Aurora Views from Space

Published 12 days ago

Exciting nighttime visible images are now routinely retrieved and processed by GINA from the VIIRS sensor aboard the SNPP polar satellite. The VIIRS sensor has a Day Night Band (DNB) that allows detection of visible light at ‘night’.  The DNB is highly sensitive in the visible range so that faint light sources such as moonlight, the Aurora, and city lights can illuminate clouds. Although its primary purpose is for helping the Alaska National Weather Service to track clouds, the light from an active Aurora can often “steal the spotlight”, so to speak. The images below were produced by combining DNB and Infrared channels from the VIIRS sensor into a color composite. 


Wildfire and satellites: Eric Stevens and @DaveSnider discuss...

Published 18 days ago

Wildfire and satellites: Eric Stevens and @DaveSnider discuss how satellite imagery is used during wildfire season on NWS TV show, Alaska Weather Facts. 


GINA's Puffin Feeder Captures the First Winter Storm of 2015 in Barrow Alaska

Published 3 months ago

GINA’s Puffin Feeder is a website designed to provide a near real-time data feeds.  One of those feeds is the UAF-GI Sea Ice Group’s webcam images and animations looking north over the Arctic Ocean coast of Barrow, AK.  Last week, on August 27th, the NWS issued the first 2015 Winter Storm Warning for Barrow. The storm that ensued resulted in coastal flooding as can be seen in photos taken by an NWS employee the morning of the 27th (see below).

Thanks to GINA System Analyst Greg Wirth who brought our attention to the fact that the Barrow webcam feed caught the entire storm and flooding event in 5 minute increments.  The storm swell can be witnessed in the animation as it breaches the seawall and floods coastal buildings and roads. But what is even more impressive in the animation is the skillful, prompt and efficient reaction of Emergency Services personnel in Barrow.  Teams of with heavy equipment can be seen rushing into action to repair several segments of broken seawall, all the while with the storm and sea raging around them.  The 24 hour animation as well as a descriptive series of still webcam photos are also posted below the NWS site photo.    

GINA’s Puffin Feeder is located at  If you visit today and check out the most recent webcam still photo, you can see that the seawall has been significantly reinforced since the 27th. Great Job!

Additional background information about Puffin Feeder can be found at

NWS photo of high water in Barrow, AK taken on the morning of 8/27/2015.

Barrow webcam still taken at 8:34pm on 8/26/2015 - the day before the storm.

Barrow webcam still taken at 7:09AM on 8/27/2015 showing initial storm-surge.

Barrow webcam still taken at 11:09AM on 8/27/2015 showing the flooded van that also visible in NWS photo above.

Barrow webcam still taken at 12:04PM on 8/27/2015 showing storm-surge inundation.

Barrow webcam still taken at 1:14PM on 8/27/2015 showing initial emergency response.

Barrow webcam still taken at 2:40PM on 8/27/2015 showing continued emergency response.

Barrow webcam still taken at 5:50PM on 8/27/2015 showing the seawall pretty well restored.

Barrow webcam still taken at 12:05PM on 8/31/2015 showing fully restored and built up seawall. 

Link: Full 8/27/2015 time-lapse animation on GINA’s Puffin Feeder

- Pete

Mapping international claims to the Arctic seabed (article at...

Published 3 months ago

Mapping international claims to the Arctic seabed (article at


The Land of 10,000 Fires | Seeing the Light

Published 5 months ago The Land of 10,000 Fires | Seeing the Light:

Alaska wildfire from VIIRS–a nice post by our CIRA colleague, Curtis Seaman. 

The air quality in Fairbanks due to wildfire smoke has been quite poor lately.


Fire season is in full swing in Alaska.Above you can see a map...

Published 5 months ago

View from UAF west ridge campus into the smoke - July 7th, 2015

Fire season is in full swing in Alaska.

Above you can see a map of Alaska’s current fire situation showing the current 7 day satellite fire detections and yesterday’s SNPP VIIRS image of Alaska.  

The smoke you can see launching in the July 6th image have slammed into Fairbanks in an impressive way today in the second photo taken from a west ridge turn out on upper campus. You can barely see the UAF Museum in the center of the image and can’t see the traffic circle at the bottom hill.  

The last image is a screen cap from the State of Alaska’s DEC Division of Air Quality sensor for Fairbanks showing an extreme spike in particulate matter (smoke)  which is creating a very unhealthy environment for those of us with lungs.

You can see the latest satellite imagery from GINA on our Feeder website at: 

The SNPP image is available at:

The 7 day fire detections are from GINA via our partners at the USDA Fire Service.  You can grab the  MODIS and VIIRS 7 day fire detections and GIS shapefiles from the following locations:

You can check out latest air quality for Station 17 (fairbanks) at DEC’s website: