SPoRT Land Information System (LIS) Data in AWIPS II!

Since the advent of the AWIPS II era, LIS data have been absent in AWIPS, beginning spring 2012 here at NWS Huntsville.  Forecasters at the Huntsville WFO had become somewhat accustomed to looking at the data/imagery online through the SPoRT website (http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/), which is still a great resource for data and information.  However, this limited the full functionality of the LIS data, especially when considering the lack of ability to overly with other data and make efficient forecast assessments.  The LIS data have been used at NWS Huntsville in the past to assess everything from flooding probability, to drought development, and to the potential for freezing precipitation accumulation.  Thanks to the hard work of the SPoRT team however, we now have LIS data flowing again in AWIPS II!  These data have become very useful operationally here at NWS Hun, and I’m going to be sharing a number of operational examples here on the blog in the days and weeks to come, in addition to some examples in my presentation at the upcoming SPoRT 2014 Virtual Workshop on Thurs, Feb 13th.

First, here is a sample of the SpoRT LIS depiction of shallow layer (0-10 cm) relative soil moisture (%) from the other day, Jan 27, 2014…

Image 1.  SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm Relative Soil Moisture (%), 27 Jan 2014

Image 1. SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm Relative Soil Moisture (%), 1200 UTC 27 Jan 2014

And, here is a sample of the Skin Temperature product from the same date/time…

SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C), 1800 UTC 27 Jan 2014

SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C), 1200 UTC 27 Jan 2014

Now, take a look at the LIS skin temperature the next day after a modified arctic airmass had moved into the deep South, and when a relatively rare winter precipitation event was unfolding across parts of the region.

Image 3.  SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature product 1200 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Image 3. SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C) 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014.  Color shadings from dark blue to white indicate areas where surface skin temperatures are <0C.

As stated above, with the data in AWIPS II, the ability to overlay other data/imagery can be very beneficial for operational forecasters.  Below, is an image of the Skin Temperature product overlaid with a regional WSR-88D radar composite (0.5 reflectivity), along with surface METAR observations.

Image 4.  SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature overlaid with the regional WSR-88D radar composite and surface METAR observations, valid 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Image 4. SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature overlaid with the regional WSR-88D radar composite (30% transparency-adjusted, 0.5 reflectivity) and surface METAR observations, valid 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Together with other imagery and data, the value of this product, particularly when combined with other data, can be extraordinarily beneficial for operational forecasters.  Forecasters have the ability to sample the data in AWIPS II, with direct readout of Skin Temperatures in degrees Celsius as they mouse-over a location.  Combining the radar data with the skin temperature can provide further evidence and a more efficient assessment of locations where precipitation is likely occurring over a frozen surface.

Of course, there are numerous potential applications of these and other LIS data, and as stated earlier, I’ll be addressing more of those in future posts.  By the way, we are currently finalizing a LIS training module, and will have instructions for the ingest and display of these data in AWIPS II available soon.

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