December 27th, 2009
GOES-14 and GOES-12 visible images
McIDAS images of GOES-14 and GOES-12 visible channel data (above) showed that a large portion of the land-fast ice in the southern half of Green Bay began to break away and drift slowly northeastward on 27 December 2009. Unlike a similar case seen on 11 March 2009 with strong surface winds, the southwesterly winds on this particular day were quite light (generally 10 knots or less at inland stations over northeastern Wisconsin) — however, winds were gusting to 13-18 knots farther to the northeast at coastal sites with an upwind exposure to the bay.
As part of its ongoing NOAA Science Test, the GOES-14 satellite had been placed into Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) mode, supplying imagery as frequently as every 5 minutes. The more frequent RSO imaging (along with the improved GOES-14 Image Navigation and Registration) allowed the motion of the drifting ice to be more accurately visualized compared to the 15-minute interval GOES-12 imagery with poorer image navigation.
250-meter resolution MODIS true color images from the SSEC MODIS Today site (below) showed a more detailed view of the motion of the ice between the overpass of the Terra satellite at 17:10 UTC and the Aqua satellite at 18:55 UTC.
MODIS true color images
December 27th, 2009
GOES-14 6.5 µm water vapor images
McIDAS images of the GOES-14 6.5 µm water vapor channel data (above; also available as a QuickTime animation) revealed that a pair of stratospheric intrusion vortices developed over the Pacific Northwest region of the US on 26 December – 27 December 2009. The spin-up of these vortices occurred within the pronounced dry band that had formed along the western periphery of the large central US Christmas Blizzard. As a part of its ongoing NOAA Science Test, the GOES-14 satellite had been placed into Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) mode, providing imagery as frequently as every 5 minutes.
There have been cases where turbulence aloft has been associated with these types of stratospheric intrusion vortices — and in this instance, AWIPS images of the GOES-West/GOES-East composite water vapor channels with overlays of pilot reports (below) did indeed show a few reports of moderate turbulence between 26,000 feet and 40,000 feet above ground level in the vicinity of the vortices.
GOES water vapor images + pilot reports of turbulence
As the trailing vortex began to pass over Vancouver Island around 12 UTC on 27 December (water vapor image), a north-to-south oriented vertical cross section of NAM80 model fields (below) showed how the dynamic tropopause (taken to be the PV1.5 potential vorticity surface) was being pulled downward to around the 450 hPa pressure level. The GOES Sounder Total Column Ozone product also showed a slight increase in ozone values — to around 350 Dobson Units — associated with the stronger (trailing) stratospheric intrusion vortex.
NAM80 vertical cross section
December 26th, 2009
GOES-12 10.7 µm IR images (with overlay of surface weather type)
An intense blizzard affected much of the central US on 24 December – 25 December 2009, significantly disrupting travel and commerce from North Dakota to Texas. Oklahoma City OK received 14.1 inches of snow, which was both their greatest 24-hour snowfall and their greatest storm total snowfall on record. McIDAS images of the GOES-12 10.7 µm IR channel data (above; also available as a QuickTime animation) showed the evolution of a well-defined Trough of Warm Air Aloft (TROWAL) signature across Oklahoma and Texas — with moderate to heavy snow falling just to the north and west of the pivot point of the southern/eastern edge of the colder (-30º to -50º C, dark blue to violet color enhancement) cloud top temperatures. Surface winds gusted as high as 64 mph in Oklahoma, creating white-out conditions with blowing and drifting snow.
On the morning of 25 December, a comparison of AWIPS images of the MODIS visible channel and a false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) composite (below) showed the areal extent of significant snow remaining on the ground — snow cover on the RGB image was highlighted with a red color enhancement, in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds which appeared as brighter white features. This also offers a glimpse at the type of RGB image capability that should be available with the upcoming AWIPS-2 software. For higher-resolution MODIS true color and false color images from 25 December, see the SSEC MODIS Today site.
MODIS visible image and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image
GOES-12 6.5 µm water vapor images (below; also available as a QuickTime animation) displayed the impressively large size of the circulation associated with the storm as it intensified from 25 December to 26 December. In the north-central US, entire Interstate highway systems were shut down for an extended period across the Dakotas — snowfall amounts were as high as 40.0 inches at Lead, South Dakota (with amounts over 24 inches in North Dakota and Minnesota). Significant accruals of ice (up to 0.4 inch) from freezing rain occurred in parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Winds gusted as high as 76 mph in western South Dakota (HPC storm summary).
GOES-12 6.5 µm water vapor images