SPoRT has worked closely with the GOES-R and JPSS Proving Grounds to explore innovative applications for the Air Mass RGB and CrIS/ATMS NUCAPS Soundings. Specific applications include identification of stratospheric air influence and tropopause folding to anticipate rapid cyclogenesis and hurricane tropical to extratropical transition.
When the Air Mass RGB was first introduced to NOAA NWS National Center forecasters in 2012, SPoRT developed a total column ozone product from the NASA AIRS instrument (a hyperspectral infrared sounder) as a way to help forecasters gain confidence in interpreting the qualitative RGB. Since that time SPoRT has continued to develop quantitative ozone products such as the ozone anomaly and tropopause height products from additional hyperspectral infrared sensors such as CrIS/ATMS and IASI.
More recently, CrIS/ATMS NUCAPS Soundings were added to AWIPS-II for forecasters to utilize in operations. SPoRT has specifically explored the utility of NUCAPS Soundings for hurricane tropical to extratropical transition (see link to training material). With the availability of the GOES-16 Air Mass RGB and NUCAPS Soundings in AWIPS-II there is an opportunity to explore rapid cyclogenesis cases and extratropical transition events with next-generation satellite capabilities. Since we have the capability to display the client-side generated Air Mass RGB here at SPoRT, here is a quick preview of how the NUCAPS Soundings can be used to compliment the Air Mass RGB.
Please note, the GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing. Users bear all responsibility for inspecting the data prior to use and for the manner in which the data are utilized.
The Air Mass RGB is able to detect temperature and moisture characteristics in the mid- to upper levels of the atmosphere. Warm, dry air upper level air appears in red/orange tones. Dry upper level air appears more red when associated with anomalous potential vorticity as warm, dry, ozone-rich air is pulled downward by the jet stream circulation. Dry upper levels away from the jet stream appear orange. In contrast warm, moist tropical air appears in green tones, appearing more olive when less moisture is present.
In the Air Mass RGB image above you can see a well-defined upper-level temperature and moisture boundary across the southern U.S. associated with yesterday’ s passing frontal system. NUCAPS Soundings can provide additional information about the thermodynamic and stability characteristics of the lower-levels of the atmosphere which cannot be deciphered in the Air Mass RGB. The Sounding at Location 1 shows a mostly dry atmospheric column, which is typical for the orange colored regions (i.e dry upper levels) in the RGB, note however there are moister conditions around 850 mb. The Soundings at Location 2 and 3 in the green colored regions (i.e. moist upper levels) confirm moist upper-level conditions. What the NUCAPS Soundings reveal is a layer of much drier mid-level air between about 850-400 mb, which cannot be detected in the Air Mass RGB. The ability to detect such a layer can be important in data sparse regions. Although this is a benign weather situation where much of the Southeast enjoyed sunny, cool, and dry conditions today, this same technique can be applied to more intense, high impact events to assess the thermodynamic environment surrounding a developing low pressure system or weakening hurricane where moist or dry layers can have an impact on storm intensity.
For more information regarding the Air Mass RGB, including applications and interpretation guides for the color features in the imagery:
- SPoRT Quick Guide: Air Mass RGB in the SPoRT Training Site
- SPoRT Air Mass RGB: Introduction (Module) ~20 minutes
- JPSS Satellite Products for Extratropical Transition (Module) ~10 minutes
- Multispectral Imagery for Detecting Stratospheric Air Intrusions Associated with Mid-Latitude Cyclones (Zavodsky et. al 2013)
- Development and Application of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Ozone Retrieval Products for Operational Meteorology (Abstract for Berndt et al. 2016)