As mentioned in earlier blog posts, SPoRT is currently producing a suite of satellite imagery products in support of forecasting for Hurricane Sandy. These products include multispectral (also called RGB) imagery that blends specific channels that are sensitive to different atmospheric characteristics. They are used to identify different cloud and air mass features within and surrounding the storm. The products are available to NWS/NCEP in their NAWIPS decision support system and in KML format for viewing via Google Earth. All of the data that SPoRT provides to the NWS are also freely available on the SPoRT website or through download via anonymous FTP, so non-NWS decision makers and the public can access the data to track the storm.
VIIRS images are available on the SPoRT website (http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/) by selecting VIIRS under the “Real-Time Data” tab. MODIS images are available on the SPoRT website by selecting MODIS under the “Real-Time Data” tab.
KMZ files for Google Earth are available for download via SPoRT’s FTP server. Click on the links next to each product description to view a list of VIIRS or MODIS imagery available for download into Google Earth.
- True Color RGB: Shows a representation of what the naked eye would view from space. VIIRS MODIS
- Air Mass RGB: Shows different cloud and air mass features, including moist tropical air and dry stratospheric air that enable forecasters to determine how the storm is interacting with its environment. VIIRS & CrIS MODIS
- Day-Night-Band: Allows for imagery to be generated using reflected moonlight or emitted surface light. This is especially helpful because other visible satellite imagery is not available at night. This product shows the location of city lights in clear skies and can be used to depict the extent of power outages due to large storm systems. VIIRS
- Dust RGB: Shows the location of dust, which can be a contributing factor to hurricane development. VIIRS MODIS
- False Color RGB: Enhanced imagery that can differentiate snow from cold cloud tops. VIIRS MODIS
- Nighttime Microphysics RGB: Used to differentiate clouds from low-level fog. VIIRS MODIS
Training on how to interpret the different imagery can be found in training modules developed by SPoRT. These modules can be viewed on the SPoRT website by selecting Training under the “Transitions” tab.
*UPDATE*: It appears that the latest version of Google Earth (6.2) is cropping some of these KML images. To view the full images, it is recommended to use Google Earth 6.1 to view the VIIRS imagery. This older version can be downloaded by visiting the Google Earth download page (http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/agree.html) and clicking the “advanced setup” link located below the Terms of Service.