With a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms across the southeast US on 19 March 2018, 30-sec GOES-16 imagery was made available over the region. SPC High or Moderate risk for severe is the number 1 priority for mesoscale sector requests.
Figure 1: 19 March 2018 GOES-16 30-sec visible imagery over northern Alabama. Full res
A tornado was confirmed with storms a little later in the evening. 30-sec IR imagery captured persistent overshooting tops and rapid anvil expansion with these storms indicating strong updrafts.
Figure 2: 19 March 2018 GOES-16 30-sec IR imagery. Full res
For those working at higher elevation offices, have you ever noticed surface features (e.g. lakes, rivers) in satellite imagery displaced slightly horizontally (lat/lon) from their designation in a placefile (a.k.a. from where they “should” be)? This is, in fact, normal behavior for satellite imagery. In brief, a satellite imager assumes a constant, low elevation across the viewing plane. When viewing the earth at an angle, therefore, higher elevation surfaces (and associated features) will be displaced a distance radially away from the satellite subpoint. The displacement of a given target will be a function of the elevation and distance from the satellite subpoint. The further away from the satellite subpoint and the greater the elevation, the greater the displacement will be. See figure 1 for details. The displacement is rarely more than a few km.
Figure 1: Graphical depiction of elevation displacement for three viewing scenarios. Full res
We analyze an example using GOES-16 visible imagery (Fig 2). A series of lakes across the southeast Colorado plains, elevation around 4,000 ft above sea level, are displaced a couple hundredths of a degree latitude and longitude north and west from the actual lat/lon location. The distance is slightly less than 1 km. From GOES-West (not shown), these features are displaced a similar distance to the north and east. In all examples below, lakes will appear dark gray, and solar farms will appear bright gray to white.
Figure 2: GOES-East visible imagery over southeast Colorado. Lake contours overlaid.
In the San Luis Valley, a high valley in southern Colorado, lakes and a solar array are displaced closer to 2 km from their actual position due to the higher elevation (~7,500 ft) and further distance from satellite subpoint (Fig 3).
Figure 3: GOES-East visible imagery over San Luis Valley, Colorado. Lake and Solar Farm contours overlaid.
Lakes in California, further west from the satellite subpoint but at lower elevation (1,000 ft – 1,500 ft), show very little displacement (Fig 4).
Figure 4: GOES-East visible imagery over southern California. Lake contours overlaid.
Lakes in Florida, closer to the satellite subpoint and at around sea level, have no apparent displacement from their actual location (Fig 5).
Figure 5: GOES-East visible imagery over Florida. Lake contours overlaid.
Comparing GOES-East and GOES-West using Bear Lake, ID/UT at around 6,000 ft as a high elevation landmark, the horizontal shift is quite obvious (Fig 6). From GOES-East, the lake (and surrounding terrain features), are shifted considerably to the north and west of the actual lake location. From GOES-West, the lake (and surrounding terrain features), are shifted similarly to the north and east of the actual lake location. Disclaimer: navigation issues with GOES-15 (current GOES-West) causes the image to bounce around. A time was chosen when the ocean coastlines appeared closest to accurate.
Figure 6: 10 March 2018 GOES-16 (East) and GOES-15 (West) visible satellite imagery at 1617 UTC and 1615 UTC, respectively. Full res
The displacement may be relatively small, but is an important consideration for high elevation offices when completing tasks that identify the precise lat/lon of a surface feature. One example of such a task is the identification of a wildfire hot spot, and subsequent notification (with lat/lon of hot spot) to partners. High elevation Rocky Mountain offices completing such a task should consider placing their hot spot “point” identifier on the southeast part, or just to the southeast, of the hottest pixels in the hot spot when using GOES-East imagery for detection.
The third nor’easter in less than two weeks was poised to have significant impacts from the Ohio River Valley up through the northeast US March 12-14.
GOES-16 1-min imagery captured the evolution of the system in detail, starting with it’s strengthening across the Ohio River Valley on March 12. 500 m, 1-min visible imagery at sunrise revealed fresh snow cover from southern Illinois through southern Indiana and into much of Kentucky (Figure 1).
