Super Rapid Scan images of lake-effect snow bands

December 11th, 2013 |
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The GOES-13 (GOES-East) satellite was placed into Super Rapid Scan Operations (SRSO) mode on 11 December 2013, to provide bursts of imagery at 1-minute intervals in support of the OWLeS project. McIDAS images of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel data (above; click image to play animation) showed multiple lake-effect snow (LES) bands over Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron (with a larger dominant band over the northern portion of Lake Huron). Large single-band LES features had also formed farther to the east over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, but their presence was masked by bands of layered high clouds over that region.

Prior to the beginning of the SRSO period, a comparison of the 18:23 UTC Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel image with the corresponding false-color “snow-vs-cloud discrimination” Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (below) could be used to get a qualitative indication of which LES bands might be glaciating — snow and ice on the ground (as well as clouds whose tops were comprised of ice crystals) appeared as varying shades of red on the false-color image. Surface METAR data showed that cold surface air was flowing southeastward and eastward over the still-unfrozen waters of the western Great Lakes.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

A comparison of the 18:23 UTC Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images (below) indicated that many of the cloud bands exhibited IR brightness temperatures in the -20 to -30º C range (cyan to dark blue color enhancement), with the coldest IR brightness temperatures of -35º C associated with the most organized bands in eastern Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron. The patches of layered high clouds farther east over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario had cloud tops as cold as -40º C (green color enhancement).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images

Snow/sleet/ice on the ground in Texas and Oklahoma

December 8th, 2013 |
Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

In the wake of a strong cold frontal passage, a series of disturbances left swaths of snow, sleet, and ice (from freezing rain) across parts of Texas and Oklahoma during the 05 December 06 December 2013 period. Snowfall accumulations were as high as 5 inches in Texas and 6 inches in Oklahoma; sleet accumulations reached 3-3.5 inches and ice accruals were as great as 1.0 inch in Oklahoma and 0.4 inch in Texas.

After clouds finally began to clear the region on 08 December, areas that still had snow/sleet/ice on the ground could be seen in comparisons of visible channel and false-color “snow-vs-cloud discrimination” Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from Suomi NPP VIIRS at 19:20 UTC or 1:20 PM local time (above) and from Aqua MODIS at 20:14 UTC or 2:14 PM local time (below). Areas where the ground remained covered with snow/sleet/ice appeared as darker shades of red on the false-color RGB images (in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds, which appeared as shades of white, and ice crystal clouds, which appeared as shades of pink to light red).

MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

MODIS 0.65 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

===== 10 December Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visile channel and false-color RGB images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visile channel and false-color RGB images

On the afternoon of 10 December enough clouds had cleared across the central US to reveal the large swath of snow/sleet/ice that still covered the ground from Texas to Ohio, as seen in a comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color “snow-vs-cloud discrimination” RGB images at 18:42 UTC or 12:42 PM local time (above). Note the darker red appearance of the southeastern edge of the swath over parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri — since sleet accumulation and ice accrual (from freezing rain) are stronger absorbers of radiation than snow cover at the 1.61 µm wavelength used in the creation of the RGB images, those areas appear darker. Ice acrual from freezing rain reached 1.25 inches in southeastern Oklahoma and west-central Arkansas, and sleet accumulations were as deep as 2-3 inches in Arkansas.

A closer view (centered on northern Arkansas) is shown below. For additional details on the sleet and freezing rain aspects of this winter storm, see the event summaries posted by the National Weather Service forecast offices at Norman OK, Tulsa OK, and Little Rock AR.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and false-color RGB images

Winter Storm Xaver

December 5th, 2013 |
Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images (click to play animation)

Winter Storm Xaver (EUMETSAT Image Library) affected much of northern Europe on 05 December 2013, causing widespread power outages, storm surge flooding, and adverse impacts to transportation in several countries. As many as nine deaths have been blamed on the storm. Many areas experienced hurricane-force winds, with the highest wind gust of 142 mph (229 km per hour) reported at Aonach Mor in Scotland. EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images (above; click image to play animation) showed the rapid intensification of the storm as the center moved  from south of Iceland late in the day on 04 December to southern Sweden late in the day on 05 December.

Meteosat-10 water vapor channel images with overlays of surface wind gusts (in knots) are shown below (click to play animation).

Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images with surface wind gusts (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images with surface wind gusts (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 0.7 µm broadband high resolution visible channel images (below; click image to play animation) offered a closer look at the center of the storm as it moved eastward across the North Sea and over southern Norway during the daytime hours on 05 December.

Meteosat-10 0.7 µm visible images (click to play animation)

Meteosat-10 0.7 µm visible images (click to play animation)