Category Archives: Fog detection

Supermoon VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery

Composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band swaths [click to enlarge]

Composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band swaths [click to enlarge]

The only Supermoon of 2017 occurred on 03 December — and a composite of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) swaths viewed using RealEarth (above) demonstrated the “visible image at night” capability of that spectral band. A VIIRS instrument is also part of the payload on recently-launched JPSS-1/NOAA-20.

A few examples providing closer looks using VIIRS Day/Night Band (DNB) imagery are shown below, beginning with the western portion of an Atlantic storm that had been producing Gale Force winds during the previous 6-12 hours.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image centered over the western Atlantic [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image centered over the western Atlantic [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US (below) showed widespread areas of fog and/or stratus The brighter fog/stratus features were generally brighter on the DNB image..

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over the Southeast US [click to enlarge]

Another toggle between DNB and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference images, this time centered over Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan (below) revealed snow cover that was much below average for the date — especially across the UP of Michigan.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images, centered over Minnesota and the UP of Michigan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Fog/stratus Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images, centered over Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan [click to enlarge]

Finally, a toggle between DNB images from consecutive overpass times (0935 and 1116 UTC), showing small clusters of rain showers moving inland along the coast of Oregon and far northern California (below). Because of the wide scan swath of the VIIRS instrument (2330 km), there are times when the same area will be imaged during 2 consecutive overpasses.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band images, centered off the coast of Oregon [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band images, centered off the coast of Oregon [click to enlarge]

Dissipation of nocturnal valley fog across New England

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface reports of fog plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface reports of fog plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

With high pressure dominating across the region during the pre-dawn nighttime hours (surface analyses), strong radiational cooling (minimum temperatures) aided in the formation of widespread valley fog across New England on 28 October 2017.  Post-sunrise GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images revealed the areal extent of the valley fog; however, fog dissipation was fairly rapid during the morning hours as surface heating from abundant sunlight promoted sufficient boundary layer mixing.

During the preceding nighttime hours, development of widespread valley fog could be seen on Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images (below) — although surface fog features were obscured at times by patchy cirrus clouds aloft (black enhancement). This example demonstrates that because of the wide (3000 km) scan swath of the VIIRS instrument, in many cases the same region might be sampled by 2 consecutive overpasses. VIIRS will also be part of the instrument payload on the upcoming JPSS series of polar-orbiting satellites.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm - 3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 µm – 3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 and Fog Detection

GOES-16 Brightness Temperature Difference (10.3 µm – 3.9 µm) “Fog Product” from 0202 – 0357 UTC on 18 October 2017 (Click to animate)

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing.

Stratus and Fog formed over the valleys of Kentucky (and in surrounding states) early on 18 October 2017 (It was there on 17 October as well). When was the fog first obvious from Satellite imagery? It very much depends on the spatial resolution of the Satellite viewing the scene. The Brightness Temperature Difference field (10.3 µm – 3.9 µm) from GOES-16, shown above, can be used to identify regions of stratus clouds that are made up of water droplets. Carefully examine the animation; the time when fog is definitively present over valleys of eastern Kentucky (around 84º W Longitude) is around 0327 UTC.

GOES-16 has 2-km resolution (at the sub-satellite point — 89.5º W Longitude during GOES-16 Check-out); this is superior to GOES-13’s nominal 4-km resolution at the subpoint (75º West Longitude). The GOES-13 Brightness Temperature Difference Field (10.7 µm – 3.9 µm) at 0330 UTC shows no distinct indication of Fog/Stratus over eastern Kentucky. A series of animations of the GOES-13 Brightness Temperature Difference field, from 0215-0345 UTC, from 0415-0500, from 0545-0700 and from 0700-0815 suggest GOES-13 identified the region of fog about 4 hours after GOES-16, at 0730 UTC.

The GOES-13 vs. GOES-16 toggle below, from 0700 UTC on 18 October 2017, shows how the resolution improvement with GOES-16 facilitates earlier detection of fog and stratus as it develops overnight.

