Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

Cold frontal passage in Oregon

GOES-R IFR Probabilities (Upper Left), GOES-West Brightness Temperature Difference (10.7 µm – 3.9 µm) (Upper Right), Topography (Lower Left), GOES-West Water Vapor Imagery (6.7 µm) (Lower Left), hourly from 0400 through 1700 UTC 20 March 2013.

The animation above of the Fog/Low Stratus and Brightness Temperature difference highlights the difficulty that the traditional brightness temperature difference product encounters when multiple cloud layers are present, as you might expect to be present given the water vapor imagery.  At the beginning of the animation, highest IFR probabilities exist over the elevated terrain that surrounds the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  There were also high probabilities off shore.  As the frontal region moves onshore, IFR probabilities increase on shore.   Note also how the GOES-R IFR Probability field is a more coherent one whereas the traditional brightness temperature difference field from GOES contains many separate areas of return that make it harder to see the big picture.  The brightness temperature difference also suffers from stray light contamination at 1000 UTC — but that contamination does not propagate into the GOES-R IFR probability field.

GOES-R IFR Probabilities computed from GOES-West (Upper Left), GOES-West Brightness Temperature Difference (10.7 µm – 3.9 µm) (Upper Right), Topography (Lower Left), Toggle between Suomi/NPP Brightness Temperature Difference (10.8 µm – 3.74 µm) and Day/Night Band, all imagery near 1000 UTC on 20 March 2013

The imagery above shows how straylight contamination in the shortwave IR (3.9 µm) can influence the brightness temperature difference.  The GOES imagery shows the effects (just at this 1000 UTC image, which is also included in the animation above), but that ‘contamination’ does not propagate strongly into the GOES-R IFR Probability.  Note also that the Suomi/NPP Brightness Temperature Difference shows none of the stray light contamination.  Lunar illumination  allows the nighttime visualization of the clouds off the west coast of the US.  As this frontal band moves over Oregon, reduced visibilities result, but only the GOES-R IFR probabilities accurately capture the location of the frontal band because of the multiple cloud layers that exist.