Split Window Difference fields over the Ocean

August 20th, 2019 |

GOES-17 ABI Split Window Difference (10.3 – 12.3) at 0100 UTC on 20 August 2019 (Click to enlarge)

The Split Window Difference field (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm), shown above in the south Pacific around Samoa and American Samoa (Leone is on the island of Tutuila just west of 170º W Longitude; Fitiuta is on the island of Ta’u just east of 170º W Longitude), can be used to estimate the horizontal distribution of water vapor. The Split Window Difference can give a good estimate of moisture distribution in the atmosphere over the ocean where conventional moisture measurements are limited. The image above shows greater values (3.5 – 4 K, in yellow and orange) over the northern part of the image and smaller values (2-3 K, in yellow and blue) over the southern part of the image, divided by a band of cloudiness that passes through 20º S, 170º W.

NOAA-20 overflew this region at 0056 UTC, and NUCAPS profiles were available, as shown below.

GOES-17 ABI Split Window Difference (10.3 – 12.3) at 0100 UTC on 20 August 2019 along with NUCAPS Sounding locations (Click to enlarge)

The animation below steps through soundings at different locations. Total precipitable water as determined from the sounding is indicated. In the region where the Split Window Difference field was around 4 K, precipitable water values were in the 1.5-1.7″ range; in regions where the Split Window Difference was closer to 2 K, precipitable water values were closer to 0.5-0.75″.

NUCAPS Vertical Profiles at different locations, as noted. (Click to animate)

Microwave-only data, shown below from the MIMIC website, shows a sharp gradient at 20º S, 170º W.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water, 0000 UTC on 20 August 2019 (Click to enlarge)

At ~1200 UTC, when NUCAPS again passed over this region, profiles could again be used to discern gradients in total precipitable water.  At that time, however, the Split Window Difference field was not computed because warming of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) associated with the sub-optimal performance of the Loop Heat Pipe meant that Band 15 data were not available.  (Baseline Level 2 Products, such as total precipitable water, are also unavailable from GOES-17 because of the Loop Heat Pipe issue) The Split Window Difference field could be computed from Himawari-8 data however.

Using NUCAPS soundings to nowcast convective evolution

August 15th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Visible (Band 2, 0.64 µm) Imagery, 1721 – 1946 UTC on 15 August 2019. NUCAPS Sounding Points — from 1926 UTC — are present over the image at 1946 UTC (Click to animate)

GOES-16 Visible Imagery, above (Click to animate), shows shower/thundershower development over eastern Oklahoma moving into Arkansas. At the end of the animation, 1946 UTC, NUCAPS Sounding profiles from 1926 UTC are shown, and they’re shown below too.

GOES-16 Visible (Band 2, 0.64 µm) Imagery, 1946 UTC on 15 August 2019. (Click to enlarge)

The time 1946 UTC is about the earliest you could hope to have NUCAPS profiles in an AWIPS system — and only if you had access to a Direct Broadcast antenna. The more conventional method of data delivery, the SBN, means NUCAPS will be available about an hour after they are taken, so by 2036 UTC. The visible imagery at 2036 UTC is shown below.

GOES-16 Visible (Band 2, 0.64 µm) Imagery, 1946 UTC on 15 August 2019. (Click to enlarge)

At 2036 UTC, which time is about when in the forecast office the NUCAPS soundings would become available, would you expect the convection in western Arkansas to move southward, or eastward, based solely on Satellite imagery? How could you use NUCAPS profiles to gain confidence in this prediction? Visible imagery alone suggests a moisture boundary; the southern quarter of Arkansas shows markedly less cumulus cloudiness. The animation shows motion mostly to the east, with higher clouds moving more west-northwesterly. The GOES-16 Baseline Total Precipitable Water product, below, shows a maximum in TPW over central Arkansas, with values around 1.5″;  values are around 1.3″ in southern Arkansas, and around 1.2-1.3″ in northwest Arkansas.  A corridor of moisture is indicated.

GOES-16 Baseline Level 2 Total Precipitable Water at 1946 UTC; Visible imagery is shown in cloudy regions. (Click to enlarge)

Baseline Total Precipitable Water, above, part of a suite of products that emerge from Legacy Profiles, is heavily constrained by model fields, however;  the image above could simply show the GFS solution.  In contrast, NUCAPS observations are almost wholly independent of models.  What do NUCAPS profiles show? The animation below steps through vertical profiles east and south of the developing convection.