Toggle between 0700 UTC 18 October 2017 Brightness Temperature Differences from GOES-13 (10.7 µm – 3.9 µm) and GOES-16 (10.3 µm – 3.9 µm) (Click to enlarge)

Fog/stratus in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

** The GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing. **

As seen in a Tweet from NWS Seattle/Tacoma (above), a plume of fog/stratus moved rapidly eastward through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on 20 May 2017. A closer view of GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images (below; also available as an MP4 animation) shows the formation of “bow shock waves” as the leading edge of the low-level fog/stratus plume encountered the sharply-angled land surface of Whidbey Island at the far eastern end of the Strait near sunset — surface observations indicated that the visibility at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was reduced to 0.5 mile just after the time of the final 0327 UTC image in the animation.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation]

A Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image with RTMA surface winds (below) indicated that westerly/northwesterly wind speeds were generally around 15 knots at 21 UTC (just after the primary fog/stratus plume began to move into the western end of the Strait). Four hours later, there was a northwesterly wind gust of 27 knots at Sheringham, British Columbia (CWSP).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) images, with RTMA surface winds plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) images, with RTMA surface winds plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

During the following nighttime hours, a Suomi NPP VIIRS infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 – 3.74 µm) “Fog/Stratus Product” image at 0910 UTC (below) revealed that the fog/stratus plume covered much of the Strait (especially along the Washington coast), and that the leading edge had begun to spread both northward and southward from Whidbey Island. In addition, note the presence of a linear ship track (darker red enhancement) extending southwestward from Cape Flattery.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared brightness temperature difference (11.45 - 3.74 µm)

Suomi NPP VIIRS infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (11.45 – 3.74 µm) “Fog/Stratus Product” image, with RTMA surface winds plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

Bill Line (NWS Pueblo) showed the nighttime fog/stratus monitoring capability of a GOES-16 infrared Brightness Temperature Difference product:


On a side note, in the upper right portion of the GOES-16 (as well as the VIIRS) visible images one can also see the hazy signature of glacial sediment  flowing from the Fraser River westward into the Strait of Georgia. Longer-term changes in the pattern of this glacial sediment are also apparent in a comparison of Terra MODIS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images (source) from 20 April, 07 May and 20 May 2017 (below).

 

Terra MODIS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Fog/stratus dissipation: 1-minute GOES-16 vs 15-30 minute GOES-13

GOES-16 0.64 µm Visible (left) and GOES-13 0.63 µm Visible (right) images, with surface reports of fog plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64µm, left) and GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, right) images, with surface reports of fog plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

** The GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing. **

Widespread fog and stratus had developed across southern Alabama and western Georgia during the pre-dawn hours on 04 April 2017. After sunrise, a comparison of 1-minute interval GOES-16 and 15-30 minute interval GOES-13 visible imagery (above) demonstrated the advantage of more frequent scans to monitor the dissipation of fog and stratus. The improved spatial resolution of the GOES-16 0.64 µm “Red visible” band — 0.5 km at satellite sub-point, vs 1 km for GOES-13 — also aided in the detection of smaller-scale river valley fog features.

Fog Detection using GOES-16 Channel Differences

GOES-R IFR Probability Fields at 1230 UTC on 6 March 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Note: GOES-16 data shown on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing on-orbit testing.

Here is what this blog post will show: It is vital to tweak the supplied default AWIPS Enhancements so that important atmospheric information is better highlighted.

GOES-R IFR Probability fields (Click here for a website that shows many examples), shown above, use present GOES Data and Rapid Refresh Data to forecast the probability that IFR conditions exist. (There are also Low IFR Probability fields and Marginal VFR Probability fields as well, data from this site). The inclusion of surface information via the Rapid Refresh Model output (that details low-level saturation) is vital to screen out false fog detection (regions where mid-level stratus does not extend to the surface) and to highlight IFR conditions that exist under cirrus that block the satellite detection of low clouds.

