GOES-18 data is preliminary and non-operational.
GOES-18 captured intense wildfires and widespread severe thunderstorms across the central US on 11 May 2022. GOES-18 mesoscale sector 2 was positioned over the southern high plains, encompassing large wildfires in New Mexico, and thunderstorm development in west Texas. A GOES-18 VIS/SWIR combo animations displays the large wildfire hot spots and associated smoke plumes, along with connective initiation along the west Texas dryline.
In fact, GOES-16 and GOES-17 also had mesoscale sectors positioned over that location, allowing for a comparison between the three. GOES-18 imagery appears very similar to that from GOES-16 and GOES-17, as it should, aside from parallax differences due to the varied viewing angles between the three satellites.
Focusing east on the thunderstorms along the dryline, 1-min 500-m visible imagery provides excellent detail into convective initiation and storm top features.
Combining the VIs (Ch02) channel with NIR (Ch05) and IR (Ch13) channels, we get the popular Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB from GOES-18. The multispectral product provides information about storm top glaciation and cooling, indicators of convective initiation, that are not apparent in a single channel alone.
Focusing further north in Kansas, the details of a rapidly development thunderstorm are revealed in a rocking animation of GOES-18 1-min VIS.
Severe thunderstorms also developed across the upper midwest, where another GOES-18 mesoscale sector was positioned. This time, we observe storm top characteristics, such as overshooting tops and above anvil cirrus plumes, along with additional convective development and decay, using the GOES-18 VIS-IR sandwich combo imagery.
GOES-18 CONUS sector (5-min) IR imagery shows the longer-period evolution of the severe convection across the upper midwest from the 11th through the morning of the 12th.
Zooming way out, we get a full disk view of GOES-18 UL WV imagery from last night through this morning.
Comparing water vapor imagery from the three GOES-R series satellites, we see that while GOES-17 WV imagery suffers from the Cooling System issue at times, corresponding GOES-16 and GOES-18 imagery appears great! GOES-18 is scheduled to begin it’s drift west to the GOES-West position in a few days, and eventually will become the operational GOES-West satellite early next year.
Bill Line, NESDIS and CIRA