Volume 1, Issue 1
July - September 2015
Images From Advanced Himawari Imager Now Available at CIMSS and CIRA
Himawari-8 true color image using the CIRA Hybrid Atmospherically Corrected method, as it appears on the RAMMB/CIRA real time webpage, from 10-2-2015 at 0300 UTC
(click to enlarge)
STAR began receiving AHI data from the JMA Cloud Service routinely since the end of March 2015. The Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI)
is nearly identical to ABI except for two spectral bands, and this provides a unique opportunity for the AWG to validate their algorithms.
This data is also vital for NWS operational needs in the Pacific (e.g.). RAMMB/CIRA and ASPB/CIMSS have started production and distribution
of imagery. Software was written to read the raw data in real time, process it, and output imagery which is served here http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/himawari-8.asp
and via the CIMSS Real Earth page here https://realearth.ssec.wisc.edu/. Multiple requests
have been received from both Pacific Region NWS personnel and people and agencies internationally asking that sectors be added over their
region of interest; these have been accommodated at the RAMMB link above. In addition, RAMMB/CIRA is sending out some of the bands in real
time via the LDM for use by the NWS Ocean Prediction Center and Aviation Weather Center. To the right is an example of a full disk true color image
based on CIRA's Hybrid Atmospherically Corrected method.
First Article on Decadal Changes in Ocean Acidification
The climatological distributions of aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) in surface waters of the global oceans (black dots show the sampling stations)
(click to enlarge)
New research conducted by NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Climate
and Satellites at the University of Maryland scientists identify areas of
global ocean most vulnerable to ocean acidification. A paper published in
Global Biogeochemical Cycles presents, for the first time, a
climatological distribution of aragonite saturation state in surface and
subsurface waters of the global oceans. Aragonite saturation state is used
to track ocean acidification because it is a function of carbonate ion
concentration. The figure below shows the climatological distributions of
aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) in surface waters of the global
oceans (black dots show the sampling stations).
The authors discuss the mechanisms controlling the aragonite saturation
state distribution and show seasonal and decadal changes:
Jiang, L.-Q., R. A.
Feely, B. R. Carter, D. J. Greeley, D. K. Gledhill, K. M. Arzayus, 2015:
Climatological distribution of aragonite saturation state in the global oceans,
Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29, DOI: 10.1002/2015GB005198.
The NOAA press release for this article can be found at:
Importance: Analysis of ocean acidification data promotes NOAA's
mission to conserve and manage marine ecosystems. POC: L.-Q. Jiang
Improved Precipitation Retrieval from Satellites
Geospatial distribution of the estimated F17 SSMIS observed rain rate in 2013 summer season (June, July, and August) at 1 degree grid resolution.
(click to enlarge)
CICS-MD (Y. You, N-Y. Wang) and SCSB (R. Ferraro) Scientists
developed a prototype precipitation retrieval algorithm over land by
utilizing 4 year National Mosaic and Multi-Sensor Quantitative
Precipitation Estimation (NMQ) and Special Sensor Microwave
Imager/Sounder (SSMI/S) coincident data sets. One of the unique features
of this algorithm is that it uses other factors like surface type,
surface temperature, land elevation, and ice layer thickness to split
the single database into many smaller but more homogeneous databases, in
which both the surface condition and precipitation vertical structure
are similar. This approach significantly improved precipitation
detection and retrieval over our previous approach and without using
surface screening It is found that the probability of detection (POD)
increases about 8% and 12% by using stratified databases for rainfall
and snowfall detection, respectively. In addition, by considering the
relative humidity at lower troposphere and the vertical velocity at 700
hPa in the precipitation detection process, the POD for snowfall
detection is further increased by 20.4% from 56.0% to 76.4%. The outcome
of this algorithm may be exploited by NASA's Global Precipitation
Measurement (GPM) team.
Details of this technique have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research:
You, Y., N.-Y. Wang, and R. Ferraro (2015), A prototype precipitation
retrieval algorithm over land using passive microwave observations
stratified by surface condition and precipitation vertical structure, J.
Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, 5295-5315, DOI: 10.1002/2014JD022534.
