Ever wonder why the ocean in VIIRS true color images isn’t blue? It is because these images are not pictures, but generated from a variety of surface reflectance and radiation measurements. The ocean acts like a black body, absorbing most of the visible light and radiating energy in the near-infrared to longwave infrared spectrums.
NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument captured this cloud-free view of Lake Nasser, Egypt on November 28, 2017. Straddling the border of Egypt and Sudan, the lake is one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the world, and forms part of the Aswan Dam built across the Nile River in the 1960s. Cloud-free images of the lake are quite common, as the arid region lies in one of Earth's subsidence zones, where sinking air in the Sahara Desert limits the formation of clouds and precipitation.
The polar-orbiting NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured this view of Northern California last night (December 3, 2017). Illuminated by the bright supermoon, features like the clouds and landscape usually only detected in daylight by the VIIRS sensor, appear here in stunning detail. The bright cluster of San Francisco's city lights are also visible in the image.
On December 5, 2017 around 1:07 am PST the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured the fast moving active fires in Ventura County spreading toward the coast due to strong Santa Ana Wind events. Evacuations have been ordered and an estimated 31,000 acres are currently burning.
Fast-moving fires ignited this week in parts of Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, California. Heavy brush and strong dry Santa Ana Winds have fueled the active blazes, with expectant wind speeds reaching 80 mph. The largest Thomas Fire, Creek Fire and Rye Fire have so far burned a combined total of over 83,000 acres in two days (12/5/2017 - 12/6/2017). This image was created by combining three of the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite's high resolution thermal and visible channels from the VIIRS sensor (SVI 4,2,1).
This image, captured by the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, shows the unique landscape of the border region separating Morocco and Algeria. The north African mountain range shapes local weather separating the Saharan and Mediterranean zones. This color-enhanced image was created with VIIRS high resolution bands 2, 3, and 4. The yellow colors in this image relate to the hotter surface temperatures of the sandy desert areas, whereas the colder higher elevation mountain and rock areas are blue/green.
NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP satellite captured this image of an unusual early-season snow that fell across the South on December 9, 2017. A winter storm over the eastern United States delivered arctic air and record-setting snowfall in some areas, with measurable snow occurring as far south as Brownsville, Texas. This image shows areas with snow on the ground in the wake of the storm, mainly in the highlands of Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina and into central Virginia.
The Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument took this image of smoke from California's wildfires being drawn northward into an approaching storm system off the U.S. Pacific Coast on December 11, 2017. The beige-colored smoke is visible in the lower-center portion of this image, while the comma-shaped storm system, known as a mid-latitude cyclone, is seen just to the west. Southerly winds ahead of the storm are pushing wildfire smoke several hundred miles northward, parallel to the coastline.
Twenty-five days after JPSS-1 (NOAA-20) was launched into Earth orbit, the satellite sent back its first Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) science data on December 13, 2017, as part of a series of instrument activations and checkouts taking place before the satellite goes into fully operational mode. This VIIRS true color image captured the aggressive wildfires across Southern California which have forced thousands to flee their homes.
The NOAA-20 polar-orbiting satellite's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sent back its first day-night band images twenty-five days after the satellite was launched. In this image, captured December 13, 2017, the bright lights of urban centers such as Tokyo and Seoul stand out in sharp contrast to more rural land areas and dark ocean surfaces. The glow of fishing vessels off the coast of South Korea is also clearly visible.