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Archive for the ‘AWIPS II’ Category

CrIS/ATMS soundings processed through the NOAA Unique Combine Processing System (NUCAPS) are available in AWIPS.  SPoRT is working with the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Proving Ground to testbed the utility of NUCAPS soundings to anticipate hurricane tropical to extratropical transition.  Although satellite derived soundings are “smoother” than radiosondes they can provide valuable information about the depth of moist or dry layers in data sparse regions. Forecasters can anticipate extratropical transition by identifying the dry slot and upstream potential vorticity anomalies on satellite imagery that may interact with a storm while also considering many other factors that lead to extratropical transition.  Although Hurricane Matthew is not expected to undergo extratropical transition for quite a few days, the NUCAPS Soundings can be used to diagnose the temperature and moisture characteristics surrounding the hurricane as highlighted below.

GOES-13 water vapor imagery shows dry upper levels west of Hurricane Matthew and abundant moisture surrounding the system (Fig. 1).  Since water vapor imagery can only detect moisture characteristics in the mid-to upper- levels of the atmosphere, the NUCAPS soundings (green dots on Fig. 1) can be analyzed to provide more information about the vertical extent of the dry air and whether it is in close proximity to the hurricane in the mid- to lower- levels.

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Fig. 1. 5 October 2016 1830 UTC GOES-13 water vapor imagery and 1811 UTC NUCAPS Soundings. Green dots represent point and click soundings. Blue numbers label location of example soundings highlighted below.

Scroll down through the example Soundings to compare the changes in moisture conditions west of Hurricane Matthew. Soundings 1 and 2 (Fig. 2 and 3), taken in a region of dry air as identified by the orange color enhancement on the water vapor imagery, confirm a dry column throughout the depth of the atmosphere. Sounding 3 (Fig. 4) shows the drying is not as intense in the upper-levels and mid-level drying extends down to about 600 mb. Sounding 4 and 5 (Fig. 5 and 6) show upper level conditions are more moist closer to the hurricane, as expected from the water vapor imagery. While Sounding 4 (Fig. 5) shows moist conditions throughout the atmospheric column, Sounding 5 (Fig. 6) does show mid-level dry air is present.  Previous analysis of Sandy 2012 and Arthur 2014 showed the same signature (e. g., similar to Sounding 5) became more abundant surrounding the systems as upper-level dry air intruded.  Currently, there are very few soundings with this signature surrounding Hurricane Matthew.  The NUCAPS soundings confirm dry atmospheric conditions are well west of the system and there is very little mid- to low- level dry air in the proximity of the system.  This preliminary example is presented but as Hurricane Matthew continues to evolve NUCAPS Soundings and SPoRT Ozone Products will be analyzed to discern the utility for anticipating dry air intrusion and associated hurricane tropical to extratropical transition.

Sounding 1

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Fig. 2. 5 October 2016 1811 UTC NUCAPS Sounding at Location 1.

 

Sounding 2

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Fig. 3. 5 October 2016 1811 UTC NUCAPS Sounding at Location 2.

Sounding 3

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Fig. 4. 5 October 2016 1811 UTC NUCAPS Sounding at Location 3.

Sounding 4

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Fig. 5. 5 October 2016 1811 UTC NUCAPS Sounding at Location 4.

Sounding 5

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Fig. 6. 5 October 2016 1811 UTC NUCAPS Sounding at Location 5.

 

 

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Over the last few days Himawari-8 AHI Air Mass RGB imagery has captured an impressive view of Severe Tropical Storm Choi-wan near Japan.  The storm began as a tropical depression near Wake Island and the Japan Meteorological Agency upgraded the depression to a tropical storm on October 2nd.  The tropical storm continued to move north-northwest toward Japan and the Sea of Okhotsh but weakened as it evolved.  Yesterday and today (October 8th) the storm began to take on more extratropical characteristics and look like a strong mid-latitude low pressure system (click on Fig. 1 animation).

