• Copernicus Report: Did 2019 really bring us an unusual number of wildfires?

    With heightened media attention on the unprecedented Arctic wildfires this summer followed by the Amazonian fires in autumn, concerns about Earth being ‘on fire’ are rising. But although some regions have indeed seen exceptionally intense wildfires emitting lots of pollution, some – for example Europe and southern tropical Africa – have actually seen less fire activity than they did earlier this century.

    The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS*) uses satellite observations of Earth to continuously monitor wildfire activity worldwide, compare it to the 2003–2018 average values, and provide daily estimates of the pollution emitted. This article highlights the fire activity that stood out from CAMS monitoring during 2019.

    In the first weeks of 2019, record-breaking dry and warm conditions in Australia contributed to wildfires across the region. CAMS observed that bushfire activity in the country was many times higher than the January average for the previous sixteen years. The aerosol forecasts from January also showed large amounts of smoke being emitted by fires in Pakistan, India and Western China.

    In February, CAMS forecast that wildfires in Tasmania and New Zealand would release high levels of carbon monoxide. CAMS also saw higher-than-usual fire activity in northern Spain and southern France, and subsequently predicted inflated levels of particulate matter in the air over these regions.

    Notable wildfire activity in Europe continued until the end of February, especially in the north of the United Kingdom, as well as in Portugal and south-eastern Europe. However overall Europe experienced fewer fires during 2019 than typically seen during the period 2003–2018.

    Wildfires in France in February 2019

    photo:Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF;desc:Fires in France in February

    Intensity of wildfires in France in February 2019 (red) compared to the 2003–2018 average (grey).

    March saw increasing activity as the Asian fire season began. Early in the month, fires in south-eastern Asia, north-eastern China and south-eastern Russia gave rise to high levels of aerosol particles in the air over East Asia. In mid-March, CAMS forecast high levels of air pollution across south-eastern Asia, particularly Laos and Thailand, resulting from intense wildfire activity. However, the fire intensity in upper Southeast Asian countries for March 2019 was overall lower than the 2003–2018 average.

    Intense fire activity in Asia resumed in May – notably in Nepal and northern India – resulting in large amounts of particulate air pollution across the Himalayan foothills. Also in May, wildfires in Central America produced a lot of smoke that CAMS forecast to affect Mexico City and spread across the Gulf of Mexico.

    The fire season began for northern latitudes in late May, with thousands of square kilometres burned in northern Alberta, Canada. CAMS monitored the huge amount of smoke emitted by these fires that was at one point carried across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Smoke is frequently transported long distances by the wind; in early June, CAMS predicted that smoke from fires in Russia would cross the Arctic Ocean to reach Alaska.

    Alberta wildfires

    photo:Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF;desc:Alberta wildfire smoke

    CAMS forecast of the path of smoke from the Alberta wildfires.

    June 2019 saw the start of unprecedented wildfire activity in Siberia and the Arctic Circle. The region experienced many uncommonly large and long-lived wildfires that emitted 50 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during the month. The fires spewed a cloud of soot and smoke larger than the EU, and CAMS predicted how pollution travelled around the world to affect global air quality.

    In July, wildfires became more widespread around the Arctic – particularly in Siberia, Alaska and Greenland – emitting 79 megatonnes of carbon dioxide in one month alone. As is often the case with wildfires, the Arctic fires could be linked to drought conditions, with notable activity occurring in locations with low rainfall and dry soil. Information on these variables is provided by CAMS’ partner service, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), and can be used to help manage wildfire risk.

    Fires raged across South America from spring to autumn. In March, fire activity was especially striking in Colombia, Venezuela and Northern Brazil. Then in August, fires flared up in the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Rondônia, which CAMS observed to affect air quality across the whole of South America.

    It is common to see fires across Amazonia in August after the region’s dry season, and although fires in Amazonas released more carbon dioxide than in any other year since 2003, and emissions from fires across the whole of Brazilian Amazonia have this year been the highest since 2010, they emitted a relatively small amount of the pollutant compared to the first decade of this century.

