Daily Archives: June 16, 2014

Fog in the Valleys of Pennsylvania and New York


Suomi/NPP Day/Night Band and Brightness Temperature Difference (11.35 – 3.74) at 0658 UTC on 16 June 2014 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi/NPP Day/Night band “Visible Imagery at Night” from last night at 3 AM EDT over Pennsylvania and surrounding states shows cloud formation in the river valleys of Pennsylvania and New York. The brightness temperature difference also shows these cloud formations, but note over eastern New York how high cirrus prevents the detection of low clouds in river valleys using the brightness temperature difference field, but the cirrus is thin enough that the Day/Night band does show the low clouds. The brightness temperature difference field can show where clouds are present in regions where city lights in the day/night band might appear similar to clouds on a night when lunar illumination is strong (as was the case on 16 June 2014) — for example, along US Highway 220 from Lock Haven to Jersey Shore and Williamsport in southern Clinton and Lycoming Counties.

Of course, the Suomi/NPP satellite is seeing the top of the cloud, so it can be difficult to infer ceiling and visibility obstructions from these data. The GOES-based IFR Probability field from about the same time, below, shows hints of visibility restrictions, but the coarser resolution of GOES-13 (compared to Suomi/NPP) limits the ability of GOES to herald the development of fog. In addition, the 13-km resolution of the Rapid Refresh model data that are also used in the GOES-R IFR Probability fields is insufficient to resolve the small river valleys (such as Pine Creek that shows up very well in the S/NPP imagery in western Lycoming County). Portions of the Susquehanna River basins do show marginally enhanced probabilities, certainly something that would alert a forecaster to the possibilities of fog.


GOES-based IFR Probabilities, 0700 UTC on 16 June 2014 (Click to enlarge)

MODIS data can also be used to produce IFR Probabilities at infrequent intervals, but a timely overpass at 0744 UTC shows high probabilities in most of the river valleys of central Pennsylvania and upstate New York, with the highest probabilities near Elmira, NY.


MODIS-based IFR Probabilities, 0744 UTC on 16 June 2014 (Click to enlarge)

The GOES-R IFR Probabilities at 1000 UTC, below, show evidence that the fog/low stratus have become widespread enough in river valleys to be detected even by GOES. Elmira, NY, is reporting IFR conditions, and such conditions are also likely elsewhere in the valleys (although no observations are available to confirm that).


GOES-based IFR Probabilities, 1000 UTC on 16 June 2014 (Click to enlarge)

Use timely polar-orbiting satellite data — with high resolution — to confirm suspicions of developing fog in river valleys. Then monitor the situation with the good temporal resolution of GOES. During the GOES-R era, geostationary satellite spatial resolution will be increased and fog detection from GOES-R should occur with better lead time.