The image above documents the GOES-R IFR Probability field during a fog event over the East Coast. Note how the IFR Probability field shows more horizontal uniformity than the traditional brightness temperature difference field over eastern Pennsylvania (where IFR conditions are reported). For example, both Selinsgrove along the Susquehanna and Reading in south-central Pennsylvania report IFR conditions in regions where the IFR Probability field has a strong return, but where the brightness temperature difference field’s diagnosis is less certain.
The Suomi/NPP field demonstrates the importance of higher resolution from polar orbiting satellites. Both the Day/Night Band and the brightness temperature difference fields suggest the presence of river valley fog over the West Branch of the Susquehanna and its many tributaries in central Pennsylvania. This continues at 0743 UTC, below, when Suomi/NPP’s subsequent overpass also viewed the Susquehanna valley. At both times, the river fog is too small-scale to be detected with GOES-13’s nominal 4-km pixel size.
The animation of the fields, below, done to demonstrate the importance of GOES-13’s temporal resolution, shows how the GOES-R IFR Probability field accurately captures the extent of the fog, even as the sun rises and causes the sign of the brightness temperature difference to flip. The traditional brightness temperature difference field has difficulty both in maintaining a signal through sunrise, and it diagnosing the region of fog/low stratus over northcentral Pennsylvania in and around the Poconos and in the Susquehanna River valley. The IFR Probability field has a minimum over/around Mt. Pocono, where IFR conditions are not observed until close to sunrise. IFR probabilities are small over Altoona, where the brightness temperature difference field shows a strong signal developing late at night (and where observations suggest an elevated stratus deck). In this region, although the satellite suggests fog might be present, model conditions do not agree, and IFR Probabilities are correctly minimized.
GOES-R Cloud thickness suggests that the thickest blanket of fog is over New Jersey. This diagnosis continues up through the twilight conditions of sunrise, at which point Cloud thicknesses are no longer diagnosed.