Figure 1: 12 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min visible imagery. Full res
Morning convection over Louisiana produced heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts across the state. Given the flood threat, WPC had requested a 1-min sector over the region. GOES-16 1-min VIS/IR sandwich image combo at sunrise showed persistent bubbling, and cold, storm tops (Fig 1).
Figure 1: 11 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min VIS/IR sandwich image combo. Full res
GOES-16 (instantaneous) rainfall rate derived product captured the heaviest rain producing storms as they advanced east across the state (Fig 2).
Figure 2: 11 March 2018 GOES-16 rainfall rate. Full res
With a vigorous upper-level system moving east through the Rocky Mountain region during the day Sunday, strong winds mixing down to the surface kicked up dust across a very dry southern Colorado. This dust was captured in GOES-16 visible imagery (Fig 1), and confirmed in split window difference (SWD) imagery (Fig 2). Negative values of SWD (very dark gray to black in this color table), indicate lofted dust. Overlaid on the SWD imagery is 10.35 um IR imagery (non gray colors) for cold temperatures (clouds).
Figure 1: 4 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min visible satellite imagery. Full res
Figure 2: 4 March 2018 GOES-16 5-min split window difference imagery with 10.35 um IR imagery overlaid for cold temperatures (clouds). Full res
Water vapor imagery showed the system as it advanced east through the afternoon and early evening, including the acceleration of a cold front down the eastern Colorado plains (Fig 3).
Figure 3: 4 March 2018 15-min GOES-16 6.19 um water vapor imagery. Full res
Critical fire weather conditions aided the ignition and spread of several wildfires across the southern high plains on 3 March 2018. One such wildfire developed and spread quickly in Washington County of northeast Colorado, between Limon and Fort Morgan. GOES-16 and radar imagery captured the wildfire evolution.
The 2 km 3.9 um GOES-16 ABI channel provides the most reliable/quickest means of detecting a newly developed wildfire hot spot. The color-table in the animation below highlights hot spots as dark grays to black to yellow for the hottest temperatures (Fig 1). The hot spot associated with the Washington County wildfire is first detectable in 3.9 um channel imagery at 1832 UTC, and heats up and spreads quickly to the north over the next several hours. After 2100 UTC, the hot spot begins to cool.
Figure 1: 3 March 2018 GOES-16 3.9 um shortwave IR imagery over northeast Colorado. Full res
Within a half hour of the hot spot detection, smoke from the wildfire can be diagnosed in 0.5 km 0.64 um visible channel from GOES-16 (Fig 2). Further, the scorched earth left behind by the wildfire is also obvious in the visible channel.
Figure 2: 3 March 2018 GOES-16 0.64 um visible imagery. Full res
Smoke from the wildfire can also be detected in KFTG radar imagery starting at 1929 UTC (Fig 3). Very low values of correlation coefficient help confirm smoke (Fig 4).
Figure 3: 3 March 2018 KFTG radar reflectivity. Full res
Figure 4: 3 March 2018 KFTG correlation coefficient. Full res
Smoke from the wildfire was captured in the Last Chance, CO Viaero camera (Fig 5).
Figure 5: 3 March 2018 Last Chance, CO Viaero camera view of wildfire. Full res
GOES-S represents the second of four next-generation GOES-R series of satellites. The GOES-S satellite has the same instruments as GOES-R, including the Advanced Baseline Imager, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, and solar and space monitoring instruments. GOES-S launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41 on March 1, 2018 at 5:02 PM EST. Once in orbit, GOES-S will become GOES-17. Like GOES-16, GOES-17 will undergo post-launch testing at 89.5W, and is expected to begin drifting to the GOES-West position (137W) 205 days after launch. While GOES-16 (as GOES-East at 75.2W) covers the eastern half of the US and much of the Atlantic, GOES-17 (as GOES-West) provides the best coverage for the western US and eastern Pacific.
Figure 1: 1 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min VIS. Full res:
Figure 2: 1 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min 3.9 um SWIR imagery. Full res:
Figure 3: 1 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min SWIR. Full res
Figure 4: 1 March 2018 GOES-16 1-min 7.34 um low lever water vapor imagery “rocking”. Full res