Nominal GOES resolution for the Brightness Temperature Difference product that is used in the GOES-R IFR Probability is 4 km at the sub-satellite point, and it worsens as you move into mid-latitudes. Rapid Refresh Model resolution is even coarser than the satellite. When fog is forming in narrow valleys, then, there can be a significant lag in the time from when it starts to form to when the satellite data, and the satellite/model fused product, detects it. In the 0615 UTC image above, for example, only a few pixels of strong GOES-detected Brightness Temperature Difference, and enhanced IFR Probabilities, exist. In the 0630 UTC image, below, there has been little change in the GOES-based imagery. However, the Suomi/NPP data at the time, at 1-km resolution, suggests fog is forming in many of the river valleys of Pennsylvania, but it is still sub-gridscale as far as GOES can detect.
Fifteen minutes later, the MODIS-based IFR probabilities (above) suggest a strong possibility of IFR conditions in many of the river valleys of Pennsylvania. However, Suomi/NPP and MODIS data come from polar orbiters so that high resolution information is infrequent. When GOES-R is launched, ABI will have nominal 2-km resolution in the infrared, which resolution is intermediate between GOES and MODIS.
The higher-resolution polar orbiters’ occasional views can give a forecaster an important heads’ up for fog formation. By 0815 UTC the GOES-based information is showing higher IFR probabilities in the river valleys of Pennsylvania, but a Suomi/NPP overpass shows that it is still underestimating the areal extent of the fog.
Note that this is a time of year when stray light does occasionally enter the GOES signal, causing contamination. This occurred — and was very obvious — around 0400 UTC on 18 September. As is typical, it was present for only one scan. See below.