A View of the Development of Geostationary Imagers through the lens of BAMS

May 14th, 2020 |

A collection of 60 BAMS covers spanning the years, to highlight the rapid advance of imaging from the geostationary orbit, is shown above (a version that loops more slowly can be seen here). The first cover is the first of BAMS, in January of 1920, while the second, from January of 1957 is the first time artificial ‘satellite’ was in a title of a BAMS article. The third image, from November of 1957, is a remarkable article on potential uses of satellites. This included both qualitative uses: (1) Clouds, (2) Cloud Movements, (3) Drift of Atmospheric Pollutants, (4) State of the Surface of the Sea (or of Large Lakes), (5) Visibility or Atmospheric Transparency to Light — and quantitative uses: (1) Albedo, (2) Temperature  of  a  Level  at  or  Near  the Tropopause, (3) Total Moisture Content., (4) Total  Ozone  Content, (5) Surface  (Ground-Air Interface) Temperature, and (6) Snow Cover. Early covers showcase rockets, balloons and high-altitude aircraft to prepare the way to human space travel (Gemini, Apollo, etc.), polar-orbiters (TIROS, NIMBUS, VHRR, NOAA, etc.) and finally geostationary orbit (ATS-1, ATS-3, SMS, GOES, Meteosat, INSAT, Himawari, etc.).

Reasons to look back at the BAMS covers:

Interactive web page, with links to the original “front matter”.

Montage of select BAMS covers

Montage of select BAMS covers

Note: All cover images are from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Tropical Depression One-E forms in the East Pacific Ocean

April 24th, 2020 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed the circulation of Tropical Invest 90E in the East Pacific Ocean on 24 April 2020. The low-level circulation center appeared to be located about 100 miles southwest of the 18 UTC surface analysis position.

GOES-17 Visible images with a plot of Deep-Layer Wind Shear from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) indicated that Invest 90E was embedded within an environment of low shear — the National Hurricane Center gave the feature an 80% chance of further developing into a tropical depression within 48 hours.

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) with a plot of Deep-Layer Wind Shear at 23 UTC images [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with a plot of Deep-Layer Wind Shear at 23 UTC [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP as viewed using RealEarth (below) revealed tendrils of transverse banding along the western and northern periphery if the disturbance.

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP [click to enlarge]

===== 25 April Update =====

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Infrared images (above) showed the period when the disturbance became classified as Tropical Depression One-E at 15 UTC — making this the earliest tropical cyclone on record in the East Pacific basin during the satellite era.

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 Infrared images with plots of tropical surface analyses (above) indicated that TD One-E was situated just north of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The MIMIC-TPW product (below) showed that the tropical depression was tapping moisture from the ITCZ and drawing it northward.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

GOES-17 Visible images (below) revealed an exposed low-level circulation that was displaced north-northwest of the primary cluster of deep convection.

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Contrails over Wisconsin, and a mesovortex moving across Indiana

March 31st, 2020 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm), Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A sequence of GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm), Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Day Cloud Phase Distinction Red-Green-Blue (RGB)  images (above) showed both circular and linear contrails over southern Wisconsin on 31 March 2020. The circular contrail was likely created by military aircraft (Wisconsin Air National Guard) performing training operations.

A toggle between GOES-16 Visible and Cirrus images at 1601 UTC (below) indicated that the darker signature seen in Visible imagery was actually the shadow from the high-altitude contrails being cast upon the top of the low-level stratus clouds.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm), and Near-Infrared "Cirrus" (1.37 µm) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), and Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.37 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Another feature of interest was revealed by 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 Visible images — a mesovortex that was moving southwestward from southwest Michigan across northwestern Indiana (below). However, the small-scale circulation of the vortex was not captured by 1-minute GOES-16 Derived Motion Winds.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images with plots of Derived Motion Winds (yellow) [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with Derived Motion Winds plotted in yellow [click to play animation | MP4]

Anomalously-strong jet stream winds over Colorado

March 25th, 2020 |

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds and contours of RUC40 model maximum wind speeds [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of 6.2 µm Derived Motion Winds and contours of RUC40 model maximum wind speeds [click to play animation | MP4]

An anomalously-strong upper tropospheric jet stream was moving over northern Colorado on 25 March 2020 — GOES-16 (GOES-East) Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds and contours of RUC40 model maximum wind speeds (above) revealed that the highest satellite-tracked Derived Motion Wind speeds just northeast of Grand Junction, Colorado (KGJT) were 165 knots. RUC40 model Maximum Wind Speed values were also around 165 knots across that area. The strongest wind speeds in 00 UTC rawinsonde data from Grand Junction were 160 knots (below).

Plot of rawinsonde data from Grand Junction, Colorado at 00 UTC on 26 March [click to enlarge]

Plot of rawinsonde data from Grand Junction, Colorado at 00 UTC on 26 March [click to enlarge]

The 250 hPa GFS model wind speed anomalies (below) were 3-4 sigma above normal over northern Colorado at 00 UTC on 26 March (source).

250 hPa wind speed anomalies at 00 UTC on 26 March [click to enlarge]

250 hPa wind speed anomalies at 00 UTC on 26 March [click to enlarge]