GOES-16 data in AWIPS includes pre-defined channel differences judged to have utility in Decision Support Services. One of these is Fog detection (the infrared Brightness Temperature Difference between 3.9 µm and 11.2 µm) that extracts information at night based on emissivity differences from water-based clouds at those two wavelengths. This is a product that can detect stratus clouds at night, if cirrus clouds do not block the satellite’s view. If those stratus clouds extend to the surface, then fog is a result. A GOES-16 Channel Difference field, shown below with the default AWIPS enhancement, contains information about the fog/low clouds that are present over North Dakota, and over Texas (click here for a graphic from the Aviation Weather Center that highlights regions of IFR conditions — Dense Fog Advisories were issued on 6 March over North Dakota).

The Fog signal in the Brightness Temperature Difference field at night occurs when the value is negative; the default color enhancement, below, contains a lot of color gradations that grab the eye in regions where the Brightness Temperature Difference is positive; for Fog Detection, those extra colors in regions of positive difference are needless visual clutter.

Brightness Temperature Difference fields (3.9 µm – 11.2 µm) over the United States, 1227 UTC on 6 March 2017 (Click to enlarge)

To get useful information from this field, alter the Brightness Temperature Difference enhancement to highlight negative values. That has been done in the toggle below with the IFR Probability field. Fog regions over North Dakota and Texas are apparent.  (Note that the scale for the Brightness Temperature Difference field here has also been flipped — click here to toggle between the two Brightness Temperature Difference field enhancements).

GOES-R IFR Probability fields and GOES-16 Brightness Temperature Difference fields, ~1230 UTC on 6 March 2017 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-R IFR Probability fields and GOES-16 Brightness Temperature Difference fields, ~1230 UTC on 6 March 2017 (Click to enlarge)

It is vital to tweak the supplied default AWIPS Enhancements so that important atmospheric information is better highlighted.

Tule fog in California


The tweet shown above was issued by the NWS forecast office in Hanford, California — using an image of the GOES-15 Low Instrument Flight Rules (LIFR) Probability, a component of the GOES-R Fog/low stratus suite of products — to illustrate where areas of dense Tule fog persisted into the morning hours on 31 January 2017.

AWIPS II images of the GOES-15 Marginal Visual Flight Rules (MVFR) product (below) showed the increase in areal coverage of Tule fog beginning at 0600 UTC (10 pm local time on 30 January); the fog eventually dissipated by 2030 UTC (12:30 pm local time) on 31 January. Note that Lemoore Naval Air Station (identifier KNLC) reported freezing fog at 14 UTC (their surface air temperature had dropped to 31º F that hour). In addition, some of the higher MVFR Probability values were seen farther to the north, along the Interstate 5 corridor between Stockton (KSCK) and Sacramento (KSAC) — numerous traffic accidents and school delays were attributed to the Tule fog on this day.

GOES-15 MVFR Probability product [click to play animation]

GOES-15 MVFR Probability product [click to play animation]

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GOES-15 MVFR Probability and Aqua MODIS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) products [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 MVFR Probability and Aqua MODIS Infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) products [click to enlarge]

Legacy infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) products are limited in their ability to accurately detect fog/low stratus features if high-level cirrus clouds are present overhead. This is demonstrated in comparisons of GOES-15 MVFR Probability and BTD products from Aqua MODIS (above) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (below). Again, note the Interstate-5 corridor between Stockton and Sacramento, where the extent of the fog was not well-depicted on the BTD images (even using high spatial resolution polar-orbiter MODIS and VIIRS data).

