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Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch

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Oklahoma Wildfires

Posted On: April 16, 2018 - By: Barbra Lashbrook

Over the weekend, there have been several wildfires in western Oklahoma. The US Drought MonitorĀ , as of 12 April 2018, has Oklahoma experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions. Refer to the US drought monitor image of Oklahoma, below.


The fires in Oklahoma have burned over 300,000 acres as of 16 April 2018. Using the Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and NOAA-20 satellites, one can see the evolution of the fires during the nighttime. Below, is the Near-Constant Contrast (NCC), a derived product of the Day/Night Band (DNB), that utilizes a sun/moon reflectance model that illuminates atmospheric features, and senses emitted and reflected light sources during the nighttime. S-NPP and NOAA-20 are approximately 50-minutes apart, and produced satellite imagery between 7-10Z, 14 April 2018. The NCC imagery is at 750-m spatial resolution, and imagery is produced during no moonlight conditions (during new moon phase of the lunar cycle). Refer to the NCC video below.

*Note the NOAA-20 data is currently non-operational as the data is going through operational testing and evaluation.*

Notice the emitted city lights from Oklahoma City, OK and the variance an emitted lights produced by the fires. But the question becomes, how can one tell what is emitted light from the fire and what is emitted light from the cities and towns? This is where the infrared imagery band (I-4, 3.74um) comes into play. The I-4 band senses anomalous hot spots from fires, compared to the ambient environment. I-4 band data is displayed in brightness temperatures, in degrees Kelvin and is at 375-m spatial resolution. Refer to the infrared video below, from 7-10Z, 14 April 2018.

Notice, the I-4 band can clearly see where the fires are located (red and black colors). The relatively warm bodies of water (orange colors), and nearby cloud cover (blue and white colors) can also be seen by the imagery band.

To receive more updates on the Oklahoma wildfires, refer to the following InciWeb site.

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