Currently, selected National Weather Service Offices can get MODIS data into their AWIPS work stations. These unique data, provided by SPoRT to our partners have a number of applications, ranging from fog detection, snow cover, and sea surface temperatures. An additional feature relevant to the current fire in California is the ability to identify fire hotspots using 3.9 micron imagery as well as identifying smoke plumes through the natural color composite.
Below is an image showcasing SPoRT’s efforts to continue to support the National Weather Service as they transition to the next generation of display software, AWIPS II. Here is a combined image of a MODIS natural color composite where the smoke can be clearly seen in grey. In addition are two shapefiles provided by the United States Geological Survey website that show the burn area of the fire (orange) and the current fire hot spots (red) for the last 24 hours. These shapefiles are now viewable in AWIPS II.
One of SPoRT’s primary goals is to make these data available in AWIPS, and now AWIPS II, so that forecasters can overlay additional meteorological information to improve both situational awareness and improved forecasts. In this example, instead of having to consult both a web page and the AWIPS II station, a forecaster can synthesize these data in one combined image. Additionally, a forecaster could then overlay current surface observations, including winds to help provide detailed information to emergency managers and fire fighters in the field.