Hot, dry Santa Ana winds began blowing through the Los Angeles and San Diego areas on Sunday October 21, 2007. Wind speeds ranging from 30 to 50 mph were measured in the area, with extremely low relative humidities. These winds, coupled with exceptionally dry conditions due to lack of rainfall resulted in a number of fires in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, causing the evacuation of more than 250,000 people.
These two images show the Southern California coast from Los Angeles to San Diego from two of the nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on the NASA EOS Terra satellite. These images were obtained around 11:35 a.m. PDT on Sunday morning, October 21, 2007 and show a number of plumes extending out over the Pacific ocean. In addition, locations identified as potential hot spots from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the same satellite are outlined in red.
The left image is from MISR's nadir looking camera and the plumes appear very faint. The image on the right is from MISR's 60° forward looking camera, which accentuates the amount of light scattered by aerosols in the atmosphere, including smoke and dust. Both these images are false color and contain information from MISR's red, green, blue and near-infrared wavelengths, which makes vegetated land appear greener than it would naturally. Notice in the right hand image that the color of the plumes associated with the MODIS hot spots is bluish, while plumes not associated with hot spots appear more yellow. This is because the latter plumes are composed of dust kicked up by the strong Santa Ana winds. In some locations along Interstate 5 on this date, visibility was severely reduced due to blowing dust. MISR's multiangle and multispectral capability give it the ability to distinguish smoke from dust in this situation.
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer observes the daylit Earth continuously and every 9 days views the entire globe between 82 degrees north and 82 degrees south latitude. These images were generated from a portion of the imagery acquired during Terra orbit 41713, and use data from blocks 63 to 66 within World Reference System-2 path 40.
MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.