New & Experimental Tropical Cyclone (TC) surface wind
from CIRA and the Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology
Branch on the web
Aircraft-based Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Analysis of Hurricane Joaquin
(click to enlarge)
Since the mid-1990's aircraft reconnaissance data has been available
in real-time at the National Hurricane Center and starting in 2009 to
the meteorological community. But these data has been under utilized in
operations and public decision making. To provide improved used of such
data, a relatively simple and automated surface wind estimate method has
been created. These analyses provide location of many important aspects
of the tropical cyclone vortex including the location (radius and
azimuth) of the maximum winds, the radii, and extent of the 22.5-kt, 34-
kt, 50-kt, and 64-kt wind radii. This information is vital to
forecasters and decision makers for wave forecasting, public pre-storm
preparations, DOD site sortie/evacuation decisions, and hurricane
An experimental aircraft-based surface wind analysis that blends the
operational MTCSWA winds and real-time aircraft reconnaissance data
collected over a 6-hour period of time is now available on the TC-
RealTime web page. This product, high resolution (top) and lower-
resolution (middle), seeks to create a real-time and fully automated
surface wind analysis system by combining the existing satellite-based
six-hourly multi-platform tropical cyclone surface wind analysis (MTCSWA
operational version) and aircraft reconnaissance data. This product is
the result of a two-year Joint Hurricane Testbed project, which is being
considered for operational transition at NHC. A full description of the
product is provided at http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/products/tc_realtime/about.asp#AIRCTCWA.
STAR Scientists from the Advanced Satellite Products Branch Win the 2015 Best Scientific Paper Award
This image shows MODIS-AQUA satellite products for 27 April 2011 over the southeast US, Central America and the Gulf of Mexico (GoM)
(click to enlarge)
Brad Pierce and Andy Heidinger from ASPB were co-authors on the "Best
Scientific Paper" award at the 2015 STAR Awards ceremony that was held
at NCWCP on July 30. The paper, "Central American biomass burning smoke
can increase tornado severity in the U.S" was published in the American
Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters, and was co-authored by
scientists from the University of Iowa (lead author), STAR/CoRP/ASPB,
CIMSS (J. Otkin, T. Schaack), and NASA Goddard and Ames Space Centers.
This high impact scientific paper makes connections between U.S.
tornadic occurrence and severity to the amount of smoke that is in the
atmosphere during convective outbreaks. The STAR awards are determined
through peer nominations within the organization - federal, contractor
and university researchers - who submit nominations through an annual
process. The applications are then evaluated by a committee of
representatives from each division of STAR, as well as the STAR
director. One individual and one group "best paper" award are presented.
This paper was selected out of 10 nominations that were received.
The article by Saide et al. (2015) shows that the increase in aerosol
loads in the GoM is produced by fires in Central America, and this smoke
is further transported to the southeast US where it can interact with
clouds and radiation producing environmental conditions more favorable
to significant tornado occurrence for the historical outbreak on 27
April 2011. Satellite L1B (true color image), AOD, and fire detection
retrievals obtained from the NASA Level 1 and Atmosphere Archive and
Distribution System (LAADS); Tornado reports obtained from the NOAA
Storm Prediction Center (SPC); imagery courtesy of Brad Pierce NOAA
Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) Center for Satellite
Applications and Research (STAR).
In the image at right, tornado tracks are depicted with red solid lines,
thickness indicates the magnitude of the tornado reports (thickest=5, thinnest=1)
for the period from April 26-28, 2011. The background is a true color
image of the surface, clouds, and smoke, with yellow markers indicating
fire detections and an iridescent overlay showing aerosol optical depth
(AOD). Red, green and purple colors show high (1.0), medium (0.6) and low (0.1) AOD values.
Saide, P. E., S. N. Spak, R. B. Pierce, J. A. Otkin, T. K. Schaack,
A. K. Heidinger, A. M. da Silva, M. Kacenelenbogen, J. Redemann, and G.
R. Carmichael (2015), Central American biomass burning smoke can
increase tornado severity in the U.S., Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 956-965,
CIRA Layered Water Vapor Used in National Center Discussions on Hurricanes Joaquin and Marty
Four-panel blended layer precipitable water (LPW) merged at 2100 UTC 29 Sep 2015.
(click to enlarge)
Forecasters have long used precipitable water products to aid
forecasting of heavy precipitation and flooding, especially where large
tropical moisture plumes are expected to impact land. Two of the most
common products used in forecast applications are GOES water vapor
imagery, which provides a proxy for mid- to upper-level water vapor, and
total precipitable water products from polar orbiting microwave sensors,
which allow the detection of total column water vapor in all weather
scenes. A deficiency of these products is that they contain few details
about the vertical distribution of the water vapor.
