We’re near full-moon phase now so I thought I’d take a moment to show some recent VIIRS Day-Night Band (DNB) observations from the Suomi-NPP satellite. This first DNB image from the early morning of Feb 2nd, shows a broad swath of snow on the ground across portions of the Midwest, in addition to a variety of clouds across the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys and further east. The snow field in the DNB image (Image 1) is fairly easily distinguishable from the clouds due to presence of the river valleys cutting across the snow field in the image. Notice the edge of the snowpack extends about as far south as Kansas City, but is mainly on the northern half of the metro area. In this case, having the city lights as a reference can be operationally beneficial…for help in determining surface snow impacts.
This VIIRS Nighttime Microphysics RGB can further help to distinguish snow from clouds (Image 2). Notice that the snow doesn’t really show up well in this RGB (although it encompasses the slightly more orange hues against the surface pink colors). Toggling these two images in AWIPS II would allow a forecast to more readily distinguish snow from clouds .
Following are a couple of DNB images from the past couple of mornings. Notice that the snowpack remains but has been shrinking slightly at its edges over the past couple of days.