Low clouds and fog developed along the west coast this morning. From the Monterey (CA) AFD:
FXUS66 KMTR 141143
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
443 AM PDT FRI MAR 14 2014
.SYNOPSIS…AFTER A BIT OF COOLING TODAY…A WARM AND DRY UPPER LEVEL
RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE WILL BUILD STRONGLY INTO THE WEST COAST
OVER THE WEEKEND. THIS WILL RESULT IN AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES
REACHING WELL ABOVE SEASONAL NORMS…AND POSSIBLY TO NEAR RECORD
LEVELS FOR THESE DATES. THIS WARM-UP WILL BE SHORT-LIVED HOWEVER…WITH
INCREASED ONSHORE FLOW AND A SIGNIFICANTLY COOLER AIR MASS MOVING
IN ALOFT THE FIRST PART OF NEXT WEEK. DRY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
TO CONTINUE THROUGH MID WEEK…BUT THEN WITH UPPER LEVEL TROUGHING
AND A CHANCE OF RAIN FOR THE OUTER PORTION OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.
.DISCUSSION…AS OF 4:10 AM PDT FRIDAY…THE DRY TAIL END OF A
WEATHER SYSTEM MOVING IN TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST IS APPROACHING
OUR DISTRICT…AND RESULTING IN ENHANCEMENT OF THE MARINE LAYER
AND A RETURN OF THE MARINE STRATUS. LATEST GOES FOG PRODUCT
IMAGERY…AND IN RATHER SPECTACULAR DETAIL JUST REC’D SUOMI VIIRS
NIGHTTIME HIGH RES VISUAL IMAGE…SHOW COVERAGE ALONG MUCH OF THE
COAST FROM PT REYES SOUTH TO THE VICINITY OF THE MONTEREY
PENINSULA…AND A BROAD SWATH EXTENDING INLAND ACROSS SAN
FRANCISCO AND THROUGH THE GOLDEN GATE TO THE EAST BAY. LATEST
BODEGA BAY AND FT ORD PROFILER DATA INDICATE A MARINE LAYER DEPTH
OF ABOUT 1300 FT. SOME THIN HIGH CLOUDS ARE ALSO PASSING THROUGH ABOVE.
NAM MODEL AND IN-HOUSE LOCAL WRF MODEL BOUNDARY LAYER RH OUTPUT
BOTH INDICATE STRATUS SHOULD GENERALLY CLEAR BY MIDDAY…EXCEPT
ALONG THE SAN MATEO COAST AND IN THE VICINITY OF THE MONTEREY
PENINSULA. EXPECT AFTERNOON HIGHS TO BE AROUND 3 TO 5 DEGS COOLER
THAN ON THURSDAY…BUT STILL WELL ABOVE SEASONAL NORMS ESPECIALLY
The animation of satellite and satellite-derived fields, above, shows how the GOES-R and GOES-West fields depicted the development of the low clouds. Note how the brightness temperature difference fields over CA and NV throughout the animation have a speckled appearance. These positive signals are due not to the presence of fog/low clouds but rather to differences in emissivity properties of the dry land. Near the end of the animation, high clouds are widespread over northern California. For such cases, the brightness temperature difference product provides little information about low-level clouds. However, the GOES-R IFR Probability field, because it blends together information from satellite and from Rapid Refresh does provide a signal under clouds. It is a much smoother signal because it does vary from one satellite pixel to the next, and the Probability values are smaller because satellite predictors cannot be used in the algorithm.
The AFD above notes the Day/Night band, and also the depth of the marine stratus. The toggle of Cloud Thickness, Day/Night Band, and brightness temperature difference, below (useful to distinguish white clouds from white city lights!), shows a nice overlap between the GOES-R product and the clouds detected at high resolution by Suomi/NPP. Cloud thickness is around 1150 feet at Bodega Bay, and closer to 1250 feet at Fort Ord, in good agreement with the profile data cited.