Power plant CO2 CH4. Credit: Николай Григорьев

Power station plumes in Czechia and Germany

25 December 2006 00:00 UTC

Power plant CO2 CH4. Credit: Николай Григорьев
Power plant CO2 CH4. Credit: Николай Григорьев

The image shows a NOAA 15 night-time RGB composite image (night microphysics). The black arrows point to plumes generated by power stations.

Last Updated

04 May 2023

Published on

24 December 2006

By Martin Setvak (CHMI)

See also: 18–19 December 2006, NOAA 17 image, source: M. Setvak.

The yellow pink colour (green in some of the linked images below) of the plumes results from different plume microphysics - smaller size of the droplets inside the plume. Smaller size means lower emissivity and thus lower brightness temperature in the AVHRR band 3b (IR3.7) as compared to the AVHRR bands 4 and 5 (see also images from 02:14 UTC, 04:24 UTC and 06:04 UTC, source: M. Setvak). In the black and white band 4 image there is no trace of these plumes, while band 3b image shows these as slightly brighter (colder).

In contrast, the 'plume' labelled with a yellow arrow has a natural origin. North winds induce a lee wave south of Krkonoše Mountains (at the Czech/Polish border), which generates small particles that are then carried downwind, to the south. Another lee wave phenomenon is labeled with a blue arrow. Here, the Jeseníky Mountains generate a ship-wave pattern within which the stratus clouds are dissolved, and at the same time several lee wave clouds are formed.

The animation of the 24-hour cloud microphysics RGB composite (24 Dec. 09:00 UTC–25 Dec. 15:00 UTC, source: M. Setvak) documents significant temporal variability of all of these phenomena. Also notice the ship-wave pattern south of the Tatra mountains (Slovak/Polish border), and the blocking effect of the Alps.

Figure 1: NOAA 15, AVHRR, 25 December 2006, 05:21 UTC

Additional content

Animation Met-8 24-hour Cloud Microphysics RGB, (24 Dec. 09:90 UTC–25 Dec. 15:00 UTC, source: M. Setvak)