RGB Imagery for Cloud Analysis at Night

20131004_0813_sport_viirs_wrn_ntmicro_anotThe VIIRS Night-time Microphysics RGB shows the early season snow storm over the northern Front Range and the variety of clouds with the system.  Low clouds in aqua to the east, and mid-level clouds to the west are differentiated by less blue coloring (i.e. colder) in the mid-level clouds while still retaining green coloring indicating water-based particles making up the clouds.  Other microphysical information is also seen as the inflow of moisture to the storm system changes from yellows to oranges over southwestern CO as the cloud particles change from water to ice phase.  Then, vast areas of oranges and reds characterize the main storm clouds indicating thick, ice clouds, and in some cases a speckled appearance.  The speckling results when very cold clouds cause the 3.9um channel to rapidly decrease in brightness temperature, therefore contributing maximum green to the pixel.  This combined with a maximum red (thickness) results in bright orange.  Darker reds are seen to the east representing thin, high cirrus clouds associated with the jet streak in the area rapidly spreading the ice particles in this area.  The evolving changes in cloud temperature, thickness, and particle phase will be depicted rapidly with this type of product in the GOES-R era.  For now, several passes of MODIS and VIIRS instruments per night provide users a learning opportunity.

 

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