Category: EOG

Power Outage in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Fiona

by Tilottama Ghosh

Red Band: JPSS NPP VIIRS DNB February 2022 monthly cloud free composite

Green Band: JPSS NPP VIIRS DNB visible band

Blue Band: JPSS NPP VIIRS DNB inverted M15 thermal band

The areas of power outage are shown in red, normal power supply in yellow, and the clouds and terrain are shown in blue.

On September 15th, power supply was ‘normal’ in Puerto Rico. Increasing cloud cover was seen September 16th onwards, till Hurricane Fiona made landfall on September 18th. The cloud cover remained heavy till September 21st making it difficult to get a ‘clear’ view of the power outage. The September 22nd RGB image shows the power outage in red. This is confirmed by the Reuters report that 1.1. million homes are still without power in Puerto Rico (

Cuban Fuel Depot Fire Causes Energy Crisis

By Elijah Mt. Castle

A fuel storage depot in Matanzas, Cuba burned for 5 days. The fire destroyed 4 crude oil tankers in the port which made up 40% of the country’s reserves. The oil in Matanzas is mainly used for generating electricity. The country has already been experiencing blackouts in the last months and shortages on gasoline and other items. The fire was started by a lightning strike igniting one of the tanks and quickly spread to the others. Mexican and Venezuelan fire teams have assisted the Cuban government in combating the fire. Large oil fires like this one can cause many health issues. Citizens as far as Havana, ~100 km(62mi) away, have been advised to wear face masks. The massive smoke cloud, observable in the map, can also cause acid rain which can cause and irritate respiratory problems. Pictured are the VNF detections for August 6th-8th 2022. Pictured with the map is the Planck curve for the August 6th detection. The detection had a temperature of 1171 K (1648 F).


Silo Fire at Site of Former Explosion In Beirut

By Elijah Mt. Castle

There is a grain silo fire burning in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut. The age of the grain has caused it to begin fermenting, adding alcohol to the fire. The blaze started in early July and has been continuously burning. The fire is currently being allowed to smolder for fear that any fire suppression efforts would cause the silos to collapse from their previous damage. The port city of Beirut was rocked by a deadly explosion on August 4th, 2020.  It was heard in the neighboring country of Cyprus 240km (150 mi) away. The explosion was caused by the unsafe storage of ammonium nitrate. The resulting blast had a force equivalent to 1 kilotons of TNT, the same force as the first nuclear bombs. The explosion took place on the docks next to the now burning silos creating a crater that was quickly filled by the sea. 218 deaths were reported and over 7000 injuries were logged. The 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were seized from an abandoned Moldovan cargo ship 6 years prior. There were allegations of fireworks and other explosive materials also being stored improperly at the site. The current fire does not pose any threat to any structure outside of the damaged silos themselves. Pictured are the VNF detections for July 12th and 13th 2022. The fire is burning on the inside of the concrete silos, so only a few detections were noticed during the fire. Pictured with the map is the Planck curve and auxiliary data for the July 13th detection, which had a recorded temperature of 1395K (2050 F). Due to the satellite pixel size, the detections aren’t located directly at the silo location.

Wildfire in Yosemite National Park

By Elijah Mt. Castle

The Washburn Fire burning in the southern tip of Yosemite National Park is threatening the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees. The grove contains 500 giant trees some of which are more than 2,000 years old. As a preventative measure, sprinklers have been installed around the grove. The Grizzly Giant, the largest in the Mariposa grove, received its own set of sprinklers. The iconic tree is the second largest in the park and stands at 209 feet tall. Sequoia trees are the largest living organisms in the world by volume they can live for thousands of years and continue to grow for their entire lifespans. Despite having thick fire resistant bark, they can still be damaged or killed by fire. The National Park Service is working tirelessly to combat the Washburn Fire. Removing brush and other fuels around the grove will hamper the fire spreading. The fire is currently burning in a heavily ticketed and hilly region that is hampering fire suppression efforts. High temperatures and dry conditions have allowed the fire grow to over 2,000 acres as of July 11th. The fire started on July 7th and the cause is currently being investigated. Pictured are the VNF detections for July 7th – 11th, 2022. Also pictured is the VIIRS SNPP average radiances for July 9th, 2022.

Wildfire in Cyprus

By Elijah Mt. Castle

There is a large wildfire in northern Cyprus. Started by a vehicle fire it quickly spread to over 10,000 acres. Fire crews have been sent by Israel, Turkey, the UN, the UK, and the Republic of Cyprus to help fight the blaze. Cyprus has a rich history and complicated geo-politics. Cyprus had been settled and controlled by many different empires including the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and the Turks. Northern Cyprus is under the de facto control of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(TRNC). This state is only recognized by one nation in the UN, Turkey. The TNRC declared independence in 1983 after a coup d’état in 1974 attempting to annex the island to Greece. This sparked the Turkish invasion of the northern island and the eviction of Greek Cypriots from the north. International sanctions on the state force it be economically dependent on Turkey. A United Nations controlled line divides the two areas for the reason of peacekeeping. Two British military bases exist on the southern coast of the island. The Republic of Cyprus in the south has lent firefighting aircraft to help fight the blaze. The Republic’s spokesperson referred to the assistance as “fire diplomacy”. The fire has threatened several villages in the area, but locals were able to carve fire-lines with tractors to prevent damage. Pictured are the VNF detections for June 22nd and 23rd, 2022. Also pictured is the VIIRS SNPP average radiances for June 22nd, 2022. The claimed area of the TRNC is pictured along with the Republic of Cyprus.