NUCAPS profiles from the ~1900 UTC overpass at points plotted over the 1946 UTC GOES-16 Band 2 Visible (0.64 µm) image (Click to enlarge)

AWIPS will soon (planned for shortly after Labor Day at the time of this post) include horizontal fields of information derived from NUCAPS vertical profiles. The images below show values computed within the NSharp AWIPS software for a variety of fields: Total Precipitable Water, MU Lifted Index, MU CAPE, MU CINH. All fields suggest that convection more likely to build eastward than to expand southward.

NUCAPS Sounding Points and derived quantities, as indicated, at 1926 UTC 15 August 2019; NUCAPS data are plotted over the 1946 UTC GOES-16 ABI Band 2 Visible 0.64 µm image. (Click to enlarge)

Convection did not move southward; motion and development was to the east. The timing of NUCAPS profiles means that they give a good estimate of atmospheric thermodynamics in mid-afternoon, a key time for assessing convective development.

GOES-16 Visible (Band 2, 0.64 µm) Imagery, 1721 UTC on 15 August 2019 to 0001 UTC on 16 August 2019 (Click to animate).

NUCAPS Soundings surrounding an isolated Thundershower

August 14th, 2019 |

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 (0.64 µm) at 1946 UTC on 14 August 2019 (Click to enlarge)

The GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) image above shows a weak thunderstorm over southeastern Oklahoma surrounding an decaying outflow boundary.  (Click here to see an animation of the visible imagery). The convection did not look particularly robust, but it did produce lightning that was detected by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), as shown below.

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 (0.64 µm) and GLM observations of Flash Extent Density at 1946 UTC on 14 August 2019

Lightning requires charge separation in a cloud; typically lightning occurs after the cloud top glaciates. During daytime, glaciation can be detected with ABI Band 5, at 1.61 µm, the so-called Snow/Ice band. The toggle below shows the visible, snow/ice band, and the Baseline Cloud Phase product. Glaciation is indicated.

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 (0.64 µm), Band 5 (1.61 µm) and Baseline Cloud Phase at 1946 UTC on 14 August 2019

This case is interesting because NOAA-20 overflew the convection, and soundings were produced around the convection, as shown below.

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 (0.64 µm) at 1946 UTC on 14 August 2019 along with NUCAPS Sounding Points at 1945 UTC

The animation below steps north-south through seven profiles that surround the weak convection. Note that a profile near the convection has thermodynamic parameters more favorable for convection than at the other profiles.  For example, NUCAPS profiles show the convection at the northern edge of a precipitable water gradient, and also in a local minimum of inhibition.    Although the convection has initiated here, the fields do suggest that NUCAPS can be used to monitor thermodynamics at small scales before initiation.

NUCAPS Soundings at various points north, south and within convection at 1946 UTC on 14 August 2019 (Click to enlarge) Thermodynamic variables from the sounding are noted.

Horizontal gridded information derived from NUCAPS data will be in AWIPS shortly.  See this post from Emily Berndt at SPoRT!

Predictive Calibration is now operational for GOES-17

July 25th, 2019 |

Mean GOES17 – GOES16 Brightness Temperature Difference for a 401×1001 pixel footprint centered on the Equator halfway between the GOES-West and GOES-East subsatellite points. On 25 July (Red line), before Predictive Calibration was implemented, GOES-17 showed a warm bias as the Focal Plane Temperature (shown in black) increased, and a cold bias as Focal Plane Temperature decreased. On 26 July (green line), after predictive calibration was implemented, the large positive and negative biases are gone. (Click figure to enlarge)

Solar heating of the ABI instruments (on both GOES-16 and GOES-17) occurs at night around the Equinoxes. As the ABI points down to the Earth to observe the atmosphere and surface, sunlight falls on the ABI, warming it, and the Loop Heat Pipe that is not operating at capacity on GOES-17 does not circulate enough heat to radiators for dissipation to space. So, the temperature of the ABI increases during part of the night, reaches a maximum, and then decreases (as the solar illumination of the ABI decreases).

