Tropical Invest 97L in the western Atlantic Ocean

September 29th, 2014
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images with METAR surface reports (click to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images with METAR surface reports (click to play animation)

Tropical Invest 97L formed near Bermuda during the pre-dawn hours on 29 September 2014. After sunrise, AWIPS II images of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) revealed a well-defined low-level circulation spinning just to the west of Bermuda. It is interesting to note that at 12:55 UTC a waterspout was reported 4 km to the east of the Bermuda International Airport (station identifier TXKF), associated with a band of deep convection that was moving northward (below).

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel image with Bermuda METAR observation

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel image with Bermuda METAR observation

An overpass of a Metop satellite at 14:38 UTC provided a good view of the surface wind field with data from the ASCAT scatterometer instrument (below). There was one wind vector with a speed around 30 knots (green) just to the east of the center of circulation.

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel image with Metop ASCAT scatterometer surface winds

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel image with Metop ASCAT scatterometer surface winds

A comparison of Terra MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and 11.0 µm IR channel images at 15:25 UTC (below) showed that the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperatures of -55º C (orange color enhancement) were located to the north of the circulation center.

Terra MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and 11.0 µm IR channel images

Terra MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and 11.0 µm IR channel images

Co-registration Issues on GOES-13

September 29th, 2014

Previous posts on this blog (and elsewhere) have detailed the co-registration misalignment that exists between the 3.9 µm and 10.7 µm channels on the GOES-13 Imager. Because of this diurnally-varying co-registration error, a 3.9 µm pixel may be offset to the right or left of a 10.7 µm pixel; if this occurs near a pronounced temperature gradient (such as along a lakeshore), a false brightness temperature difference signal can ensue.

Brightness Temperature Difference (10.7 µm - 3.9 µm), 1825 and 1830 UTC, 26 September 2014 (click to enlarge)

Brightness Temperature Difference (10.7 µm – 3.9 µm), 1825 and 1830 UTC, 26 September 2014 (click to enlarge)

Consider, for example, the toggle above from 26 September 2014. A strong brightness temperature difference exists at 1825 UTC along the shorelines of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie; it is gone five minutes later, at 1830 UTC. There is no discernible change in the visible image over the same 5-minute interval (Link).

GOES-13 Imagery (0.63µm , top, 10.7µm , middle and 3.9µm micron, bottom) at 1825 and 1830 UTC, 26 September 2014 (click to enlarge)

GOES-13 Imagery (0.63µm , top, 10.7µm , middle and 3.9µm micron, bottom) at 1825 and 1830 UTC, 26 September 2014 (click to enlarge)

NESDIS operations alters the GVAR signal just before 1830 UTC (when the 3.9 µm imagery is shifted one pixel to the West) and at 0630 UTC (when the 3.9 µm imagery is shifted one pixel to the East) to mitigate the effects of the diurnally-varying co-registrations differences between the 3.9 µm and 10.7 µm channels. The imagery above shows the visible and two infrared (10.7 µm and 3.9 µm) channels at 1825 and 1830 UTC (GOES-13 was in Rapid Scan Operations mode at this time). The 3.9 µm imagery shows a one-pixel westward shift that is especially evident if you look at the unchanging navigation along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. (1825 UTC imagery: Visible, 3.9µm and 10.7µm; 1830 UTC imagery: Visible, 3.9µm and 10.7µm) A similar link between 1815 and 1830 UTC on 25 September shows the same shift in the shortwave IR. A toggle between 0615 and 0630 UTC on 29 September shows the eastward shift in the 3.9 µm imagery that occurs then.

NOAA/NESDIS continues to monitor this co-registration issue.

Strong early-season storm in the North Pacific

September 23rd, 2014
GOES-15 6.5 µm IR channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 6.5 µm IR channel images (click to play animation)

The GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel imagery above shows the development and evolution of a strong mid-latitude cyclone in the eastern North Pacific Basin during the 21-23 September 2014 time period; of particular interest is the development of strong subsidence behind the storm (depicted by brighter shades of yellow), and also a second jet starting to approach the storm from the west (as evidenced by increasing cold cloud tops in the base of the trough at the end of the animation). A closer view of the storm using AWIPS II imagery is available here. The strong storm has access to abundant sub-tropical moisture, as depicted in the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water animation below.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (click to enlarge)

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (click to enlarge)

The ASCAT Scatterometer that flies on METOP gives routine observations of surface winds over the ocean. A large area of storm-force winds (in red) is depicted in the image below (from 0630 UTC on 23 September), overlain on the GOES-15 Water Vapor imagery.

 GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel image and ASCAT winds, 0630 UTC on 23 September (click to enlarge)

GOES-15 6.5 µm water vapor channel image and ASCAT winds, 0630 UTC on 23 September (click to enlarge)

A comparison of 4-km resolution GOES-15 6.5 µm and 1-km resolution Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel images at 11:30 UTC, below, demonstrated the benefit of higher spatial resolution for providing a more accurate display of the water vapor gradients and various small-scale features (such as transverse banding associated with cold clouds to the north of the storm), along with the polar-orbiter image elimination of geostationary parallax error for more more precise feature location.

GOES-15 6.5 µm and Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel images

GOES-15 6.5 µm and Aqua MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor channel images

The GOES sounder Total Column Ozone product, below, showed an increase in ozone values (350-380 Dobson Units, darker green to lighter green color enhancement) as the tropopause was lowered in the vicinity of the deepening mid-latitude cyclone.

GOES sounder Total Column Ozone product (click to play animation)

GOES sounder Total Column Ozone product (click to play animation)

A Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image from the SSEC RealEarth web map server, below, provided a good view of the lower-level clouds associated with the storm.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image

The King Fire in California

September 19th, 2014
Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images

The King Fire began burning in central California (between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe) during the evening hours on 13 September 2014. A sequence of daily (12-19 September) Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC RealEarth web map server site (above) showed that as the prevailing southwesterly wind pattern switched to easterly on 19 September, there was a major change in the transport of smoke from the King Fire. The final image in the series zooms out to show how much of central California had become over-run with thick smoke.

A comparison of AWIPS-II images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR image at 09:18 UTC or 2:18 AM local time (below) revealed the bright glow of the large fire complex, along with the large fire “hot spot” signature (black to yellow to red color enhancement).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images during the overnight hours (just after 2 AM local time) on 17 and 18 September (below) showed the dramatic northeastward advance of the fire hot spot signature during that 24-hour period. Smoke from the fire was reducing the surface visibility to 3-4 miles as far to the northeast as Lovelock (KLOL) and Fallon (KNFL) in Nevada.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images