Wildfires in Arizona

By Elijah Mt. Castle
There are multiple fires burning north of Flagstaff Arizona. The fires are burning in Coconino National Forest. They threaten multiple communities, schools, and cultural landmarks.
The Pipeline fire started on the 12th of June. It has burned over 20,000 acres. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation; however, one person has been arrested by the U.S. Forest Service in connection to the fire. The Pipeline fire caused the evacuation of over 2,000 homes in the surrounding area. The fire is now 33% contained and only one home has been destroyed.
The Haywire fire started on 12th as well. The cause is also unknown, but it is suspected that it was caused by lightning from a passing storm. It has burned over 5,000 acres. The fire has caused around 280 evacuations. The haywire has merged with the Double fire that started around the same time. The fire is not contained.
Pictured are the VNF detections for June 13th – 15th, 2022. Also pictured are the SNPP VIIRS Day/night Radiances for June 13th.

Chinese Fishing Fleet Returns Yearly to Argentina

By Elijah Mt. Castle
A Chinese fishing fleet has returned to the waters around Argentina. This fleet has returned year after year to fish outside of Argentina’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ). The coastal waters inside of the EEZ are biodiverse and home to the second largest squid fishery in the world. Around half of the world’s shortfin squid is caught within Argentina’s waters. The shortfin squid market can generate upwards of $2.4 billion dollars a year. While legal to fish outside of the 200-mile EEZ, portions of the fishing fleet will fish illegally within Argentina’s EEZ. The fishing vessels will turn off their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) to cross over the EEZ border and fish in Argentinian waters. These illegal fishing practices are estimated to produce upwards of $36 billion globally. Of the fishing vessels near Argentina 69% are Chinese, the other portions being made up of South Korean, Taiwanese, and Spanish vessels. The main type of vessel used is the squid jigger. These types of vessels use lights to attract squids to the surface that then get snagged on the many fishing lines/hooks. Pictured are the VIIRS Day/Night Band average radiances for April 2019-2022.

Largest Wildfires in New Mexico’s History

By Elijah Mt. Castle

Wildfire season has started early in New Mexico. Multiple wildfires have been burning in the state since April. These fires have surpassed the largest fires in New Mexico’s history. Dry conditions, high winds, and the number of fires have hindered fire suppression. Fortunately, most of the wildfires are either contained or approaching containment.

  • The Cooks Peak Fire started on May 13th. It is now 100% contained but is still actively burning. It has burned 59,000 acres and its cause is unknown at this time.
  • The largest wildfire, Hermits Peak, started as two separate fires: a prescribed burn that became uncontrolled on April 6th; and a holdover fire from January that reemerged around the same time. Hermits Peak is the largest fire in New Mexico’s history with a total area burned at 315,000 acres.
  • Cerro Pelado began on April 22nd and its cause is still unknown. It has burned 45,000 acres.
  • Bear Trap began on May 1st and has burned 38,000 acres. Fire teams are suppressing damage to natural resources in the surrounding forest/grasslands.
  • The Black Fire started on May 14th in the Gila wilderness. It has grown to 249,000 acres and fire crews are attempting to prevent it from crossing into Gila National Forest.

Pictured are the VIIRS Nighttime Fire Detections for April 20th – May 27th, 2022. The more pronounced the color, the longer that area has been burning.

2021 Flaring Numbers Published

By Tamara Sparks

EOG has posted our annual 2021 flaring numbers on our VNF website. Global flaring increased slightly in 2021 to 156.2 BCM from 152.6 BCM in 2020, including upstream and downstream flaring. Both upstream and downstream flaring saw a slight increase.

Russia remained the top country for upstream flaring. Among the top 10 countries for upstream flaring, Russia, Iran, Mexico, and Libya had substantial increases in flaring, while the US, Algeria, Venezuela, and Nigeria saw decreases. The US in particular had a large drop in flaring in 2021 to almost half of what is was in 2019.

Blackout in Puerto Rico seen by VIIRS satellite

By Tamara Sparks

The island-wide power outage caused by a fire at a power plant in Puerto Rico is visible in satellite imagery from the VIIRS day night band. Widespread loss of lighting on April 7, 2022, indicated in red, is seen across the island, although there are areas with typical lighting levels, seen in yellow. Cloud cover over the island is minimal, so the decrease in lighting is not due to clouds. In contrast, nearby US and British Virgin Islands have stable lighting, except for areas with cloud cover.