Given an SPC Enhanced Risk for Severe Thunderstorms across the Tennessee Valley and S Appalachians on March 21, 2017, SPC requested GOES-East Rapid Scan Mode. Additionally, both GOES-16 Mesoscale Domain Sectors were positioned on top of each other over the risk area. Since the two sectors of 1-min imagery are offset by 30-sec, when overlaid we get 30-sec imagery! 30-sec imagery provides us with great detail into developing and mature thunderstorms. All examples in this post are 30-sec, 0.5 km, 0.64 um visible imagery from GOES-16 in Tennessee on March 21, 2017.
The first figure below shows convection developing at 30-sec temporal resolution within a 35 minute period. The user is able to observe areas of the cu field that are appearing more and more likely to initiate with time based on cumulus cloud character and trends. Convective initiation is apparent at the time and location of occurrence. It is obvious that, in situations of explosive convective development, a lot can happen in a short period of time. In this case, only 3 images of routine (15-min) GOES data would be available compared to the 70 images of GOES-16 data.
As convection matures, features such as overshooting tops and processes like rate of anvil expansion are easily and precisely diagnosed. Regions of new vigorous updraft growth from beneath the anvil are also observed promptly. The animation below is from a period of 15 minutes, or 30 images.
As the anvil continues to grow and overshooting tops continue to bubble, an abundance of wave patterns are apparent at the anvil top. These features are indicative of turbulence, a hazard to aircraft pilots. At such high temporal resolution, the health of individual storm updrafts can be tracked through space and time. The animation below is from a period of 15 minutes, or 30 images.
An article documenting the use of very high temporal resolution satellite imagery for convective monitoring at the Storm Prediction Center is available here: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WAF-D-15-0135.1?journalCode=wefo
Bill Line, NWS
“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.”