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James J. Gurka

Abstract

Satellite imagery shows that extensive areas of radiation fog and stratus dissipate from their outer edges inward. It is proposed that an inward mixing process is at least partially responsible for this inward erosion. The temperature gradient along the fog boundary, which is produced by differential surface heating, should set up a circulation similar to that of a sea breeze. This circulation erodes the fog along the edges as warmer, drier air sinks and mixes into the fog.

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James J. Gurka

Abstract

This paper describes how the strength of thunderstorm gut fronts can frequently be determined from the satellite-derived speed of the clouds associated with the gust front and the appearance of the cloud patterns on the visible and enhanced IR satellite imagery.

Rapidly moving gust fronts are generally associated with strong surface wind speeds, with the strongest winds located in the portion of the arc boundary closest to the most vigorous convection. The region of most vigorous convection can be pinpointed by the cloud-edge gradients and the appearance of the anvil cirrus on enhanced infrared imagery. The relationship between cloud patterns and gust front strength was obtained by plotting surface wind data on 1 and 2 km resolution visible satellite imagery. The speeds of the clouds associated with the gust fronts were determined using an image analyzer with a video disk capable of storing images and displaying them in motion.

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James J. Gurka and Vincent J. Oliver

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Timothy J. Schmit, Jun Li, Steven A. Ackerman, and James J. Gurka

Abstract

The first of the next-generation series of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) is scheduled for launch in 2015. The new series of GOES will not have an infrared (IR) sounder dedicated to acquiring high-vertical-resolution atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles. High-spectral-resolution sensors have a much greater vertical-resolving power of temperature, moisture, and trace gases than low-spectral-resolution sensors. Because of coarse vertical resolution and limited accuracy in the legacy sounding products from the current GOES sounders, placing a high-spectral-resolution IR sounder with high temporal resolution in the geostationary orbit can provide nearly time-continuous three-dimensional moisture and wind profiles. This would allow substantial improvements in monitoring the mesoscale environment for severe weather forecasting and other applications. Application areas include nowcasting (and short-term forecasts) and numerical weather prediction, which require products such as atmospheric moisture and temperature profiles as well as derived parameters, clear-sky radiances, vertical profiles of atmospheric motion vectors, sea surface temperature, cloud-top properties, and surface properties. Other application areas include trace gases/air quality, dust detection and characterization, climate, and calibration. This paper provides new analysis that further documents the available information regarding the anticipated improvements and their benefits.

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Jun Li, W. Paul Menzel, Fengying Sun, Timothy J. Schmit, and James Gurka

Abstract

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) measurements from the Earth Observing System's (EOS's) Aqua satellite enable improved global monitoring of the distribution of clouds. MODIS is able to provide, at high spatial resolution (∼1–5 km), a cloud mask, surface and cloud types, cloud phase, cloud-top pressure (CTP), effective cloud amount (ECA), cloud particle size (CPS), and cloud optical thickness (COT). AIRS is able to provide CTP, ECA, CPS, and COT at coarser spatial resolution (∼13.5 km at nadir) but with much better accuracy using its high-spectral-resolution measurements. The combined MODIS–AIRS system offers the opportunity for improved cloud products over those possible from either system alone. The key steps for synergistic use of imager and sounder radiance measurements are 1) collocation in space and time and 2) imager cloud amount, type, and phase determination within the sounder pixel. The MODIS and AIRS measurements from the EOS Aqua satellite provide the opportunity to study the synergistic use of advanced imager and sounder measurements. As the first step, the MODIS classification procedure is applied to identify various surface and cloud types within an AIRS footprint. Cloud-layer information (lower, midlevel, or high clouds) and phase information (water, ice, or mixed-phase clouds) within the AIRS footprint are sorted and characterized using MODIS 1-km-spatial-resolution data. The combined MODIS and AIRS data for various scenes are analyzed to study the utility of the synergistic use of high-spatial-resolution imager products and high-spectral-resolution sounder radiance measurements. There is relevance to the optimal use of data from the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES) systems, which are to fly on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R.