To overcome these shortcomings a three-hourly layered precipitable
water (and relative humidity) product has been developed at CIRA and is
distributed by SpORT to NWS and NESDIS forecast centers. The product is
a blended product using both the microwave integrated retrieval system
(MIRS), which operates on several satellites (NOAA-18, -19, Metop-A, -B,
and SNPP) and soundings based on retrievals from the NASA Atmospheric
Infrared Sounder (AIRS) from the NASA Aqua satellite. The product
consists of four pressure layers and is based on the blending and
integration of the blended MIRS and AIRS moisture and temperature
soundings. These products were used in the NWS Weather Prediction Center
Discussion of Hurricanes Joaquin and Marty. An example of the product
and excerpt from a WPC mesoscale precipitation discussion on moisture
and flooding ahead of Hurricane Joaquin is shown in the Figure below.
The image at right shows a four-panel blended layer precipitable
water (LPW) depiction merged at 2100 UTC 29 Sep 2015. Tropical Storm
Joaquin is indicated. Black areas are either missing due to
topography at the surface - 850 mb layer, or not retrieved
due to heavy rain. An excerpt from a NOAA WPC mesoscale
precipitation discussion on flooding indicates the value of the
CIRA blended LPW products.
NWS Product Example
MESOSCALE PRECIPITATION DISCUSSION 0530
NWS WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
1016 AM EDT TUE SEP 29 2015
AREAS AFFECTED...SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
CONCERNING...HEAVY RAINFALL...FLASH FLOODING LIKELY
FORCING FROM THE SHORTWAVE IN GA AND A GENERALLY DIVERGENT PATTERNALOFT IS HELPING FORCE ASCENT ON THE LARGE SCALE...WITH 20-30 KTS OF LOW LEVEL UPSLOPE FLOW AIDING IN LIFT. LAYERED PRECIPITABLE WATER PRODUCTS SHOW AN IMPRESSIVE COMBINATION OF FACTORSCONTRIBUTING TO THE NEAR RECORD PRECIPITABLE WATER VALUES ACROSS THIS REGION. A CONNECTION TO THE PACIFIC AND TROPICAL STORM MARTY CAN BE SEEN IN THE MID/UPPER LEVELS...WITH A DEEP LAYER CONNECTION TO THE GULF OF MEXICO AND ALSO TROPICAL STORM JOAQUIN IN THE ATLANTIC. THIS IS ALL RESULTING IN A VERY EFFICIENT ATMOSPHERE FOR HEAVY RAIN RATES. THE ONE THING LACKING IS INSTABILITY...BUT AT
AND COLDER CLOUD TOPS...
A full description of the methodology is found in Forsythe et al (2015):
Forsythe, J. M., S. Q. Kidder, K. K. Fuell, A. LeRoy, G. J. Jedlovec,
and A. S. Jones, 2015: A multisensor, blended, layered water vapor
product for weather analysis and forecasting. J. Operational Meteor., 3
(5), 41-58. DOI: 10.15191/nwajom.2015.0305
Demonstrating the Use of Lightning Data in Severe Storm Tracking
Twitter snapshot of the Washington Post "Capital Weather Gang" tweet of the animation lightning flash density as measured by the DCLMA.
(click to enlarge)
As we prepare for the launch of GOES-R which will fly the first operational Global
Lightning Mapper (GLM) (http://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/glm.html),
scientists at the Satellite
Climate Studies Branch (SCSB) and the Cooperative Institute for Climate Studies (CICS)
at the University of Maryland have been experimenting with ground based Washington,
DC Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA) data to
Scott Rudlosky from SCSB is STAR's Lightning Subject Matter Expert and is our focal
point for GOES-R GLM activities. The DCLMA is part of the GOES-R GLM validation activity
that is being led by scientists at NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.
However, we are learning quite a bit about lightning from these ground networks as well.
In the early morning hours of July 1, 2015, a huge electrical storm
passed over Maryland and Washington, DC. It was described in the
Washington Post as "the most violent and complex storm since the June
2012 derecho...." CICS-MD Scientist Patrick Meyers quickly put together
a looped animation of lightning flash density as measured by the DCLMA
and posted it early the next morning. It was picked up by the Washington
Post "Capital Weather Gang" and later sent out on their twitter feed (https://twitter.com/capitalweather/status/616263640740691968).
The image is a snapshot of the animation as seen from Twitter. Working
with student summer interns, scientists are also using the DCLMA to
diagnose reported lightning hits in the region to see the viability of
CoRP Science Symposium
Attendees of the 11th Annual NOAA/NESDIS CoRP Science Symposium
(click to enlarge)
The 11th Annual NOAA/NESDIS CoRP Science Symposium was
held on September 16 and 17 at the University of Maryland Conference
Center. This year's symposium was hosted by CICS Executive Director
Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm and CICS-MD Director Hugo Berbery.
Undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs and early career scientists
presented 32 talks and 21 posters on environmental monitoring, disaster
forecasting, ecosystem services, communicating environmental
information, and satellite calibration/validation. Over 110 people
participated in the Symposium, which included 25 NOAA employees who came
to hear the presentations and see the posters. Read more.
NOAA Leading International Effort to Improve Volcanic Ash Cloud Tracking
Volcanic ash clouds are a major aviation hazard that can
significantly damage aircraft and, in the worst case, cause inflight
engine failure. In recognition of the importance of satellites in
mitigating volcanic ash related hazards, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) has created a project to identify best scientific
practices and innovative techniques for transforming raw satellite
measurements into environmental intelligence. During and after a major
volcanic eruption, satellite-based environmental intelligence is
critical for ensuring that air travel is safe and operates as
efficiently as possible. The WMO project is being lead by a
NOAA/NESDIS/STAR scientist and the project goals were advanced at a
meeting in Madison, WI (June 29 - July 2, 2015), which was attended by
over 40 internationally recognized scientists, representing nearly every
continent. The international group attending the meeting identified best
scientific practices and innovations. Many of the best practices and
innovations are already uniquely utilized within the automated
NOAA/NESDIS volcanic ash cloud tracking system developed in preparation
for the next generation of NOAA's operational satellites (GOES-R and
Second SnowPEx Workshop
Attendees of SnowPEx Workshop, Sept. 2015
(click to enlarge)
The 2nd International Satellite Snow Products
Intercomparison Workshop was held in Boulder, Colorado, 14-16 September
2015. The objective of the "SnowPEx" project is the intercomparison and
validation of hemispheric and global satellite snow products for
estimating temporal trends of the seasonal snow cover and assessing
their accuracy. In the 1st International Satellite Snow
Products Intercomparison Workshop, held at NOAA, Maryland, in July 2014,
the community discussed and agreed on methods and protocols for the
intercomparison of products and their validation using reference data
sets from various environments and surface types around the world. Jeff
Key attended the 2nd SnowPEx workshop and spoke on the
importance of intercomparison projects to GCW. More
Space Science and Engineering Center 50th Anniversary
Charles Stearns (left) and Verner Suomi with the Vanguard satellite that carried his early heat balance experiment in 1959. The launch was unsuccessful. Credit: University of Wisconsin Archives
(click to enlarge)
The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison (UW) celebrated its first half-century of research,
discovery, and innovation on September 10, 2015. The UW Board of Regents
officially established SSEC on August 20, 1965 with Verner E. Suomi as
its first director. With the field of satellite meteorology beginning to
emerge, the university's support allowed SSEC to play a significant role
in ushering in a new scientific era. Suomi's contributions would later
earn him the title of "Father of Satellite Meteorology." In the fifty
years since, SSEC scientists, engineers, and leaders have grown an
organization with an international reputation for excellence. The 50th
Anniversary program featured stories and reminiscences of the people,
events, and scientific strides that are central to our past. More
information is available at http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/50th/.
Carr, N., Kirstetter, P. E., Hong, Y., Gourley, J. J., Schwaller, M.,
Petersen, W., Wang, N.-Y., Ferraro, R. R., & Xue, X. (2015). The
Influence of Surface and Precipitation Characteristics on TRMM Microwave
Imager Rainfall Retrieval Uncertainty. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 16(4),
1596-1614. DOI: 10.1175/jhm-d-14-0194.1
Ferraro, R., Beauchamp, J., Cecil, D., & Heymsfield, G. (2015).
A Prototype Hail Detection Algorithm and Hail Climatology Developed with
the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU). Atmospheric Research, 163,
24-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2014.08.010
Foster, M., Ackerman, S. A., Heidinger, A. K., & Maddux, B. C. (2015).
Cloudiness [in "State of the Climate in 2014"]. Bulletin of the American
Meteorological Society, 96(7), ES24-ES26.
Glenn, E., Comarazamy, D., González, J. E., & Smith, T. (2015).
Detection of Recent Regional Sea Surface Temperature Warming in the
Caribbean and Surrounding Region. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(16),
6785-6792. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL065002
Goni, G. J., Knaff, J. A., & Lin, I.-I. (2015). Tropical Cyclone
Heat Potential [in "State of the Climate in 2014"]. Bulletin of the American
Meteorological Society, 96(7), ES121-ES122. DOI: 10.1175/2015BAMSStateoftheClimate.1
Heidinger, A. K., Li, Y., Baum, B. A., Holz, R. E., Platnick, S., &
Yang, P. (2015). Retrieval of Cirrus Cloud Optical Depth under Day and Night
Conditions from MODIS Collection 6 Cloud Property Data. Remote Sensing, 7(6),
7257-7271. DOI: 10.3390/rs70607257
Kalluri, S., Gundy, J., Haman, B., Paullin, A., Van Rompay, P., Vititoe,
D., and Weiner, A. (2015). A High Performance Remote Sensing Product Generation
System Based on a Service Oriented Architecture for the Next Generation of
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. Remote Sensing, 7, 10385-10399.
