MODIS imagery showing flooding along parts of the Connecticut River

April 1st, 2010 |
Sequence of MODIS false color RGB images (March 08, 20, 27, and April 01)

Sequence of MODIS false color RGB images (March 08, 20, 27, and April 01)

A series of four 250-meter resolution MODIS false color images — 08, 20, and 27 March, and 01 April 2010 — from the SSEC MODIS Today site (above) show portions of the Connecticut River (which runs north to south through the center of the images) becoming swollen and flooding the adjacent low-lying areas in central Connecticut. In these MODIS false color images, water appears as dark shades of blue, while snow cover has a cyan appearance.

A comparison of the 250-meter resolution MODIS true color and false color images from 01 April 2010 (below) reveals increased levels of turbidity along portions of some of the rivers, due to increased run-off during the series of 3 heavy precipitation events across the region during the 13-31 March 2010 period.

MODIS true color and false color images (01 April 2010)

MODIS true color and false color images (01 April 2010)

MODIS true color images (below, viewed using Google Earth) showed that the most pronounced areas of flooding along the Connecticut River were just to the north and south of Hartford.

MODIS true color images (viewed using Google Earth)

MODIS true color images (viewed using Google Earth)

50th Anniversary of the first TIROS-1 satellite image

April 1st, 2010 |
First TIROS-1 image (01 April 1960)

First TIROS-1 image (01 April 1960)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first image from the meteorological satellite TIROS-1, which was available on 01 April 1960 (above). While TIROS-1 was only operational for 78 days, it provided a number of images of the Earth and cloud systems (including the first image of a tropical cyclone, over the South Pacific Ocean on 10 April 1960).

To demonstrate how satellite imagery has improved over the past 50 years, one only has to examine McIDAS images of NOAA GOES-13 visible channel data (below) over the same general region as shown on the first TIROS-1 image (Maine, and the Canadian Maritime provinces). While swirling high-level clouds occupy most of the satellite scene on 01 April 2010, you can still see very good details of low cloud features, such as the stratus deck beginning to erode over parts of Maine and New Hampshire. One particular feature of interest is the bright white snow-covered peak of Mount Katahdin in north-central Maine (which remains stationary in the images, as the clouds around it erode) — this geographic feature has a peak elevation of 5,268 ft (1,605.7 m), and marks the northern point of the Appalachian Trail. Also, if you look closely, you can also see a small ice floe moving slowly westward across open waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, just south of the coast of Quebec (near the upper right corner of the images)sea ice in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence was also seen in some of the earliest TIROS-1 images.

Note that GOES-13 will replace GOES-12 as the operational GOES-East satellite on 14 April 2010.

GOES-13 visible images (01 April 2010)

GOES-13 visible images (01 April 2010)

Polar orbiting (POES) satellite imagery has also improved dramatically, as can be seen on a NOAA-17 AVHRR false color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (using AVHRR channels 01/02/04) centered over Maine on 01 April 2010 (below). Again, note the brighter white snow-covered peak of Mount Katahdin, located to the northwest of Millinocket (station identifier KMLT). The widespread low clouds appear brighter white on the false color image, while high cirrus clouds in the northwestern corner of the image take on more of a light blue tint. Bare (snow-free) ground in southwestern Maine appears as shades of green.

NOAA-17 AVHRR false color RGB image (01 April 2010)

NOAA-17 AVHRR false color RGB image (01 April 2010)