The Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii erupted during the overnight hours early on 28 Nov 2022, for the first time since 1984. GOES-West imagery, from both GOES-17 (current operational GOES-West) and GOES-18 (to become operational GOES-West in January) captured the eruption, lava flow, and SO2/Ash output in great detail on the 28th.
Focusing first on all 16 single-bands from both GOES-17 (Fig 1) and GOES-18 (Fig 2), we see that the thermal signature associated with the lava flow is (amazingly) captured in all but only three of the ABI bands. The signature is apparent in all near-infrared and visible bands except for band 1, a testament to just how “hot” the signal was. In the IR, a signal is diagnosed in all but the two more sensitive water vapor bands. Comparing GOES-17 with GOES-18, the signals are very similar, aside from the degradation apparent in a few of the GOES-17 bands due to the cooling system issue.
Now combining multiple channels into a single image in order to track the evolution of the lava thermal signature, we see the rapid growth and expansion of the signal northeastward through the night, in addition to the aerosol output (Fig 2). The animation combines the Hi-Res Top image as the underlay, semi-transparent ch13 IR as the next layer to depict clouds, and a combination of semi-transparent ch-07 (yellow), ch06 (red), ch05 (white) and ch03 (blue). By combining these channel in this order, we are able to depict progressively hotter regions of the volcanic activity, ranging from yellow (coolest) to red to white to blue (hottest).
Now observing the volcanic aerosol emission aloft, the GOES-18 SO2 RGB clearly captures the SO2 output from the volcanic eruption among widespread cloud cover, as shades of bright yellow (Fig 4).
The SO2 is similarly (slightly less obvious) detected in the Ash RGB. Ash however, is a little more difficult to diagnose given the presence of similarly appearing high clouds in the scene.
To help monitor the eruption and volcanic plumes, NWS Pacific Region HQ requested a GOES-West (-17) mesoscale sector for the next couple of days. Creating a similar animation as in Fig 3, but instead during the day and leveraging the 1-min imagery and Geocolor as the base layer, we can track evolution in even better detail. The hottest areas of the lava field can be observed, as well as the constant emission of ash and vapor.
SNPP and NOAA-20 also provided stunning imagery of the eruption overnight. The Day Night Band Near Constant Contrast Product revealed the very bright light emitted from the lava flow overnight (Fig 7).
At the same time, the 750 m resolution M13 (~4 um) band captured the thermal signature associated with the eruption in better, quantitative detail (Fig 8). The imagery revealed a large area of very hot BTs, with pixels maxing out over 500K (226C, 440F).
Volcanic activity continued on the next day, with GOES-17 1-min Geocolor+IR+NIR imagery continuing to show convection above the volcano, and later in the day, reemergence of the large and hot hot spot. Also added to this animation is the ch13 – ch 11 band difference, with bright green values representing likely SO2 emission.
GOES-18, still undergoing post launch testing, began collecting 30-second imagery of the volcanic eruption on 30 Nov. The following GOES-18 30-sec Day Fire RGB imagery captures the real-time evolution of the heat signature associated with the lava area alongside clouds and surface vegetation characteristics (Fig 10).
The lava field become relatively stationary with a consistent temperature according to GOES-17 imagery from the pre-dawn hours on the 1st through the day. Additionally, flow shifted such that the SO2 plume was advected south from the volcano.
Bill Line, NESDIS/STAR