    Locations of fires in South America in August 2019

    photo:Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF;desc:Fire in South America

    In September, fires tore across Indonesia, burning thousands of acres of land and resulting in a toxic haze covering the country. Although fires are common in Indonesia, especially towards the end of the country’s April to October dry season, CAMS observed that the activity was well above the 2003–2018 average and in total resulted in more than 708 megatonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. This September the daily total estimated carbon dioxide emissions were comparable to those in the El Niño year of 2015, due to drier than average conditions in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

    The close of 2019 sees us coming full circle back into the southern summer, with intense fires again raging in Australia. Since fires flared up in New South Wales and Queensland in September, CAMS has been closely monitoring their development and the resulting smoke transport across the southern Pacific Ocean reaching as far as South America. Although the fires were unusual in number and intensity, especially in the north-eastern parts of New South Wales, up to the end of November fire activity in Australia overall was relatively low compared to previous autumns.

    Carbon dioxide release by wildfires in 2019

    photo:Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF;desc:Carbon dioxide release by wildfires in 2019.

    In total, 6.375 megatonnes of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere by wildfires between 1 January and 30 November 2019. This value fits with the gradual declining trend in global total fire emissions since 2003, related to changing land management practices and use of fire in the tropics.

    “Although fire activity overall has been fairly average in the global sense for 2019, compared to previous years, there have several instances of unusual intense activity in certain regions, including places with regular fire seasons, which has been devastating,” concludes CAMS Senior Scientist Mark Parrington. “Our monitoring is important for raising awareness of the context and wider-scale impacts of wildfires and their smoke emissions so that organisations, businesses and individuals can be informed and plan against the potential effects of air pollution.”

    *CAMS and its partner service the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) are implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the EU.


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  • Extreme Weather in Europe: Italy on alert for Extreme Wind this Friday

    Extreme wind will hit the western part of central and southern Italy. Italian Air Force National Meteorological Service has issued Extreme Wind, Severe Thunderstorms and Severe Rain warnings for this Friday.

    As you can see on the Windy Weather Warnings map, extreme wind will affect not only Italian islands, but also the western parts of central and southern Italy.

    photo:Windy.com;desc:Weather Warnings Map;licence:cc;

    Extreme Wind Warning
    From: Friday 13, 1:00 PM
    To: Friday 13, 11:00 PM
    Warning in effect for: Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia and Sardegna


    TAKE precautionary ACTION, remain vigilant and act on advice given by authorities. Keep up to date with the latest weather forecast, and expect significant disruption to daily routines. Only travel if your journey is essential.

    Severe thunderstorms and severe rain

    Except Sardegna, there are also Severe Thunderstorm and Severe Rain warning in effect.

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning and Severe Rain Warning
    From: Friday 13, 1:00 PM
    To: Friday 13, 11:00 PM
    Warning in effect for: Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicilia


    BE PREPARED. Take precautions and keep up to date with the latest weather forecast. Expect some disruption to daily routines and BE PREPARED for disruption to outdoor activities.


    posted in Articles
  • 2019 Indian Ocean Cyclone Season: NASA Finds Tropical Storm Belna’s Heavy Rainfall Potential Shrinks

    Tropical Storm Belna weakened after it made landfall in northwestern Madagascar, and infrared imagery from NASA showed how the area of strong storms within had diminished.

    Cold cloud top temperatures can tell forecasters if a tropical cyclone has the potential to generate heavy rainfall, and that is exactly what NASA’s Aqua satellite found on Dec. 10 over a much smaller area than was occurring on Dec. 9.

    photo:NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson;desc:AIRS image of Belna;

    On Dec. 10 at 6:47 a.m. EST (1047 UTC) NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed Tropical Storm Belna using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument. AIRS found coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) in a small area over northwestern Madagascar.

