Experimenting with RGB Color Enhancements in AWIPS

Following the guidelines provided by EUMETSAT, SPoRT is experimenting with developing new MODIS-derived imagery for use in AWIPS, using available spectral bands in differencing techniques that help to delineate air mass characteristics that would otherwise go undetected in single channel imagery.  In the example below, the colorful RGB composite identifies warm and cool air masses contrasting on opposite sides of two frontal boundaries associated with midlatitude cyclones traversing the northeastern United States.  Physically, the red channel identifies moisture at the mid and upper levels through a brightness temperature difference, the green channel identifies ozone rich (polar) versus ozone poor (subtropical) air masses, and the blue component depicts upper level moisture through a single channel brightness temperature.  By combining these components, the resulting colors identify the respective air masses on each side of the frontal boundaries and offer a unique vantage point beyond single channel imagery.

Air mass enhancement based upon EUMETSAT guidelines using a red, green, and blue color composite and available channels from MODIS. The image is displayed within the AWIPS D2D program, a decision support tool used by NOAA's National Weather Service.

Standard infrared, single channel depiction of the same coverage area from MODIS, without additional enhancement.

SPoRT plans to continue exploring the utility of RGB products as a means of improving the use of MODIS data, investigating these products as a precursor to future satellite capabilities, and as a means of providing new tools for weather analysis and forecasting.

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