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Timothy J. Schmit, Jun Li, Jinlong Li, Wayne F. Feltz, James J. Gurka, Mitchell D. Goldberg, and Kevin J. Schrab

Abstract

The first of the next-generation series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-R) is scheduled for launch in the 2015 time frame. One of the primary instruments on GOES-R, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), will offer more spectral bands, higher spatial resolution, and faster imaging than does the current GOES Imager. Measurements from the ABI will be used for a wide range of qualitative and quantitative weather, land, ocean, cryosphere, environmental, and climate applications. However, the first and, likely, the second of the new series of GOES will not carry an infrared sounder dedicated to acquiring high-vertical-resolution atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles that are key to mesoscale and regional severe-weather forecasting. The ABI will provide some continuity of the current sounder products to bridge the gap until the advent of the GOES advanced infrared sounder. Both theoretical analysis and retrieval simulations show that data from the ABI can be combined with temperature and moisture information from forecast models to produce derived products that will be adequate substitutes for the legacy products from the current GOES sounders. Products generated from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) measurements also demonstrate the utility of those legacy products for nowcasting applications. However, because of very coarse vertical resolution and limited accuracy in the legacy sounding products, placing a hyperspectral-resolution infrared sounder with high temporal resolution on future GOES is an essential step toward realizing substantial improvements in mesoscale and severe-weather forecasting required by the user communities.

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Jun Li, W. Paul Menzel, Wenjian Zhang, Fengying Sun, Timothy J. Schmit, James J. Gurka, and Elisabeth Weisz

Abstract

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) measurements from the Earth Observing System's (EOS's) Aqua satellite enable global monitoring of the distribution of clouds. MODIS is able to provide a cloud mask, surface and cloud types, cloud phase, cloud-top pressure (CTP), effective cloud amount (ECA), cloud particle size, and cloud optical thickness at high spatial resolution (1–5 km). The combined MODIS–AIRS system offers the opportunity for improved cloud products, better than from either system alone; this improvement is demonstrated in this paper with both simulated and real radiances. A one-dimensional variational (1DVAR) methodology is used to retrieve the CTP and ECA from AIRS longwave (650–790 cm−1 or 15.38–12.65 μm) cloudy radiance measurements (hereinafter referred to as MODIS–AIRS 1DVAR). The MODIS–AIRS 1DVAR cloud properties show significant improvement over the MODIS-alone cloud properties and slight improvement over AIRS-alone cloud properties in a simulation study, while MODIS–AIRS 1DVAR is much more computationally efficient than the AIRS-alone 1DVAR; comparisons with radiosonde observations show that CTPs improve by 10–40 hPa for MODIS–AIRS CTPs over those from MODIS alone. The 1DVAR approach is applied to process the AIRS longwave cloudy radiance measurements; results are compared with MODIS and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite sounder cloud products. Data from ground-based instrumentation at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Cloud and Radiation Test Bed in Oklahoma are used for validation; results show that MODIS–AIRS improves the MODIS CTP, especially in low-level clouds. The operational use of a high-spatial-resolution imager, along with information from a high-spectral-resolution sounder will be possible with instruments planned for the next-generation geostationary operational instruments.

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Timothy J. Schmit, Mathew M. Gunshor, W. Paul Menzel, James J. Gurka, Jun Li, and A. Scott Bachmeier

