Suomi NPP / JPSS Proving Ground

April 28th, 2012
Suomi NPP satellite diagram

Suomi NPP satellite diagram

CIMSS has the unique capability to create Suomi NPP Science Data Record (SDR) files in real time, using a 2.4-meter X/L-band Direct Broadcast antenna system (mounted on the rooftop of the Engineering Research Building at the University of Wisconsin – Madison). With this Direct Broadcast system, CIMSS began to acquire and process data from the VIIRS, CrIS, and ATMS instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite in early 2012. Daily Suomi NPP orbit track maps are published on this site.

Shown below are some examples of Suomi NPP VIIRS data that demonstrate various applications of this exciting new source of satellite imagery:

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible + 11.45 µm IR images (Tropical Cyclone Funso)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible + 11.45 µm IR images (Tropical Cyclone Funso)

A comparison of 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images (above) showed very cold cloud top IR brightness temperatures (colder than -80º C, violet color enhancement) around the well-defined eye of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Funso (located in the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar) on 24 January 2012.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR images and "fog/stratus product" (Hudson Bay, Canada)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR images and "fog/stratus product" (Hudson Bay, Canada)

A thin stratus cloud deck over the eastern portion of Hudson Bay, Canada could be seen in a comparison of 11.45 µm IR images (grayscale, and color-enhanced) and the conventional IR brightness temperature difference “fog/stratus product” (above) on 26 January 2012. Also evident in the imagery were numerous ice leads which were beginning to open up in Hudson Bay.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR image (northern Alaska)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR image (northern Alaska)

The darker blue finger-like features seen on a 11.45 µm IR channel image (above) were signatures of cold air drainage into the lower elevation valleys within the Brooks Range in northern Alaska on 28 January 2012. A period of record cold was occurring at this time farther to the south across the interior of Alaska, with Fairbanks reaching a minimum temperature of -50º F on 28 January 2012 and -51º F on 29 January 2012. These were the first -50º F temperatures at Fairbanks since 2006.

Suomi NPP VIIRS false-color image (northeastern Colorado)

Suomi NPP VIIRS false-color image (northeastern Colorado)

A false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image (above) aided in the discrimination between deep snow cover (darker red color enhancement) and supercooled water droplet cloud features (cyan to white enhancement) over northeastern Colorado on 04 February 2012. Denver received 15.9 inches of snow during 02/03/04 February, setting a new 3-day record accumulation for the month of February. Boulder also set a new single-storm snowfall record, with 22.7 inches of snowfall.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm and 11.45 µm IR images (northern Florida)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm and 11.45 µm IR images (northern Florida)

The “hot spot” (yellow to red color enhancement) associated with the large “County Line Fire” burning over far northern Florida could be seen in a comparison of 3.74 µm shortwave IR and 11.45 µm IR channel images on 07 April 2012 (above). The fire hot spot is larger in the 3.74 µm shortwave IR image, due to that channel’s higher sensitivity to hotter temperatures.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images (northeastern Texas)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images (northeastern Texas)

A comparison of 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images (above) showed very cold IR brightness temperatures associated with vigorous overshooting tops embedded within severe thunderstorms over northeastern Texas on 03 April 2012. The coldest IR brightness temperature values were in the -70º to -79º C range (dark black to white color enhancement). Hail of 2.0 inches in diameter was being reported just to the west and just to the east of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) at 19:30 UTC.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible, 3.74 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm IR images (southwestern Kansas)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible, 3.74 µm shortwave IR, and 11.45 µm IR images (southwestern Kansas)

A comparison of 0.64 µm visible channel, 11.45 µm IR channel, and 3.74 µm shortwave IR channel images centered near the Dodge City, Kansas (KDDC) area on 14 April 2012 (above) showed a pair of well-defined “enhanced-V” signatures (with cold/warm thermal couplet IR brightness temperatures in excess of 25º C), which also exhibited anvil plumes extending downwind (to the northeast) of the vertex of each enhanced-V. The enhanced-V storm just to the southeast of Dodge City was producing a tornado and 1.75-inch diameter hail at the time of the VIIRS images. In addition, the IR and shortwave IR images revealed a number of southwest-to-northeast oriented swaths of cooler ground (lighter gray enhancement) due to heavy rainfall from the recent passage of thunderstorms.

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One of the primary goals of this proving ground effort is to begin providing a variety of Suomi NPP VIIRS images and products in AWIPS-I and AWIPS-II formats, to allow National Weather Service forecasters the opportunity to begin viewing the data and gaining some familiarity with the various types of VIIRS imagery on their operational AWIPS workstations. Shown below are some early examples of VIIRS imagery in AWIPS:

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image, displayed using AWIPS-II

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image, displayed using AWIPS-II

Shown above (displayed using AWIPS-II) is an example of a VIIRS Day/Night Band image, centered over northern Alaska on 23 April 2012.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images (Hawaiian Islands)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 11.45 µm IR images (Hawaiian Islands)

A comparison of 0.64 µm visible channel and 11.45 µm IR channel images (above) showed large thunderstorm complexes in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands on 09 March 2012. On this day, a 4 and 1/4 inch hailstone collected in Hawaii was confirmed to be the largest hailstone on record in the state.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image (southeastern US)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image (southeastern US)

A “Day/Night Band” image (above) revealed the pattern of city lights (along with a few scattered cloud features) across the southeastern US on 08 April 2012, as well as the areal extent of the dense pall of smoke associated with the County Line Fire that was burning in far northern Florida.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image (eastern Montana and western North Dakota)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image (eastern Montana and western North Dakota)

Another example of a Day/Night Band image from 08 April 2012 (above) revealed a large number of natural gas flares and illuminated “man camps” associated with extensive drilling operations in the Bakken Shale Oil Field area of eastern Montana and western North Dakota.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 1.61 µm near-IR images (Alaska and Bering Sea)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible and 1.61 µm near-IR images (Alaska and Bering Sea)

A comparison of 0.64 µm visible channel and 1.61 µm near-IR channel images on 26 April 2012 (above) demonstrated the use of various VIIRS channels to aid in snow/ice vs cloud discrimination. Snow and ice appear as darker gray features on the near-IR image, while supercooled water droplet clouds appear brighter white.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible images (Arctic Ocean, Canadian Archipelago)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible images (Arctic Ocean, Canadian Archipelago)

A sequence of 0.64 µm visible channel images (above) showed a surprising amount of sea ice movement within a relatively short 8-hour period on 28 April 2012. For additional VIIRS images of this case, see the CIMSS Satellite Blog.