Hot temperatures in the US Desert Southwest

June 17th, 2012 |
MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel image + Land Surface Temperature product

MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel image + Land Surface Temperature product

The daily maximum temperature reported by the cooperative observer at Death Valley, California was 119 F on 17 June 2012, which was the highest temperature in the Lower 48 states so far in the summer season. A comparison of AWIPS images of 1-km resolution MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel data with the corresponding Land Surface Temperature (LST) product (above) showed LST values as high as 150 F (darker red color enhancement) in some parts of Death Valley (which is located just east of the Superior Valley Gunnery Range, station identifier K4SU). While there is not a direct 1:1 correspondence between LST and the air temperature measured by a thermometer in a standard instrument shelter at a height of 5 feet off the ground, the LST product can still be useful in terms of locating important temperature gradients or identifying which areas of a particular county might be the warmest or the coldest.

A 250-meter resolution MODIS true color Red/Blue/Green (RGB) image from the SSEC MODIS Today site (below) showed that some patches of snow cover still remained at the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A wide range in surface air temperatures was seen across the region, dependent on elevation: morning low temperatures at high elevation sites included 42 F at Tuolumne Meadows and 46 F at Lodgepole in California, and 45 F at Mt. Charleston, NV.

 

MODIS true color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (viewed using Google Earth)

MODIS true color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (viewed using Google Earth)

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