An Interesting MODIS Combination

SPoRT’s partners at the Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) have an interesting use for MODIS sea surface temperature data. SMG’s operational objective is to support space launch activities, particularly in support of the Space Shuttle program. This extends to forecasting for Kennedy Space Center, trans-Atlantic emergency landing sites, and landing facilities at Edwards Air Force Base, California and White Sands, New Mexico. When supporting activities at the Kennedy Space Center, the influence of the Gulf Stream Current is important. This warm current borders a tongue of cool water that hugs the eastern Florida shoreline. With a large gradient between the two features, the boundary is a common focal point for cloud and storm development. Depending on the synoptic airflow, storms that develop along this boundary may move ashore at Kennedy Space Center and disrupt operations. To help monitor this, SMG overlays visible satellite data (from GOES or MODIS) with the MODIS sea surface temperature composite. The composite, with a 1 km resolution, can easily detect this boundary and the combination with the visible imagery provides an excellent view of whether storms are being initiated at this boundary.

Here is a combination of the MODIS sea surface temperature composite with the corresponding visible imagery. The greens indicate warmer sea surface temperatures, while the blues are cooler. The circled region is the western boundary of the Gulf Stream current, with a developing cumulus field following this boundary.

Here is a combination of the MODIS sea surface temperature composite with the corresponding visible imagery. The greens indicate warmer sea surface temperatures, while the blues are cooler. The circled region is the western boundary of the Gulf Stream current, with a developing cumulus field following this boundary.

2 thoughts on “An Interesting MODIS Combination

  1. Outstanding example of the use of MODIS data along with other products! SMG, what is the tool used to composite/combine the imagery?

  2. This image is probably the coolest example of the MODIS SST data that I have seen yet in the three years or so that I’ve seen this type of data displayed. I can’t think of any better way to “sell” the use of MODIS SSTs in modeling and analysis.

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