Monthly Archives: June 2016

Fog/Low Ceilings over Southwest Georgia


GOES-R IFR Probability fields on 27 June 2016 at 0200, 0400, and then hourly from 0700 through 1300 UTC (Click to enlarge)

Late-day thunderstorms on 26 June 2016 set the scene for the development of fog overnight over southwestern Georgia. The animation above shows the GOES-R IFR Probability fields.  An enhancement in the fields that is initially driven by Rapid Refresh Model data showing near-saturation at low levels is apparent at 0200 UTC.  As clouds associated with the departing convection dissipate, satellite data could also be used as input into the IFR Probability fields.  The toggle below of GOES-13 Brightness Temperature Difference fields (3.9 µm – 10.7 µm), at 0200 and 0400 UTC, shows the appearance of low-level clouds as mid-level and higher clouds (dark in the enhancement used) dissipate.  By 0400 UTC, when satellite pixels finally start to suggest low clouds, fog had already started to develop.  IFR Probability fields gave an early alert to the possibility of fog development on this day that was not possible from satellite data alone.


GOES-R Cloud Thickness Fields can give a hint to when radiation fog, as in this event, will dissipate in accordance with this scatterplot. The image below shows the GOES-R Cloud Thickness at 1030 UTC, the last field computed before twilight conditions (indeed, the boundary showing that boundary is readily apparent over eastern Georgia), with values exceeding 900 feet in some places over southwest Georgia.  Based on the scatterplot, that suggests a dissipation time of just over 2 hours (based on the best fit line, but note the scatter in dissipation times associated with cloud thicknesses of 900 feet:  just over an hour to almost 4 hours!) so clear skies would be expected by 1300 UTC.  The animation of visible imagery, here, shows that fog persisted just a bit longer than that, dissipating shortly after 1400 UTC.  GOES-R Cloud Thickness field is an empirical relationship between 3.9 µm emissivity and cloud thickness that is based on SODAR observations off the west coast.  The scatterplot was created based on past observations limited to the southeast part of the US and parts of the Great Plains.


GOES-13 Cloud Thickness, 1030 UTC on 27 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

Low Ceilings and reduced visibilities over the Ohio Valley


Surface Observations at 1200 UTC on 24 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

A screen capture from this site at 1215 UTC on 24 June 2016, above, shows IFR Conditions (Red) and Low IFR Conditions (Purple) over the upper Ohio River Valley and surrounding states.  The IFR Probability field for the same time, below, shows high probabilities in roughly the same regions that have IFR or Low IFR conditions.  The Brightness Temperature Difference field, also displayed in the toggle below, gives little information at this time of day.  A benefit of the GOES-R IFR Probability field is that it contains a coherent signal through sunrise.


GOES-R IFR Probability fields and GOES-13 Brightness Temperature Difference Fields (3.9 µm – 10.7 µm) at 1215 UTC on 24 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

The toggle at 0915 UTC, below, before sunrise, shows a second benefit of IFR Probability fields: a useful signal in regions with cirrus clouds. High clouds, of course, prevent GOES-13 from viewing the development of fog/low stratus near the surface. The Rapid Refresh model data on low-level saturation that are part of the IFR Probability Field computations give quality information in regions of cirrus. In the example below, developing IFR conditions are depicted (the yellow enhancement that shows IFR Probabilities around 40%) over much of northern Kentucky and southern Ohio.  This is under a region of cirrus (black in the enhancement used for the brightness temperature difference) north of a convective system that sits over southeastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee.


GOES-R IFR Probability fields and GOES-13 Brightness Temperature Difference Fields (3.9 µm – 10.7 µm) at 0915 UTC on 24 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

The waning full moon provided ample illumination for the Suomi NPP Day/Night Band Imagery, shown below, from 0736 UTC on 24 June 2016.  The cirrus shield, mid-level clouds and developing valley fogs are all apparent.


Suomi NPP Day/Night band imagery, 0736 UTC on 24 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

IFR Conditions over Maine


GOES-R IFR Probability, and surface plots of ceilings and visibility, 0500-1215 UTC on 12 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

IFR Probability fields, above (a slower animation is here), show high probabilities of IFR Conditions over much of Maine, but a definite western edge is also present, moving eastward through New Hampshire and Vermont and reaching western Maine by 1215 UTC. The screen capture below, from this site, shows IFR (station models with red) and Low IFR Conditions (station models with magenta) over much of southern Maine at 1200 UTC on 12 June in advance of a warm front.

Careful inspection of the IFR Probability animation shows a field at 1000 UTC that is very speckled/pixelated. This likely results from cloud shadowing. The combination of a very low sun and multiple cloud layers resulted in many dark regions in the visible imagery that the cloud masking may have interpreted as clear regions. (Click here for a toggle between Visible Imagery and GOES-R IFR Probabilities at 1000 UTC).


Surface plot at 1200 UTC 12 June 2016. See text for details (Click to enlarge)

Low IFR Probability fields are also computed by the GOES-R Algorithms. Values are typically smaller than IFR Probability. Plots of Low IFR and IFR Probabilities at 0700 and 1215 UTC are shown below.


GOES-R Low IFR Probability and GOES-R IFR Probability, 0700 and 1215 UTC (Click to enlarge)

Power Outages

Two power outages 12 hours apart at UW-Madison CIMSS have impacted distribution of GOES-R IFR Probability fields. It’s possible that products may not be smoothly flowing again until Monday 13 June. Data are flowing as of about 0000 UTC on Saturday.

In the interim, users can find the products at the GEOCAT site. If you’re in the southeast US, near Atlanta, an experimental site that compares IFR Probability and Brightness Temperature Difference fields is here.

For over the Northern Plains


GOES-R IFR Probability Fields, computed from GOES-13 and Rapid Refresh output, 0215-1115 UTC on 1 June 2016 (Click to enlarge)

Dense Fog Advisories were issued over parts of Iowa and Minnesota early on 1 June 2016 (see map below). The fog developed over wet ground left in the wake of convection that moved through the region late in the day on 30 May/early on 1 June (Precipitation totals available here).  GOES-R IFR Probability fields, above, show the two areas of dense fog developing.  The region over Minnesota was characterized a lack of high clouds — the satellite could view the developing fog, and satellite parameters were included in the computation of IFR Probability.  Consequently, the IFR Probability values were larger.

Fog over Iowa initially developed under mid-level clouds behind departing convection. IFR Probability fields in that case show a flatter distribution because horizontal variability is controlled mostly by model fields that are smooth; additionally, IFR Probability values are somewhat reduced because satellite predictors cannot be used. By 0815 UTC, however, mid- and high-level clouds have dissipated, and the satellite has a unobstructed view of the fog/stratus. Satellite predictors could then be used and IFR Probabilities increased, and the field itself shows more horizontal variability as might be expected from the use of nominal 4-km resolution satellite pixels.

Screen Capture of website at 1129 UTC on 1 June. Dense Fog Advisories are indicated over eastern Iowa and northeast Minnesota (click to enlarge)