Forecasters at NWS Amarillo, TX utilized GOES-East shortwave IR satellite imagery to alert partners of a newly developed wildfire in the Oklahoma Panhandle during the afternoon of 04 March 2021. Mesoscale 1-min imagery was available over the region, and was utilized by forecasters to monitor for wildfire hot spots. In fact, due to periodic cloud cover across the scene, the mesoscale 1-min imagery helped in detecting the hotspot (with confidence) roughly 9-minutes ahead of what was possible in the CONUS 5-min imagery. Given the periodic cloud cover, the 1-min imagery helped to capture the “in-between” moments that the 5-min imagery missed. The utilization of the hot spot notification tool with the GOES-East 1-min mesoscale imagery allowed forecasters to relay information on the location of the wildfire and current conditions in a quick and easy manner.
A timeline comparing the 1-min mesoscale imagery (top row) with 5-min CONUS imagery (bottom row) is shown in Figure 1. Increase the Zoom in your browser for better view of the slide show. Alternatively, larger versions of the individual components of the slide show can be accessed: Period 1, Period 2, Period 3, Period 4, Period 5, Period 6. The wildfire hotspot appears as relatively dark pixels, just northwest of Guymon, OK.
An animation shares similar information in Figure 2.
Individual animations are shown for the 1-min meso imagery (Fig 3) and 5-min CONUS imagery (Fig 4). The hotspot is easily diagnosed in the 1-min imagery, despite the cloud cover, as an apparent flickering of dark pixels. In the 5-min imagery, however, there are 2 images that provide a glimpse of the hotspot, with only one showing an obvious signal.
This is a great operational example showing the value of 1-min satellite imagery (compared to 5-min) for wildfire hot spot monitoring. The availability of 1-min imagery allowed for roughly 9-minutes of lead time (over 5-min imagery) for the confident detection of a wildfire hot spot and notification of its presence to core partners.
Kaitlin Rutt, NWS AMA; Bill Line, NESDIS and CIRA