One of SPoRT’s most promising products is a hybrid of the traditional GOES imagery and the higher-resolution MODIS imagery. Most of the time, WFOs will view GOES data when they load the hybrid, but MODIS data will replace the lower-resolution GOES data when it is available. Kevin Fuell provided more details on the hybrid in his post back in early July.
WFO Huntsville is working with SPoRT to test and refine the hybrid products before they roll out to other collaborating WFOs. The hybrid proved its utility, though, during a dense fog event near the end of September. The traditional GOES fog product imagery from 0845 UTC on 28 September (first image) depicted a large area of fog over portions of east Tennessee and northeast Alabama. The GOES data hinted at some fine-scale details such as a “hole” in the fog along the southern Cumberland Plateau, or fog along the valleys of northeast Alabama, but details such as these can often be discarded by forecasters due to the low resolution. However, the MODIS-enhanced imagery 30 minutes earlier (second iamge) shows significantly better detail, picking up on topographic influences across northeast Alabama and all along the Cumberland Plateau. Interestingly, the MODIS data detects fog within the Elk River valley in south-central Tennessee, but only the GOES imagery indicates fog along the broader Tennessee River across north Alabama and the Land Between the Lakes region in northwest Tennessee and western Kentucky.
While many SPoRT fans are used to seeing MODIS data on a routine basis, the prospect of getting high-resolution data in the same procedure or “feed” as typical GOES imagery makes it much more accessible–and much more inviting–to a wider variety of forecasters.