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A Unique Satellite Perspective of the 13–14 January 2004 Record Cold Outbreak in the Northeast

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
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Abstract

A cold, dry arctic air mass occupied southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States on 13–14 January 2004. This air mass was quite dry—total column precipitable water values at Pickle Lake, Ontario, Canada, and The Pas, Manitoba, Canada, were as low as 0.02 in. (0.5 mm)—allowing significant amounts of radiation originating from the surface to be detected using Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 6.5-μm “water vapor channel” imagery. On this day the strong thermal gradient between the very cold snow-covered land surface in southern Canada and the warmer, unfrozen, cloud-free water along the northern portion of the Great Lakes was quite evident in GOES-12 imager water vapor channel data. Several hours later, as the cold dry air mass moved eastward, the coast of Maine, Cape Cod, and the Saint Lawrence River were also apparent in the water vapor channel imagery.

Corresponding author address: Steven A. Ackerman, 1225 West Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. Email: stevea@ssec.wisc.edu

Abstract

A cold, dry arctic air mass occupied southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States on 13–14 January 2004. This air mass was quite dry—total column precipitable water values at Pickle Lake, Ontario, Canada, and The Pas, Manitoba, Canada, were as low as 0.02 in. (0.5 mm)—allowing significant amounts of radiation originating from the surface to be detected using Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 6.5-μm “water vapor channel” imagery. On this day the strong thermal gradient between the very cold snow-covered land surface in southern Canada and the warmer, unfrozen, cloud-free water along the northern portion of the Great Lakes was quite evident in GOES-12 imager water vapor channel data. Several hours later, as the cold dry air mass moved eastward, the coast of Maine, Cape Cod, and the Saint Lawrence River were also apparent in the water vapor channel imagery.

Corresponding author address: Steven A. Ackerman, 1225 West Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. Email: stevea@ssec.wisc.edu

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