AIRS Profiles Provide Diagnostic Weather Capabilties

Temperature and moisture profiles derived in real-time from the AIRS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite provide asynoptic sounding information in advance of RAOB data. In the figure, a 12h forecast from the NAM valid at 1200UTC on April 15, 2009 FOR Biirmingham, Alabama indicates a strong inversion below 800hPa and a nearly saturated layer above 500hPa. The AIRS sounding at 0900UTC for the same location, shows a broader inversion through 700hPa and a thin layer of saturdated air near 400hPa (probably indicating cirrus). The RAOB observation for this location at 1200UTC verifies the AIRS features much better than the NAM. Real-time comparisons of AIRS vs NAM vs RAOB profiles over the SEUS can be found at our SPoRT AIRS site.

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