Himawari-8 AHI Air Mass RGB 0000 UTC 6 October 2015 to2020 UTC 8 October 2015

Figure 1. Himawari-8 AHI Air Mass RGB 0000 UTC 6 October 2015 to2020 UTC 8 October 2015

Currently, SPoRT is investigating the utility of NOAA Unique CrIS/ATMS Processing System (NUCAPS) satellite retrieved soundings for hurricane tropical to extratropical transition events. Soundings are typically used to anticipate severe weather and analyze the pre-convective environment; however, they can be just as valuable for analyzing and understanding the environment surrounding complex extratropical transition events, especially over data sparse oceanic regions. National Center forecasters at the National Hurricane Center and Ocean Prediction Center routinely use the Air Mass RGB for forecasting such events, especially for identifying the influence of warm, dry stratospheric air during extratropical transition.  Although the Air Mass RGB provides a wealth of information about the upper-level horizontal distribution of temperature and moisture characteristics surrounding a storm, it does not provide insight about the vertical distribution of thermodynamic characteristics. With Next-Generation S-NPP/JPSS NUCAPS Soundings now available in AWIPS-II, they can be used in conjunction with the Air Mass RGB to anticipate extratropical transition events.

Here are a few examples of NUCAPS Soundings compared to the Air Mass RGB. Let’s take a look at NUCAPS Soundings in three locations in the environment surrounding Severe Tropical Storm Choi-wan (Fig. 2).

Himawari-8 AHI Air Mass RGB 1520 UTC 7 October 2015 capturing an impressive

Figure 2. Himawari-8 AHI Air Mass RGB 15:20 UTC 7 October 2015 capturing impressive view of Severe Tropical Storm Choi-wan near Japan and NUCAPS Sounding point locations (green dots) 1500 UTC

Location 1, red/orange coloring, represents upper-level dry air on the Air Mass RGB.  To no surprise, the NUCAPS Sounding (Fig. 3) reveals dry upper-levels and dry conditions throughout the atmospheric column.

NUCAPS Sounding 1500 UTC 7 October 2015 taken near label 1 in the Air Mass RGB in a region representative of upper-level dry air (orange coloring)

Figure 2. NUCAPS Sounding 1500 UTC 7 October 2015 taken near Location 1 in the Air Mass RGB(Fig. 2) in a region representative of upper-level dry air (red/orange color)

Now Location 2 is also in an orange colored region and representative of upper-level dry air, but take note the coloring is not as “red tinted” as Location 1 and there are more mid-level clouds.  Mid-level clouds tend to be light tan or ocher colored in the Air Mass RGB.  The NUCAPS Sounding (Fig. 3) does confirm a mid-level moisture layer from about 800-600 mb. Seeing ocher clouds in the RGB only means that qualitatively mid-level clouds are present (one can’t get a quantitative height from the RGB), but inspection of the NUCAPS Sounding would give a quantitative height estimate of the mid-level clouds.  Although this sounding is in the region right over the mid-level cloud, looking at more soundings in the same orange region (but not right over a cloud) do show the atmospheric column is not completely dry (like Location 1) but there is low- to mid-level moisture present throughout the region surrounding Location 2.  Just by looking at the RGB one may not realize a mid- to low-level moisture layer is present since the interpretation of the orange coloring in the Air Mass RGB is upper-level dry air.

NUCAPS Sounding

Figure 3. NUCAPS Sounding 1500 UTC 7 October 2015 taken near Location 2 in the Air Mass RGB (Fig. 2) in a region representative of upper-level dry air (orange coloring) and mid-level clouds (light orange or ocher color)

Location 3 is the most interesting (at least to me since the sounding gives more information about the atmosphere than one could extrapolate from just looking at the Air Mass RGB).  The green coloring around Location 3 represents a warm, moist air mass.  The NUCAPS Sounding (Fig. 4) does reveal a more moist sounding about 300 mb and above, but note there is mid-level dry air present and a low level moist layer.  Again the NUCAPS Soundings provide more information about mid- and low- level characteristics that one can’t infer from the RGB imagery.  This is just one example that highlights the utility of analyzing Next-Generation satellite data sets for complex weather events in data sparse regions.

