A Quick First Look at the GOES-R Fog and Low Stratus Product…

So, here at NWS HUN, I’ve recently begun ingesting and looking at the GOES-R Fog and Low Stratus (GOES-R FLS) Product.  True, while this is not a SPoRT product, it is a part of the GOES-R Proving Ground and is certainly worthy of operational evaluation and comparison with other GOES-R and JPSS Proving Ground products provided by SPoRT and other entities.  So, this morning, I noticed a relatively extensive patch of what appeared to be mid and high clouds streaming across southern Texas in advance of a weak, sheared trough in the SW CONUS and NW Mexico (Image 1).

GOES visible imagery at 1900 UTC 13 Nov 2015. Observations also shown. The numbers at the bottom of the ob indicate the visibility in statute miles, while the numbers to the left indicate cloud layer heights in hundreds of feet AGL. For example, 90 = 9000 ft AGL.

Image 1.  GOES visible imagery at 1900 UTC 13 Nov 2015. Observations also shown. The numbers at the bottom of the ob indicate the visibility in statute miles, while the numbers to the left indicate cloud layer heights in hundreds of feet AGL. For example, 90 = 9000 ft AGL.

Observations show that most cloud bases in the region were above ~6500 ft AGL.  A look at the GOES-R FLS MVFR Probability product also indicated low chances for MVFR conditions within the cloud shield across the region…with the exception of portions of far southern Texas (Image 2).

Image 2. GOES-R FLS MVFR Probability product at 1900 UTC 13 Nov 2015. Note that based on the color scale (top left) black colors cover much of this area of clouds in southern/eastern TX, with the exception of a small area in far Southern TX near Brownsville and adjacent areas to the south and east.

Image 2. GOES-R FLS MVFR Probability product at 1900 UTC 13 Nov 2015. Note that based on the color scale (top left) black colors cover much of this area of clouds in southern/eastern TX, with the exception of a small area in far Southern TX near Brownsville and adjacent areas to the south and east.

So, how is this value added to the operational weather forecaster?  Easy…it offers a more efficient look at clouds that are impactful…especially to aviation forecast concerns.  The FLS MVFR Probability product in this situation would have shown a forecaster in rather quick fashion that the developing band of clouds upstream from his/her area were generally VFR.  Sure, an interrogation of ground observations would have suggested the same thing, but only at point locations of course.  Forecasters are usually wanting to know what’s going on in between ground observation sites.  Homogeneity may be safely assumed in some cases, but it’s always good to have other sources of information that may verify these assumptions or reduce risk in assumptions.

I have some other thoughts about these data/imagery and will be taking more looks at these data and comparing with other legacy and GOES-R/JPSS Proving Ground products in the future…especially when I have the opportunity to use them operationally in my own area.

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