Smoke plumes near Vesuvius

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On 11 July 2017 both Meteosat-10 and Suomi-NPP saw impressive smoke displays from the wildfires on the flanks of Vesuvius in Italy.

Smoke plumes near Vesuvius
Date & Time
11 July 2017 04:30 UTC–12 July 17:30 UTC
Meteosat-10, Suomi-NPP
High Resolution Visible, Infrared Channel, Day-Night Band

By HansPeter Roesli (Switzerland)

The plume and hotspots indicating fires could be seen on the composite imagery of the Meteosat-10 HRV channel and channel IR3.7 (temperature >320 K), from 11 July 2017 04:30 UTC–12 July 17:30 UTC (MP4, 4 MB). It can also be seen on this animation that the smoke plume started to expand around 10:00 UTC on 11 July. Figure 1 (top right, click to expand), from 11 July 13:15 UTC, shows both the plume and more fires along the western coast of Calabria, Italy.

Figure 2 shows two enhanced composites using the two VIIRS bands Day-Night Band (DNB) and IR3.74 (I4) at spatial resolutions of 750 m and 375 m, respectively.

Figure 2
Figure 2: Enhanced Suomi-NPP VIIRS composite of bands Day-Night Band (DNB) and IR3.74 (I4)

The left-hand panel is the night scene prior to the big wildfires on Vesuvius (overnight 10–11 July). The right-hand panel is the scene after the fire outbreak (overnight 11–12 July). The lights of the heavily urbanised area of Napoli stand out very well on both panels. But a dark circular island east of the 'Napoli' label in the left panel can also be seen — the unlit slopes of Vesuvius. On the right-hand panel bright pixels populated this area on the image, stemming from the fires.

The DNB scenes are overlaid with an orange hue coming from the temperature of band IR3.74, with the hot spots in the darkest yellow. On the right-hand panel a 'ring of fires' appears over Vesuvius, whereas the night before only a couple of fire pixels could be seen at the foot of the mountain in the south-western sector.

Other isolated hot spots mark other local wild fires, in particular over region of Campagna in the second night.

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