Karnauskas, K. B., Jenouvrier, S., Brown, C. W., & Murtugudde, R. (2015).
Strong Sea Surface Cooling in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific and Implications for
Galapagos Penguin Conservation. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(15), 6432-6437.
Knaff, J. A., & Sampson, C. R. (2015). After a Decade Are Atlantic Tropical
Cyclone Gale Force Wind Radii Forecasts Now Skillful? Weather and Forecasting, 30(3),
702-709. DOI: 10.1175/waf-d-14-00149.1
Langford, A. O., Pierce, R. B., & Schultz, P. J. (2015). Stratospheric
Intrusions, the Santa Ana Winds, and Wildland Fires in Southern California.
Geophysical Research Letters, 42(14), 6091-6097. DOI: 10.1002/2015gl064964
Longmore, S., Miller, S., Bikos, D., Lindsey, D., Szoke, E., Molenar, D., Hillger,
D., Brummer, R., & Knaff, J. (2015). An Automated Mobile Phone Photo Relay and
Display Concept Applicable to Operational Severe Weather Monitoring. Journal of Atmospheric
and Oceanic Technology, 32(7), 1356-1363. DOI: 10.1175/jtech-d-14-00230.1
Pavolonis, M. J., Sieglaff, J., & Cintineo, J. (2015). Spectrally Enhanced Cloud Objects
(SECO): A Generalized Framework for Automated Detection of Volcanic Ash and Dust Clouds Using
Passive Satellite Measurements: 1. Multispectral Analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres,
120(15), 7813-7841. DOI: 10.1002/2014jd022968
Pavolonis, M. J., Sieglaff, J., & Cintineo, J. (2015). Spectrally Enhanced Cloud Objects:
Generalized Framework for Automated Detection of Volcanic Ash and Dust Clouds Using Passive Satellite
Measurements: 2. Cloud Object Analysis and Global Application. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres,
120(15), 7842-7870.DOI: 10.1002/2014jd022969
Rudlosky, S. D. (2015). Evaluating ENTLN Performance Relative to TRMM/LIS. J. Operational Meteor.,
3(2), 11-20. DOI: 10.15191/nwajom.2015.0302
Sun, B., Free, M., Yoo, H. L., Foster, M. J., Heidinger, A., & Karlsson, K.-G. (2015).
Variability and Trends in U.S. Cloud Cover: ISCCP, PATMOS-X, and Clara-A1 Compared to Homogeneity-Adjusted
Weather Observations. Journal of Climate, 28(11), 4373-4389. DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-14-00805.1
Wang, P., Li, J., Goldberg, M. D., Schmit, T. J., Lim, A. H. N., Li, Z., Han, H., Li, J., &
Ackerman, S. A. (2015). Assimilation of Thermodynamic Information from Advanced Infrared Sounders
under Partially Cloudy Skies for Regional NWP. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120(11),
5469-5484. DOI: 10.1002/2014jd022976
Wang, S., Schmidt, J. A., Baidar, S., Coburn, S., Dix, B., Koenig, T. K., Apel, E., Bowdalo, D.,
Campos, T. L., Eloranta, E., Evans, M. J., DiGangi, J. P., Zondlo, M. A., Gao, R.-S., Haggerty, J. A.,
Hall, S. R., Hornbrook, R. S., Jacob, D., Morley, B., Pierce, B., Reeves, M., Romashkin, P., ter Schure,
A., & Volkamer, R. (2015). Active and Widespread Halogen Chemistry in the Tropical and Subtropical
Free Troposphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(30),
9281-9286. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505142112
Xue, Y., Hu, Z., Kumar, A., Banzon, V., Smith, T. M., & Rayner, N. A. (2015). Sea Surface Temperatures
[in "State of the Climate in 2014"]. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 96(7), ES59-ES64.
You, Y., Wang, N.-Y., & Ferraro, R. (2015). A Prototype Precipitation Retrieval Algorithm over Land
Using Passive Microwave Observations Stratified by Surface Condition and Precipitation Vertical Structure.
Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 120(11), 5295-5315. DOI: 10.1002/2014jd022534