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International MODIS/AIRS Processing Package

 IMAPP MODIS Overshooting Cloud Tops Software Package version 1.1 release     3 September 2015

   Update to the software package that identifies regions of MODIS L1B 1km data where the convective cloud tops have broken through the tropopause into the lower stratosphere because of a strong updraft. These strong convective storms have the potential to produce severe weather at the ground (heavy rain, damaging winds, hail and tornadoes) as well as aviation hazards including lightning and turbulence.

The technique uses the MODIS 11 micron brightness temperatures to distinguish the tops from the surrounding environment.

The output product is an HDF4 file containing the location of the overshooting tops, as well as 3 PNG images that display the 11 micron brightness temperatures overlaid by:

  • The locations of the overshooting cloud tops,
  • The areal coverage of the potential for cloud-to-ground lightning risk, and
  • The areal coverage of the potential for convectively induced atmospheric turbulence.
What is new in version 1.1?
  • Updated Numerical Weather Prediction ancillary fetching scripts, including new NCEP grib2 file distribution sites,
  • Updated Python Overshooting Tops image creation scripts.
The science software has not changed.


This technique was developed by Dr. Kris Bedka, NASA/Langley and published in 2010:
  • K.M. Bedka, J.C. Brunner, R. Dworak, W.F. Feltz, J. Otkin, T. Greenwald, 2010: "Objective satellite-based overshooting top detection using infrared window channel brightness temperature gradient". J. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol., 49, pp. 181-202.

This binary only release is supported on 64 bit Intel Linux machines, with 4 GB of RAM and 15 GB of disk space required.

The package includes the GEOstationary Cloud Algorithm Test-bed (GEOCAT) software that was developed by Michael Pavolonis of NOAA/STAR, and serves as a framework for running the OT algorithm. We expect to add other algorithms to the IMAPP GEOCAT suite in the future.

Complete installation and run instructions are included with the release.

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