    The AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a look at cloud top temperatures in Belna which gave insight into the storm’s strength. Cloud top temperatures provide information to forecasters about where the strongest storms are located within a tropical cyclone.

    Tropical cyclones do not always have uniform strength, and some sides are stronger than others. The stronger the storms, the higher they extend into the troposphere, and the colder the cloud temperatures are.

    On Dec. 10 at 6:47 a.m. EST (1047 UTC) NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed the storm using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument. AIRS found the strongest storms with coldest cloud top temperatures as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) in a small area over northwestern Madagascar. NASA research has shown that cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms that have the capability to create heavy rain.

    By Dec. 11 at 4 a.m. EST (0900 UTC), Belna had become devoid of all heavy rainfall, and the forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued their final bulletin on the storm.

    Belna had weakened to a tropical depression and had maximum sustained winds near 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph). Belna was located near latitude 21.3 degrees south and longitude 45.4 degrees east. It was over land and just six nautical miles southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Belna was moving south and is expected to dissipate in a day or two.

    Tropical cyclones and hurricanes are the most powerful weather events on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting.

    The AIRS instrument is one of six instruments flying on board NASA’s Aqua satellite, launched on May 4, 2002.

    Rob Gutro
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


    posted in Articles
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    @elfutok After you'll upload it via desktop/laptop, you can view it in your mobile phone browser

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  • RE: Your map uploads

    Tropical Cyclone Belna Warning #11 (JTWC)



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    Tropical Cyclone Belna Warning 10 (JTWC)



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  • Tropical Cyclone Belna updates
    • Update: At 9:00 p.m. UTC, the center of Tropical Cyclone Belna (02S) was located near 17.0S 44.7E, approx. 430 NM northeast of Europa Island, and has tracked south-southwestward at 9 knots (kts) over the past six hours. Animated Enhanced Infrared (EIR) satellite imagery reveals a 125 NM central dense overcast feature and radial outflow located over northern Madagascar.

      Around 1:30 p.m. UTC, Tropical Cyclone Belna formed a small eye and underwent a brief period of intensification prior to landfall. However, by 4:00 p.m. UTC, the eye filled. The initial position is set with good confidence based on turning in the eir imagery supported by an extrapolation of the microwave eye feature observed in a 3:23 p.m. SSMIS 91 ghz microwave image.

      The initial intensity is set at 75 kts based on the weakening convective structure of the system due to land interaction. The system remains in a favorable environment of good radial outflow and low (5-10 kt) vertical wind shear (VWS).

      Belna is tracking along the western periphery of a subtropical ridge (STR) to the east. In the near-term, TC Belna will track south-southwest along the coastline as it continues to weaken. The system is expected to briefly track over coastal waters with sea surface temperatures of 28-30 celsius, which may allow for a short period of slight intensification.

      Between TAUs 24 and 36, the system will round the STR axis and turn to a southeastward track for the remainder of the forecast period. land interaction with the terrain of Madagascar will cause Belna to dissipate. Notably, a remnant circulation may track off of Madagascar and emerge over the southern Indian Ocean.

      The JTWC track forecast is placed to the east of multi-model consensus to offset a western outlier (UKMET ensemble). Overall, the models are in good agreement with a model spread of 97 NM at TAU 48, lending fair confidence to the JTWC track forecast (Warning #11). photo:JTWC;desc:Tropical Cyclone Belna forecast cone (Warning #11);

    • Update We've uploaded the latest JTWC forecast cone. Click here to view the latest TC Belna cone (warning #11) on any Windy layer.

    Previous Belna coverage

    Tropical Cyclone Belna has made landfall near town of Soalala in northern Madagascar. Belna was strengthening in the last several hours with winds of 90 mph (145 km/h), gusting to 115 mph (185 km/h), with a pressure of 978 mb. Rapid weakening is expected over land.

    Although Belna is small in size, the areas along the northwestern coast could see damaging winds, heavy rain, flooding and storm surge. Moisture from the storm could also fuel heavy rain in other parts of the country.

