MODIS SST feedback

1. I have utilized the MODIS SST to get a feel for warm eddies and the “cooler” shelf waters. Comparing the observed SST values with PORTS data and buoys shows a discrepancy of  4-7 degrees cooler temperatures in the MODIS SST data than the obs over the Gulf and as much as 10 degrees over the bays. The bay issue may be a function of sampling 1 KM box and contact with land…but even so the warmest water depicted in Galveston bay shows 86 degrees whereas PORTS observations at Eagle Point-90°F and  Pleasure Pier 92°F.

2. The HGX office has added the MODIS SST data to our local 4km WRF run and saw an immediate improvement in precip forecasts over the water and with morning streamer showers moving inland.

SST image available until it is over-written at

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Kent Prochazka

5 thoughts on “MODIS SST feedback

  1. The improvement of precipitation forecasts for coastal showers is one of the advantages to using the MODIS SSTs in local WRF runs. This is a great example! Are there any images (e.g. radar reflectivity output from WRF compared to real radar data) for visual comparison?

  2. I would like to say… Nice post. The near shore Gulf coast is really heating up! We will look at the discrepancies. They are likely a result of some remaining latency in the data due to clouds. BTW, we have an enhanced product being tested this month, and hope to have it available soon. This enhanced product will provide a more accurate estimate of SSTs.

    Gary Jedlovec

  3. The discrepancy between SST buoy/PORTS obs is likely due to a range error in the AWIPS configuration. SPoRT has sent out a correction which should be applied by the SOO or ITO. Also, the values will likely not match exactly due to the averaging of values that occurs in the composite, along with the latency issue that Gary mentioned (contact me for more on this if needed).

    Interesting that you saw a noticeable change in the WRF precip fields by using the SSTs. The changes seen in the Miami, FL domain have been rather subtle. Sure would like to see an example image from the WRF.

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