Blog

Spring is in the Air

Published 16 days ago

With days getting longer and daily high temperatures tending to occur in the afternoons as opposed to at random hours day or night, spring breakup in Alaska cannot be far away.   GINA receives satellite data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), and this data is then turned into several kinds of satellite imagery useful for the National Weather Service (NWS). 

One such product, shown below, is designed to highlight floods associated with spring breakup.  This is a screen capture from the NWS’ operational workstation at the River Forecast Center in Anchorage.  The big image is derived from GINA’s VIIRS data.  Since Alaska is still mostly covered with snow, this product is still mostly white.  But as the snow melts, the white will recede, and any overland flooding will be shown in hot colors ranging from yellow to fire-engine red.  

Get your breakup boots out of the closet and stand by for further updates as Spring Breakup 2017 gets underway.

–Eric

Holy Mackerel, Look at Those Clouds

Published 26 days ago
image

The Suomi National Partnership Program (S-NPP) weather satellite flies over Alaska several times a day, and shortly before noon on Saturday, February 25 caught the above image highlighting the classic “mackerel sky” over Alaska’s Interior composed of parallel rows of altocumulus clouds.  

While snow, clouds, and ice all appear white to the human eye, the wavelengths of light and energy detected by the S-NPP weather satellite can be combined to depict clouds as pink, and snow and ice on the ground appear as cyan. In scenarios like this, the lower the clouds are, the more pink they look.  Clouds at higher elevations appear wispier and include overtones of white or even blue tints. A zoomed version of the image is included below and better shows these amazing clouds.

image

This type of satellite imagery requires that sunshine bounce off the clouds and the landscape, so as the sun returns to Alaska with the transition from winter to spring, this kind of satellite imagery will be available more and more often.  

For additional examples of this imagery, and other kinds of imagery as well, check out GINA’s “Puffin Feeder” website at http://feeder.gina.alaska.edu/  More information about the S-NPP satellite and the new series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites to be launched in the future can be found at the website http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/ 

–Eric Stevens

Extended: Reduced satellite data and network outage for GINA to NOAA/NESDIS FCDAS

Published about 1 month ago

We are having problems bringing up the WAN network link between the NESDIS FCDAS facility and UAF campus. Unfortunately, the outage and reduced availability of satellite data will continue until tomorrow (Feb. 23). We hope to have the problem fixed in the morning. 

Reduced satellite data and network outage for GINA to NOAA/NESDIS FCDAS

Published about 1 month ago

GINA Near Real Time Satellite Users,

Starting at 11am Alaska Time on Wednesday February 22, 2017, the NOAA/NESDIS FCDAS facility feeding GINA hosted satellite data sets will undergo a scheduled power outage.  During this outage there will be a reduced number of satellite passes available for the NWS and partners.

The network link between UAF-GINA and FCDAS will also experience a short outage for maintenance during the power outage.

The power outage is anticipated to last no longer than 6 hours (ending at 5pm Alaska Time).

For updated information, follow GINA at http://twitter.com/uafgina <http://twitter.com/uafgina>

Questions and concerns regarding this outage should be forwarded to support@gina.alaska.edu <mailto:support@gina.alaska.edu>.

Thank you,

GINA Near Real Time Satellite Ops Team

Outage Notice: Web Mapping Services shut down.

Published about 1 month ago

UAF-GINA will shut down public web services hosted on AlaskaMapped.org on March 1st, 2017. This will affect the GINA BDL, SDMI Ortho, GINA USGS Topographic Maps, Nautical Charts, and other data layers hosted publicly on AlaskaMapped.org. More details: http://alaskamapped.org/era.

We understand this is a very short time for the user community to be made aware of this change. We will immediately begin burning notice overlays into tile and WMS services to alert the user community. The transition period is limited, but we will do what we can to help users move on to the new service provider.

The Alaska Geospatial Council (AGC) has selected to transfer imagery services to a contract with a commercial provider to distribute the Alaska Statewide imagery (SDMI ortho) web services. The contractor, GeoNorth, is a long time partner and an active contributor to the state’s imagery program. GeoNorth has partnered with the UAF Alaska Satellite Facility and Terra Pixel, LLC to provide the AGC’s Geospatial Imagery Services for the next two years.

We will update this space here with contact and transition details once GeoNorth, ASF, Terra Pixel are officially awarded the contact and can provide points of contact and transition details.

We have enjoyed serving you, the mapping community in Alaska, for the past decade. In partnership with great users like you, we’ve grown our now extremely popular open standards web services from a handful of users and products to a service used by thousands every month, drawing a map to a user screen every second, around the clock. We’ve served you more than one hundred million maps, and this work became core to our mission. We’re proud to have worked with you over the past ten years, incorporating your feedback and data to make our services to you, the Alaska mapping community, better. It’s been fun. Thanks for helping us along the way.

More details: http://alaskamapped.org/era.

Sincerely, the GINA team

“Too Many Lights, Too Many Sources”  ...or...  “Who Put the Bogus in Bogoslof?”

Published about 1 month ago

As described in this blog post, https://uafgina.tumblr.com/post/155398902124/volcanoes-aurora-and-clouds-oh-my, during hours of darkness, the Day Night Band detects visible light from a number of sources including reflected moonlight, the northern lights, city lights, ships, and even volcanoes.  

Satellite imagery, and not just the Day Night Band, has been used before to identify volcanoes.  For example, here’s a blog post from the University of Wisconsin showing imagery capturing the eruption of Pavlof Volcano in 2014. http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/archives/17179

So one might ask, is it possible to see a bright spot from Bogoslof Volcano in Day Night Band imagery?  It turns out this is unlikely.  Dave Schneider of the USGS’ Alaska Volcano Observatory mentions that the business end of Bogoslof Volcano, its “vent,” is under water and is thus not able to shine particularly brightly from the point of view of a weather satellite.  But wait, then what’s that bright spot in the Day Night Band imagery if it is not a volcano?  It turns out this is actually the town of Unalaska.  As shown in the map below, Bogoslof is about 35 miles northwest of Unalaska Island, and if you’re not careful, the lights of the small town of Unalaska could be mistaken for the lights of a volcano’s vent…and that is exactly the error in the previous blog post.  

Just this very morning Bogoslof got out of bed in a bad mood, perhaps upset about recent inaccuracies in this blog, and unleashed an explosive eruption sending a volcanic cloud up to 30,000 ft.  For the latest information on developments at Bogoslof, please consult the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s web site https://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Bogoslof.php

Also, a general description of Bogoslof is available at this link http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/volcinfo.php?volcname=Bogoslof