(A Blog post on Suomi NPP Imagery over the western US from 10 October is available here).
Polar orbiters typically don’t give good temporal resolution, especially near the Equator. In mid-latitudes, however, Polar Geometry can yield views over a wide area on two successive scans. This happened along the West Coast early in the morning on 9 October. Two regions show noticeable changes in stratus between the two times: stratus/fog extends farther down the Salinas Valley at the southern edge of image, and stratus/fog expands over southwestern Puget Sound in Washington. The Brightness Temperature Difference field (11.35µm – 3.74µm) from Suomi NPP for the same times shows a similar evolution over the Salinas Valley, but the view of Washington is obscured by thin cirrus. These cirrus (that show up as black enhancements below) are mostly transparent in the Day Night Band but not in the infrared bands.
MODIS instruments onboard Terra and Aqua yield spectral data that can be used to generate GOES-R IFR Probability Fields. The animation below shows high-resolution imagery of where IFR Probabilities are highest, but only at three distinct times: 2152 UTC on 8 October and 0537 and 0949 UTC on 9 October. An increase in IFR Probabilities around Monterey Bay is apparent (and consistent with the Suomi NPP Observations above); IFR Probabilities also increase along the Oregon Coast and around Puget Sound.
How do GOES-based observations complement the Polar Orbiter data above?
The hourly animation above shows the slow increase of IFR Probability in/around Monterey Bay, and also a push of higher IFR Probability onto the Oregon Coast that occurs after the last MODIS-based IFR Image shown farther up. (Higher IFR Probabilities also spill into San Francisco Bay). Do surface observations of ceilings and visibilities agree with the IFR Probability fields? The loops below, from Oregon (below) and Monterey Bay (bottom) suggest that they do. For example, Eugene OR (and stations north and south of Eugene) show IFR conditions as the high IFR Probability field moves in after 1100 UTC. GOES-based data is valuable in monitoring the motion of IFR Probability fields; keep in mind, though, that small-scale features may be lost. For example, it is difficult for GOES to resolve the Salinas Valley.