California Wildfires

It is finally October, where the fall season has hit its stride, but unfortunately wildfires are still a-brewing in the Golden State. California, in recent days, has been subjected to more wildfires along the Northern side of the state. The majority of the fires are north of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. The cause of these fires are unknown and under investigation as of 10 October 2017.

Supplemental satellite images are provided highlighting the relative location of the fires via the Near-Constant Contrast (NCC) that illuminates atmospheric features, senses emitted and reflected lights and assists with cloud monitoring during the nighttime and the GOES-16 infrared band (Band 7, 3.9um) that observes ‘hotspots’ over Earth’s surface.

If you look at both static images (below) at 0947Z, 10 October 2017, there are collocated ellipses (orange and white) that encircle the general areas of the fires. The confusion becomes, how can one differentiate between the emitted city lights and the emitted light from the wildfires that are shown in the NCC? That is where geostationary data comes into play, specifically the infrared band 7 (a.k.a. 3.9um channel).

The 3.9um channel is notorious for identifying ‘hotspots’ or surface areas that are significantly warmer than their surroundings and are represented by the black pixels. The differentiation between the emitted city lights and emitted lights from the wildfires becomes easier when the NCC and GOES-16 infrared image are used in complement with one another to identify and infer the areal extent of wildfires. In addition, if you look closely on the southernmost ellipse in the infrared image, you can see that one black pixel senses over 60+ degrees Celsius at the surface, indicating hot fires sensed within that pixel!

NCC @ 0947Z, 10 October 2017

GOES-16, IR, Band 7 – 3.9um @ 0947Z, 10 October 2017

Here’s the latest article covering the fires in Northern California via CNBC.

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