PyroCb over Siberia on 22 June 2013

MTSAT-2 0.68 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

MTSAT-2 0.68 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

On 22 June 2013, a cluster of wildfires occurred across a large region in Siberia.  These fires were centered at approximately 63 N 115 E, and were quite vigorous in their smoke production. This activity was enhanced by the presence of strong updrafts that developed with the fires throughout the day. This activity is noticeable in visible imagery from the MTSAT-2/HRIT-ALL satellite, as seen in the above animation. It appears that these strong fires contributed to the development of two pyrocumulonimbus clouds during the evening hours as well as a clearly defined column of smoke in this region. One of the pyroCb can clearly be seen in the animation starting at about 10:32 UTC and is located at approximately 62 N 125 E. It can be seen following the clockwise flow around the high pressure system that is producing hot and dry conditions for these fires to grow in. Additionally, a smaller but impressive smoke column can be seen in the animation at the same time at about 64 N 119 E, an indication that the updrafts associated with this complex of fires were quite intense.

MTSAT-2 10. 7 IR channel images (click image to play animation)

MTSAT-2 10. 7 IR channel images (click image to play animation)

The corresponding IR imagery suggests that the cloud top of the PyroCB from the earlier visible imagery had temperatures that reached -50 degrees Celsius, as seen by the yellow pixels in the above animation. The IR imagery also suggests that a second PyroCB developed after dusk at about 16:01 UTC. The top of that cloud also had temperatures that were as cold as -50 degrees Celsius. For reference, both clouds are south-southeast of the larger cloud formation that has temperatures as low as -60 degrees.

MTSAT-2 3.9 IR channel images (click image to play animation)

MTSAT-2 3.9 IR channel images (click image to play animation)

Shortwave IR imagery revealed that this area of Siberia was experiencing several clusters of wildfire activity. The hottest locations in the above imagery are defined by the black pixels and denote the locations of these fires. It appears that the two PyroCB events, as well as the  large smoke column were likely spawned by the fires located around 63 N 120 E, on the eastern periphery of the fire complex.

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