Suomi-NPP ATMS Captures Historic Northeast Blizzard

SPoRT and NESDIS are currently collaborating on an assessment of a snowfall rate (SFR) product that includes data from the Suomi-NPP Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) instrument.  ATMS provides more channels, better resolution, and a wider swath than previous operational microwave sounders, like the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) and Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS).  The SFR product uses information in microwave channels to estimate liquid-equivalent snowfall rates that forecasters can use for pinpointing the locations of the heaviest snowfall during winter weather events.  These observations are being provided in near-real-time (less than 30 minutes latency) through access to data from direct broadcast provided by the University of Wisconsin/CIMSS.

The northeast is currently experiencing a historic blizzard with areas of New England recording more than a foot of snow with more snow to come later today.  Below is an example of the output from the ATMS SFR product depicting heavy snow over most of New England.  This image indicates that the heaviest snowfall at this time was centered over southeastern Connecticut with rates anywhere from 1-1.5 inches of solid snow per hour.

ATMS SFR depicting the 2015 Blizzard at 0650 UTC (around 2:00 A.M. local time) on 27 January 2015.

ATMS SFR depicting the 2015 Blizzard at 0650 UTC (around 2:00 A.M. local time) on 27 January 2015.

Coupled with other microwave sensors on board other NOAA and European satellites, up to 10 swaths of observations are available to provide observations of where the heaviest snowfall is falling and allows forecasters to track these features when used in conjunction with GOES imagery and radar.

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