November 19th has been eagerly anticipated by the meteorological community as it is the launch of the next-generation GOES-R satellite. The satellite will carry a suite of space weather instruments as well as two Earth observing sensors. The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) will provide three times more channels to view the Earth, four times greater spatial resolution, and 5 times faster coverage. The ABI will provide new means to monitor atmospheric phenomena. Additionally, GOES-R will carry the first ever lightning observation sensor on a geostationary platform; the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). Numerous organizations, including NASA SPoRT, have been supporting the GOES-R Proving Ground for many years to aid the operational community in preparing for the new capabilities of GOES-R.
Specifically, NASA SPoRT has been formally involved with the Proving Ground since 2009, although much of our work prior to this point has provided relevant information with respect to GOES-R. SPoRT has been primarily involved in two activities. The first has been the assessment of and training for multi-spectral imagery, often called red-green-blue (RGB) composites. The RGB composites are used to combine multiple single channels into a single image in order to help emphasize phenomena that forecasters wish to monitor. This can range from air mass microphysics to atmospheric dust. This work has leveraged work by Europe’s EUMETSAT organization who first developed several of these RGB composites for their Meteosat Second Generation satellite. SPoRT has worked with NASA’s MODIS instruments from Aqua and Terra as well as the JPSS VIIRS instrument to create the respective RGBs from polar orbiting instruments. These snapshot demonstrations provided forecasters local examples of RGB composites to allow them to investigate these products prior to GOES-R’s launch. SPoRT has also coordinated with other product developers to help transition their early development work to National Weather Service forecasters. This included the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s GOES-R convective initiation product and the NESDIS quantitative precipitation product.
In additional to the ABI work, SPoRT has been integral to supporting total lightning (intra-cloud and cloud-to-ground) observations in operational applications. This dates back to 2003 with the first transition of experimental ground-based lightning mapping arrays that evolved into the pseudo-geostationary lightning mapper (PGLM) product in 2009 to provide operational training for the GLM. Since then, SPoRT has developed the GLM plug-in for the National Weather Service’s AWIPS system, has personnel serving as the National Weather Service liaison for the GLM, and have developed foundational training that is being provided to every forecaster in the National Weather Service.
SPoRT will continue to be actively engaged in GOES-R applications post launch. This will take the form of developing an applications library, or short 3-5 focused case examples, for both the ABI RGBs and the GLM. SPoRT will also participate in the formal applications training for RGBs and GLM that will be released to the National Weather Service. Lastly, SPoRT will be leading an operational assessment of the GLM with National Weather Service forecasters and associated emergency managers.