25 December there was a potential for some pyroCb development from fires located in southern Australia. Himawari-8 detected the smoke plume and clouds around the fires, as well as the fire hot spots. Starting at 01:30 UTC on 25 December, the animation below shows visible (.64 μm) on the left and shortwave IR (3.9 μm) on the right (click image to play animation). In the shortwave IR images the darker black to red pixels indicate very hot IR brightness temperatures exhibited by the fire source region.

Himawari-8 0.64 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 0.64 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR channel imagery the minimum cloud-top IR brightness temperatures could be found. The animation below, starting at 03:00 UTC on 25 December. This fire active was not pyroconvective because the cloud top brightness temperature was not cold enough to register.

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR images (click to play animation)

Impressive Fires in Western Australia

On 17 November there was a possibility for more pyroconvection. According to ABC News four people have died from the fire activity in region. Furthermore Rick McRae has reported that 80% of the main fire was in the wheatbelt area. This area has been known the produce pyroCbs. Furthermore, weather conditions were astounding with winds gusting at 09:46 UTC between 50 and 74 km/kr. At 06:40 UTC the temperature was 41.2°C with 2% relative humidity and a sea level pressure of 997 hPa. McRae attributes the lack of pyroCb formation to the gusting winds and not enough buoyancy to provide upward vertical motion. The following Skew-T provided by Rick McRae taken at Esperance shows the upper air conditions around these fires and the increase in dew point to 34°C.

Skew-T taken at 23 UTC on 16 November (click to enlarge)

Skew-T taken at 23 UTC on 16 November (click to enlarge)

Himawari-8 detected the smoke plume and clouds around the fires, as well as the fire hot spots. Starting at 05:00 UTC on 17 November, the animation below shows visible (.64 μm) on the left and shortwave IR (3.9 μm) on the right (click image to play animation). In the shortwave IR images the darker black to red pixels indicate very hot IR brightness temperatures exhibited by the fire source region.

Himawari-8 0.64 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 0.64 μm visible (left) and 3.9 μm shortwave IR (right) images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR channel imagery the minimum cloud-top IR brightness temperatures could be found. The animation below, starting at 08:00 UTC on 17 November. This fire active was not pyroconvective because the cloud top brightness temperature was not cold enough to register.

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 10.4 μm IR images (click to play animation)

To further investigate the transport of smoke from this fire CALIPSO was used. This LIDAR shows the height of the clouds from the wildfire. The first image below is the 532nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot on 17 November from 16:07 UTC to 16:30 UTC. The smoke from this fires can be seen ~ 35-40 S indicated faintly by a red/grey color.  The second image is 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter plot, the smoke on this plot is indicated by a grey color. The third image is the Depolarization image the smoke is indicated by a light blue color. The fourth image is the Attenuated Ratio plot between 1064 nm and 532 nm. The smoke is indicated by the grey pixels. The fifth image is the Vertical Feature Mask. This plot shows the different features that are in the atmosphere, the smoke is attributed as a cloud on this plot and is indicated by a light blue color. The last image shows the subtype of the aerosols that have been detected by the LIDAR. This shows that the aerosols that the LIDAR has detected are smoke (indicated by the black pixels).

CALIPSO 532 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 17 November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 532 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 17 November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 17  November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO 1064 nm Total Attenuated Backscatter on 17 November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Depolarization Ration on 17 November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Depolarization Ration on 17 November (click to enlarge)

CALIPSO Attenuated Color Ratio between 1064 nm and 532 nm on 17 November (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Attenuated Color Ratio between 1064 nm and 532 nm on 17 November (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Vertical Feature Mask on 17 November (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Vertical Feature Mask on 17 November (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Aerosol Subtype plot on 17 November (click to enlarge image)

CALIPSO Aerosol Subtype plot on 17 November (click to enlarge image)