Viewing NUCAPS profiles with Sharppy

September 29th, 2021 |
Available soundings from divers sources between 0000 and 1200 UTC on 29 September over the United States (Click to enlarge)

Scientists at STC and at SPoRT have created a website to view NUCAPS profiles using Sharppy and cloud resources. The animation above shows the user interface for Observed Soundings (i.e., upper-air soundings), for NUCAPS Soundings for different passes, and NAM Nest model profiles. The green points have been chosen for subsequent display. Points near KARB — Aberdeen, South Dakota — were selected; on this day, subsequent NOAA-20 NUCAPS passes produced data 90 minutes apart very near Aberdeen.

Soundings in/around Aberdeen SD: 0000 UTC Radiosonde, 0735 UTC NOAA-20 NUCAPS Sounding, 3-h Forecast soundings from the NAM Nest, valid at 0900 UTC, 0915 UTC NOAA-20 NUCAPS Sounding, 1200 UTC Radiosonde; the final image includes all the soundings at once (Click to enlarge)

The toggle between the 0000 and 1200 UTC radiosondes at Aberdeen shows a general moistening of the atmosphere (especially above 500 mb). NUCAPS soundings in between give a forecaster information on the character of that increase: linear? step-wise? The two NUCAPS soundings, below, separated by 90 minutes, and in between the two radiosondes, show moistening after 0700 UTC.

NOAA-20 NUCAPS Soundings near Aberdeen, SD, 0745 and 0915 UTC on 29 September 2021 (Click to enlarge)

NUCAPS soundings are volumetric, in comparison the radiosonde and model-derived soundings, both of which are valid at one point that is ascending through the atmosphere. NUCAPS soundings from NOAA-20 are a blend of information from up to 9 CrIS (Cross-track Infrared Sounder) fields of regard and one Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) footprint. A comparison between radiosonde or model soundings and NUCAPS soundings should always be tempered with that information.

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