The change in temperature means that calibration looks at the Internal Calibration Target (ICT) within the ABI that occur regularly will quickly become invalid because of the changing temperature of the ABI. The images below show the temperature of the Focal Plane within the GOES-17 ABI in mid-June, in mid-July and in late July. For the best calibration, the focal plane temperatures would be steady. They are not. Note that the y-axis values are different in the plots. More significant warming is present in the latest plot and those peak values will steadily increase until Eclipse Season starts in late August. This blog post shows the effects of the warming in mid-April of this year. Predictive Calibration accounts for the change in the temperatures in between calibration looks and was implemented in the GOES-17 Ground Station at 1721 UTC on 25 July 2019. The beneficial effects of Predictive Calibration are shown in the figure (courtesy Mat Gunshor, CIMSS) above for ABI band 12; large warm and cold biases have been mitigated. ABI band 8 (6.2 µm) shows similar improvements.

Focal Plane Temperature as measured on the ABI on 19/20 June 2019, times as indicated. Note the baseline value near 81 K for both mid-wave infrared (MWIR, 3.9 µm – 8.4 µm) in red brown and long-wave IR (LWIR 9.6 µm to 13.2 µm) in green that increases to around 82 K around 1300 UTC

Focal Plane Temperature as measured on the ABI on 13/14 June 2019, times as indicated. Note the baseline value near 81 K for both mid-wave infrared (MWIR, 3.9 µm – 8.4 µm) in red brown and long-wave IR (LWIR 9.6 µm to 13.2 µm) in green that increases to around 84.5 K around 1300 UTC

Focal Plane Temperature as measured on the ABI on 24/25 July 2019, times as indicated. Note the baseline value near 81 K for both mid-wave infrared (MWIR, 3.9 µm – 8.4 µm) in red brown and long-wave IR (LWIR 9.6 µm to 13.2 µm) in green that increases to around 88 K around 1300 UTC

Warmest Predicted Focal Plane Temperature as a function of month. Also included: the threshold temperatures for each ABI band when the ABI output is noticeably affected by the warmer focal plane. The step in values near both Equinoxes occurs when a Yaw Flip is performed on the satellite (Click to enlarge)

The image above, (reproduced from this blog post and originally from here) shows the predicted focal plane maximum each day over the course of the year. It also shows at which temperature each band will marginally saturate, meaning that the effects of the warming ABI start to become noticeable.

The animation below shows the GOES-17 ABI Band 12 ‘Ozone Band’ (at 9.6 µm) that, according to the figure above is one of the first (along with Bands 10 — 7.34 µm — and 16 — 13.3 µm) to show the effects of the warming focal plane. Brightness temperatures warm before 1300 UTC and cool after 1300 UTC, and the amount of noise/stripeyness in the imagery increases  (This is most apparent at the northern edge of these 5-minute PACUS images).  These are all manifestations of the warming and cooling focal plane temperatures.

GOES-17 ABI Band 12 imagery on 18 July 2019, 0826 to 1501 UTC (Click to animate)

One week later, on 25 July 2019, below, the effects of the heating because the Loop Heat Pipe and radiator are not working at capacity are even more evident. The imagery exhibits a warm bias before 1300 UTC and a cold bias after 1300 UTC and the stripeyness of the image increases. Predictive calibration will mitigate the warm and cold bias.

Comparisons between individual bands from GOES-16 and GOES-17 for Full Disk and CONUS/PACUS views (in both cases in regions between the subsatellite points to minimize the effects of view angle) are available at this link, or also through this link.

GOES-17 ABI Band 12 imagery on 25 July 2019, 0836 to 1511 UTC (Click to animate)


======== ADDED, After Predictive Calibration was turned on ============
The animation below shows GOES-17 ABI Band 12 for the same time period as above, 0836-1511 UTC, but for the day after Predictive Calibration was implemented. You no longer see changes in observed brightness temperature that result from the warming focal plane temperatures. There is still some striping; this is associated with detector saturation and that striping will become more obvious in the next week and will lead to missing data. Predictive Calibration will not mitigate the issue of missing or striped data due to saturated sensors. Predictive Calibration is designed to mitigate warm biases before saturation, and cold biases after saturation.

GOES-17 ABI Band 12 imagery on 26 July 2019, 0836 to 1511 UTC (Click to animate)

The animation below (click to animate) shows both 25 July (left, before Predictive Calibration) and 26 July (right, after Predictive Calibration).

GOES-17 ABI Band 12 imagery from 0836 to 1511 UTC on 25 July 2019 (left, without predictive calibration) and on 26 July 2019 (right, with predictive calibration) (Click to play large animation)

You can view a short video on this topic here.