The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), designated to be one of the instruments on a future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series, will introduce a new era for U.S. geostationary environmental remote sensing. ABI is slated to be launched on GOES-R in 2012 and will be used for a wide range of weather, oceanographic, climate, and environmental applications. ABI will have more spectral bands (16), faster imaging (enabling more geographical areas to be scanned), and higher spatial resolution (2 km in the infrared and 1–0.5 km in the visible) than the current GOES Imager. The purposes of the selected spectral bands are summarized in this paper. There will also be improved performance with regard to radiometrics and image navigation/registration. ABI will improve all current GOES Imager products and introduce a host of new products. New capabilities will include detecting upper-level SO2 plumes, monitoring plant health on a diurnal time scale, inferring cloud-top phase and particle size and other microphysical properties, and quantifying air quality with improved aerosol and smoke detection. ABI will be operating in concert with the GOES-R high spectral resolution sounder, part of the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES); several products will be improved through the combination of high spatial resolution imager data with collocated high spectral resolution measurements. This paper introduces the proposed ABI spectral bands, discusses the rationale for their selection, and presents simulated ABI examples gleaned from current airborne and satellite instrument data.

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James J. Gurka, Eugene P. Auciello, Anthony F. Gigi, Jeff S. Waldstreicher, Kermit K. Keeter, Steven Businger, and Laurence G. Lee

Abstract

The complex combination of synoptic and mesoscale interactions, topographic influences, and large population densities poses a multitude of challenging problems to winter weather forecasters throughout the eastern United States. Over the years, much has been learned about the structure, evolution, and attendant precipitation within winter storms. As a result, numerous operational procedures, forecast applications, and objective techniques have been developed at National Weather Service offices to assess the potential for, and forecast, hazardous winter weather. A companion paper by Maglaras et al. provided an overview of the challenge of forecasting winter weather in the eastern United States.

This paper focuses on the problem of cyclogenesis from an operational perspective. Since pattern recognition is an important tool employed by field forecasters, a review of several conceptual models of cyclogenesis often observed in the east is presented. These include classical Miller type A and B cyclogenesis, zipper lows, 500-mb cutoff lows, and cold-air cyclogenesis. The ability of operational dynamical models to predict East Coast cyclones and, in particular, explosive cyclogenesis is explored. An operational checklist that utilizes information from the Nested Grid Model to forecast the potential for rapid cyclogenesis is also described. A review of signatures related to cyclogenesis in visible, infrared, and water vapor satellite imagery is presented. Finally, a study of water vapor imagery for 16 cases of explosive cyclogenesis between 1988 and 1990 indicates that an acceleration of a dry (dark) surge with speeds exceeding 25 m s−1, toward a baroclinic zone, is an excellent indicator of the imminent onset of rapid deepening.

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Steven J. Goodman, James Gurka, Mark DeMaria, Timothy J. Schmit, Anthony Mostek, Gary Jedlovec, Chris Siewert, Wayne Feltz, Jordan Gerth, Renate Brummer, Steven Miller, Bonnie Reed, and Richard R. Reynolds

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series (GOES-R) Proving Ground engages the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast, watch, and warning community and other agency users in preoperational demonstrations of the new and advanced capabilities to be available from GOES-R compared to the current GOES constellation. GOES-R will provide significant advances in observing capabilities but will also offer a significant challenge to ensure that users are ready to exploit the new 16-channel imager that will provide 3 times more spectral information, 4 times the spatial coverage, and 5 times the temporal resolution compared to the current imager. In addition, a geostationary lightning mapper will provide continuous and near-uniform real-time surveillance of total lightning activity throughout the Americas and adjacent oceans encompassing much of the Western Hemisphere. To ensure user readiness, forecasters and other users must have access to prototype advanced products within their operational environment well before launch. Examples of the advanced products include improved volcanic ash detection, lightning detection, 1-min-interval rapid-scan imagery, dust and aerosol detection, and synthetic cloud and moisture imagery. A key component of the GOES-R Proving Ground is the two-way interaction between the researchers who introduce new products and techniques and the forecasters who then provide feedback and ideas for improvements that can best be incorporated into NOAA's integrated observing and analysis operations. In 2012 and beyond, the GOES-R Proving Ground will test and validate display and visualization techniques, decision aids, future capabilities, training materials, and the data processing and product distribution systems to enable greater use of these products in operational settings.

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