    Landfall of Tropical Cyclone Belna

    Tropical Cyclone Belna Satellite Imagery

    photo:JTWC;desc:Tropical Cyclone Belna Warning #11;

    photo:JTWC/SATOPS;desc:Tropical Cyclone Belna on 9 December 2019 at 6 a.m. UTC;


    posted in Articles
  • Tropical Cyclone Ambali reached its peak and has been quickly weakening

    Tropical Cyclone Ambali reached its peak early on Dec. 6 and has been quickly weakening. NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the Southern Indian Ocean storm after it weakened from its powerful peak intensity.

    photo:NASA Worldview;desc:On Dec. 6, 2019, the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ambali as it started weakening in the Southern Indian Ocean.

    At 4 a.m. EST (0900 UTC) on Dec. 6 Ambali was a Category 4 hurricane equivalent on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale with maximum sustained winds near 135 knots (155 mph/250 kph). By 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Dec. 6, those winds had dropped by 45 knots (52 mph/83 kph).

    It was after that drop in sustained wind speed on Dec. 6, 2019, the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Ambali.

    The eye of the storm was difficult to pinpoint in the MODIS image, which indicated a rapid weakening from its previous status. Animated enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a rapidly decaying system with cycling convection wrapping into an embedded low-level circulation center.

    At 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Dec. 6, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC noted that Tropical Cyclone Ambali was located near 11.7 degrees south latitude and 62.1 degrees east longitude. That is about 583 nautical miles north-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius. Maximum sustained winds 90 knots (104 mph/167 kph). The storm is on weakening trend now that will lead to its demise by Dec. 10.

    Forecasters at the JTWC Ambali will move south-southwest and appears to have reached peak intensity. The storm is expected to dissipate after three days.

    NASA’s Aqua satellite is one in a fleet of NASA satellites that provide data for hurricane research.

    Tropical cyclones are the most powerful weather event on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting.

    Rob Gutro
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


    posted in Articles
  • NASA Analyzes Kammuri’s Heavy Rainfall from Space

    NASA provided analyses of Typhoon Kammuri’s heavy rainfall on its track through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean using the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite.

    photo:NASA GSFC;desc:GPM instrument image of rainfall rates in Kammuri

    Instantaneous surface rain rates (mm/hr) associated with Typhoon Kammuri derived from the Dual-polarization Radar onboard the GPM core satellite at 18:27 UTC 29 November 2019 (3:27 am Palau Time, PWT, 30 November) when the storm was moving westward through the central Philippine Sea. GPM showed areas of moderate to heavy rain (shown in yellow, orange and red, respectively) organized into loose bands rotating around the northern and western side of the storm. Image from NASA GSFC using GPM data archived at https://pps.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

    While the Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, Typhoon Kammuri (known as Tisoy in the Philippines), which recently struck the central Philippines as a powerful Category 4 typhoon, is a reminder that the Pacific typhoon season is not yet over.

    In fact, while typhoon season does peak from around June through November, similar to the Atlantic, typhoons can occur throughout the year in the Pacific.

    History of Kammuri

    Kammuri first formed into a tropical depression from an area of low pressure on the 25th of November north of Micronesia in the west central Pacific about 500 miles southeast of Guam.

    Kammuri intensified slowly and was still a tropical storm when the center passed about 130 miles south of Guam on the evening of Dec. 26.

    As the storm made its way through the eastern and central Philippine Sea over the next few days it was kept in check at times by moderate wind shear and hovered around typhoon intensity.

    photo:NASA GSFC;desc:GPM IMERG data of rainfall accumulations in Kammuri

    Typhoon Kammuri’s surface rainfall accumulations estimated from the NASA IMERG from Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. EST to Dec 3 at 10 p.m. EST. Heaviest rains were over the central Philippine Sea where the cyclone stalled. Those were well over 500 mm (~20 inches, in red). Most of the central Philippines, including southern Luzon, received up to 150 mm or more (over 6 inches, light blue areas) with the highest amounts over the northern half of the island of Samar where rainfall totals ranged from 250 to 350 mm (~10 to 14 inches, shown in yellow and light orange). Credit: NASA GSFC using IMERG data/with the Giovanni online data system, developed and maintained by the NASA GES DISC.