NUCAPS Sounding

Figure 4. NUCAPS Sounding 1500 UTC 7 October 2015 taken near Location 3 in the Air Mass RGB (Fig. 2) in a region representative of upper-level moist air (orange coloring) and mid-level clouds (green color)

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Last year, NASA SPoRT submitted a proposal to collaborate with the Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, Missouri.  The effort is focused on evaluating the Meteogram Moving Trace Tool developed by the Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) with support from NASA SPoRT to include total lightning.  One of the top requests from forecasters has been to create a time series plot of total lightning in real-time.  SPoRT first began to develop the total lightning tracking tool for use in AWIPS II to use with total lightning observations from the ground-based lightning mapping arrays.  The effort has now expanded to SPoRT coordinating with MDL’s meteogram tool for AWIPS II.  The advantage of the MDL tool is that it can create time series trends for multiple data sets beyond total lightning (e.g., radar, satellite, models).

This week, the Operations Proving Ground has brought together forecasters, developers, and trainers from multiple organizations to evaluate the use of this tool in several scenarios.  The opportunity for face-to-face discussions, training, and evaluation has been invaluable for the MDL and SPoRT developers to assess how the tool may be used in operations and to fix bugs that are found.  The face-to-face nature has allowed for bugs or requests for new features to be addressed throughout the day and to test the fixes the following day.  The week long evaluation facilitated by the Operations Proving Ground will lead to several improvements to the meteogram trace tool in preparation for its deployment in AWIPS II later this year.

Forecasters evaluating the meteogram trace tool at the Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, Missouri.

Forecasters evaluating the meteogram trace tool at the Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, Missouri.

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The Huntsville County Warning Area received widespread 3-5 inch snowfalls Wednesday night, with a few sites reporting as high as 10 inches!  While it’s melting quickly today with temperatures in the mid and upper 30s, the snow cover did hang around long enough to be captured by the mid-morning MODIS pass (though we are on the very edge of the pass, so the bowtie distortions are noticeable).  That might be nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve been able to view such imagery in AWIPS II.

MODIS Snow/Cloud RGB Image valid 1546 UTC 13 February 2014

MODIS Snow/Cloud RGB Image valid 1546 UTC 13 February 2014

MODIS True Color Image valid 1546 UTC 13 February 2014, viewed in AWIPS II CAVE

MODIS True Color Image valid 1546 UTC 13 February 2014, viewed in AWIPS II CAVE

The Snow-Cloud RGB is particularly illuminating, as it effectively illustrates the downslope-induced cloud breaks over northern Georgia.

Great job to the SPoRT AWIPS II team on helping us get these data back into AWIPS!  There are still some kinks to work out, but this essentially restores the SPoRT data feed that was in place before our A2 upgrade in June 2012.

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In the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 29th a deck of low stratus clouds developed over the Copper River Basin in Alaska.  The RGB Night-Time Microphysics product derived from SNPP VIIRS instrument at 1321UTC (4:21am local Alaska time) is shown in the following screen capture from the National Weather Service’s AWIPS workstation at WFO Fairbanks, Alaska.   This view is zoomed into the southern portion of mainland Alaska; the Copper River Basin is northeast of Anchorage and includes the community of Gulkana.  The 1253UTC METAR observation from Gulkana indicated an overcast ceiling of 500ft above ground, with seven miles of horizontal visibility.  The RGB NT Micro depicts the stratus deck with a gray-yellow color, and one can see the low clouds confined by the higher terrain and covering the broad Cooper River Basin as well as following the more narrow Copper River itself as it flows southeast of Gulkana and eventually into the Gulf of Alaska.

Copper Basin annotated

A comparison of the RGB NT Micro product with different VIIRS products from the same SNPP pass is presented in the following 4-panel screen capture.  The RGB NT Micro is in the upper-left, the Day-Night Band is in the upper-right, the 11.45 micron IR is in the lower-right, and the traditional channel differencing fog product is in the lower-left.  The deck of stratus clouds over the Copper River Basin is also evident in the longwave IR imagery and the fog product.  The clouds are thin enough that the city lights of are evident through the cloud layer in the Day-Night Band.  In this example, it appears that the stratus deck is most evident in the RGB NT Micro and the fog product, and least evident in the Day-Night Band.

Copper Basin 4-Panel

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The latest version of the Advanced Research WRF (WRF EMS v3.4.1) is up and running at NWS Huntsville.  While we still have some adjustments to make, which primarily involve getting ALL of the desired forecast parameters into AWIPS II…the data are mostly available (example shown in image 1).  One of the primary advantages of outputting data to AWIPS II is the ability to overlay multiple fiorecast parameters (image 1), and to include other data sets such as regional METARs.  This can provide forecasters with the ability to make quick qualitative and quantative analysis of the model’s performance with real-time data sets.

