Daily Archives: March 3, 2015

Fog over the High Plains of Texas


GOES-R IFR Probability Fields, hourly from 0400 through 1000 UTC on 3 March 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Persistent fog has shrouded the High Plains of Texas for the past couple days.  GOES-R IFR Probability fields, above, from 0400 to 1000 UTC on 3 March, show the widespread nature of the fog.  There are regions in the animation (north and west of San Angelo at the start of the loop and north and west of Midland at the end of the loop) where the character of the IFR Probability field (a uniform value with a flat field and orange color) suggests high clouds are present and that fog detection with the product is relying on Rapid Refresh model output.  That the GOES-R IFR Probability fields align well with observations of IFR or near-IFR conditions is testimony to the accuracy of the Rapid Refresh Model. In the southern part of the domain, where GOES-R IFR Probability values are larger (the field is red), satellite data are also used in the computation of the IFR Probability field. Because satellite predictors can also be used there, confidence that fog/low stratus exists is greater, and the IFR Probability field values are larger. Note that the IFR Probability field there is also pixelated, reflecting the small pixel size (nominally 4 km) of the GOES Imager.


Suomi NPP Brightness Temperature Difference Field (11.35 µm – 3.74 µm) and Day Night Band (0.70 µm) at 0905 UTC on 3 March 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP and Aqua both overflew the region around 0900 UTC on 3 March, and the high-resolution snapshots from Suomi NPP (above) and MODIS (below) show scenes that agree with the GOES Imagery. The Brightness Temperature Difference Fields show middle and high clouds over the Texas Panhandle. The Day Night band shows clouds over most of Texas — but it is difficult to distinguish high clouds and low clouds from the imagery. Shadows can be used to infer differences in cloud height — but that requires a knowledge of where the Moon sits in the sky relative to Texas at this time: to the east, or to the west?

The MODIS-based GOES-R IFR Probability field at ~0900 UTC, below, again shows how model data is helpful in filling in regions where high clouds or mid-level clouds obscure the satellite-view of low clouds/stratus.


MODIS-based GOES-R IFR Probability and Aqua Brightness Temperature Difference Fields (11 µm – 3.9 µm) at 0855 UTC, 03 March 2015 (Click to enlarge)