    Analyzing Kammuri’s Rainfall from Space

    During this period, the GPM core satellite overflew the storm. The first image was taken at on Nov. 29, 2019 at 1:27 p.m. EST (18:27 UTC/Nov. 30, 2019 at 3:27 a.m. local Palau Time, PWT) and shows surface rain rates within Kammuri from the GPM Dual-polarization Radar (DPR) when the storm was about 800 miles east of the Philippines.

    At the time, Kammuri was a Category 1 typhoon with sustained winds estimated at 85 mph by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

    GPM, a satellite managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, showed areas of moderate to heavy rain organized into loose bands rotating around the northern and western side of the storm.

    The eye, which is located along the right side of the image, was identifiable by the curvature in the inner rain bands, but the eyewall itself appeared rather weak.

    These features are consistent with Kammuri having a well-developed though not yet powerful circulation. That would change over the next few days as Kammuri began to approach the Philippines.

    Initially, Kammuri weakened slightly after the time of the GPM overpass, but then on the evening of December 1 (local time), the storm began a rapid deepening cycle and intensified from a Category 1 typhoon with sustained winds estimated at 80 mph by JTWC at 12:00 UTC (7 a.m. EST/9:00 pm PWT) on the Dec. 1 to a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph just 24 hours later. It was at this time that Kammuri made its first landfall in the Philippines around 11:00 p.m. local time near Gubat in the Bicol region in the Province of Sorsogon along the southeastern tip of Luzon.

    As it continued on westward through the central Philippines, Kammuri weakened, crossing the island of Mindoro as a Category 2 storm before exiting the Philippines into the eastern South China Sea.

    IMERG Finds Heavy Rains in the Philippines

    In addition to its powerful winds, Kammuri brought heavy rains to the Philippines. IMERG, the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM, is a unified satellite precipitation product produced by NASA to estimate surface precipitation over most of the globe. IMERG is managed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    With IMERG, precipitation estimates from the GPM core satellite are used to calibrate precipitation estimates from microwave and infrared sensors on other satellites to produce half-hourly precipitation maps at 0.1o horizontal resolution.

    IMERG surface rainfall accumulations for the period from Nov. 25 through Dec. 3 for the Philippines and the surrounding region from the time when Kammuri first became a tropical depression southeast of Guam until it had passed over Mindoro and into the South China Sea.

    The heaviest rains associated with Kammuri by far are off shore, especially over the central Philippine Sea where the cyclone stalled for a period producing rainfall totals well over 500 mm (~20 inches).

    Over land, most of the central Philippines, including southern Luzon, received on the order of 150 mm or more (over 6 inches) with the highest amounts over the northern half of the island of Samar where rainfall totals are on the order of 250 to 350 mm (~10 to 14 inches).

    So far, Kammuri is being blamed for up to 17 fatalities in the Philippines. After leaving the Philippines, Kammuri weakened significantly and is expected to weaken even further and dissipate as the cyclone is sheared apart and driven southward by the northeast monsoon.

    Kammuri’s Status on Dec. 5

    On Dec. 5 at 4 a.m. EST (0900 UTC), Tropical Storm Kammuri was in the South China Sea and was dealing with adverse atmospheric conditions, which were weakening the storm. It was centered near latitude 13.8 degrees north and longitude 113.7 degrees east, about 340 nautical miles east-southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam. Kammuri was moving to the southwest and had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/65 kph), making it a Category 1 tropical storm.

    Kammuri continues to weaken and is expected to dissipate soon.

    Steve Lang
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


    posted in Articles