Image 1.  HUN local WRF EMS nested 3km domain displayed in AWIPS II.  Shown are surface dewpoints (F, image), surface wind streamlines (knots, white lines), mean sea-level pressure (mb, yellow lines), and METAR plots valid 1500 UTC 14 Aug 2013.  This is the 3 hour forecast data from the 1200 UTC "SPoRT" model run.

Image 1. WFO HUN local WRF EMS nested 3km domain displayed in AWIPS II. Shown are surface dewpoints (F, color image), surface wind streamlines (knots, white lines), mean sea-level pressure (mb, yellow lines), and METAR plots valid at 1500 UTC 14 Aug 2013. Note that these are 3 hour forecast data from the 1200 UTC “SPoRT” model run.

Our office IT has created a new data viewer as well, which has some great features: capable of displaying data/imagery from archived model runs, can automatically generate animated .gifs, allows switching between the SPoRT and control models for quick, qualitative analysis between the two model runs.

Image 2.  New HUN WRF EMS Viewer. Data shown are 3km inner domain 3-hour forecast 2 m temperatures valid 1500 UTC 14 August 2013.

Image 2. New HUN WRF EMS Viewer. Data shown are 2m temperatures valid 1500 UTC 14 August 2013, from the 3km nested 1200 UTC SPoRT model run.

The HUN office is involved in a collaborative effort with SPoRT, configuring our local model to use MODIS-derived data (GVF, SSTs,) and the SPoRT Land Information System (land surface model) in our operational run.  A control model is also being run on the same system, using standard NAM and other climatological data sets in place of the SPoRT related data sets.  SPoRT is providing an updated version of the Meteorological Evaluation Tools (MET) which will make objective, quantitative analysis and verification of the model runs possible.  It is expected that the more representative, higher resolution SPoRT related data sets will translate to better overall accuracy of forecast parameters in the SPoRT model run vs those of the control run when compared with real-world in-situ observations.  We will be running the MET for specific events and perhaps to determine and compare longer term biases between the two model runs over the remaining summer and the upcoming fall/winter.

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There can be little doubt that the AWIPS II operational testing and evaluation process has been rocky.  But there are times when it really shows some great potential.  Case in point–the GOES-R convective initiation product, which WFO Huntsville is beginning to get into AWIPS II on a provisional basis.

Visible Satellite and GOES-R CI Image, valid 2300 UTC 18 July 2013

Visible Satellite and GOES-R CI Image, valid 2300 UTC 18 July 2013

WFO Huntsville has tested the CI product from UAHuntsville off and on for several years, but it has not been available for the last year or so while working through challenges related to AWIPS II.  This week we decided to give it a try.  The installation process was nearly as easy as it was for the total lightning plug-in, except no outside software is required–the CI data arrive in Grib-2 format, which means only some minor configuration adjustments are required.  Another advantage is that AWIPS II allows overlaying of multiple images, instead of toggling between just two, so a derived product like CI can be inserted with any combination of data.

We couldn’t have picked a better day to try it out.  After a shortwave trough passed through this morning, slightly drier and more stable conditions were suppressing most convection, but not all of it.  Several storms developed in northeast Alabama and southern middle Tennessee, triggering higher CI probabilities (as noted in the above image).  Despite the waning sunlight, one of the last cells of the day had the highest probability from the CI product–92–as seen in the radar combination image below.

KHTX Radar reflectivity and GOES-R CI image, valid (approximately) 0015 UTC 19 July 2013

KHTX Radar reflectivity and GOES-R CI image, valid (approximately) 0015 UTC 19 July 2013

True to form, this cell in Franklin County, Tennessee ended up producing quite a bit of heavy rain and some lightning near the Winchester area by approximately 0045 UTC.

KHTX Radar reflectivity and GOES-R CI image, valid approximately 0045 UTC 19 July 2013

KHTX Radar reflectivity and GOES-R CI image, valid approximately 0045 UTC 19 July 2013

It’s probably early to say that the GOES-R CI product is “fully operational” within AWIPS II at WFO Huntsville, but we are on our way.  I’m looking forward to using the newest version of the product as we head into the depths of the summer convective season.

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