GOES-15 MVFR Probability and Suomi NPP VIIRS infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) products [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 MVFR Probability and Suomi NPP VIIRS infrared Brightness Temperature Difference (BTD) products [click to enlarge]

Daylight images of GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) data (below) showed the dissipation of the Tule fog during the 1600-2200 UTC (8 am – 2 pm local time) period. The brighter white snow pack in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada was also very evident in the upper right portion of the satellite scene.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

One ingredient contributing to this Tule fog event was moist soil, from precipitation (as much as 150-200% of normal at some locations in the Central Valley) that had been received during the previous 14-day period (below).

Total liquid precipitation and Percent of normal precipitation for the 14-day period ending on 31 January 2017 [click to enlarge]

Total liquid precipitation and Percent of normal precipitation for the 14-day period ending on 31 January 2017 [click to enlarge]

River valley fog in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm - 3.74 µm Infrared brightness temperature difference ("fog product") at 0735 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm – 3.74 µm Infrared brightness temperature difference (“fog product”) at 0735 UTC [click to enlarge]

A nighttime image (above) of the Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm – 3.74 µm Infrared brightness temperature difference (often referred to as the “fog/stratus product”) showed the development of narrow fingers of river valley fog in parts of southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa at 0735 UTC or 2:35 am local time on 26 July 2016. At that time the surface visibility was reduced to 1/4 mile at Boscobel, Wisconsin (station identifier KOVS).

During the subsequent daylight hours, GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below) revealed the extent of the valley fog which had formed (the yellow symbols denote stations reporting fog). However, this fog quickly dissipated quickly with strong heating from the July sun.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

This region frequently experiences such episodes of river valley fog, but they are most common during the Autumn months as nights grow longer and nighttime temperatures get colder. In this late July event, the primary ingredient favoring fog formation was high soil moisture due to recent heavy rainfall (below), much of which occurred on 24 July.

7-day precipitation, departure from normal, and percent of normal {click to enlarge]

7-day precipitation, departure from normal, and percent of normal {click to enlarge]

 

GOES-14 SRSO-R: Return flow of Gulf of Mexico moisture in eastern Texas; blowing dust and a wildfire in western Texas

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface observations [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface observations [click to play MP4 animation]

Day 1 of the 01-25 February 2016 test period of GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSO-R) revealed some interesting features across the state of Texas. During the morning hours, the northward “return flow” of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico could be seen in the form of widespread fog and low stratus across the eastern part of the state on 1-minute interval GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images (above; also available as a large 83 Mbyte animated GIF). Surface reports showed that dew point temperatures were as high as the 60s F along and just inland of the coast. GOES-13 derived products such as the MVFR Probability, LIFR Probability, and Low Cloud Thickness (FLS product training) showed the northward motion of the fog and low stratus during the preceding overnight hours.

During the afternoon hours, GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below; also available as a large 91 Mbyte animated GIF) revealed the hazy signature of areas of blowing dust across southwest Texas, both ahead of and also in the wake of a cold frontal passage (surface analyses). Much of the blowing dust ahead of the cold front originated from dry lake beds in northern Mexico, which was then transported northeastward across Texas by strong southwesterly winds (an enhanced visible MP4 animation which shows the blowing dust better is available here). Blowing dust along and behind the cold front restricted the surface visibility to 1.0 miles at Big Spring (KBPG) and 2.5 miles at Midland (KMAF). Also note that early in the animation — beginning at 1800 UTC — there were small convective bands moving northeastward over the El Paso area, which produced light to moderate accumulating snow that reduced surface visibility to 1.0 miles at El Paso and Biggs Army Air Field (KBIF), and 2.0 miles at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (MMCS).

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below; also available as a large 52 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the “hot spot” signature (darker black to red pixels) associated with a large grass fire which developed in the Big Bend National Park area, beginning around 2300 UTC. The hot spot was seen to diminish not long after the arrival of cooler air (lighter shades of gray) behind the cold front. Surface air temperatures were quite warm in Texas ahead of the cold front, with daytime highs of 91º F at Del Rio (KDRT)  and 95º F — the highest temperature recorded for the day in the lower 48 states — farther to the southeast at Cotulla.

GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (below; also available as a large 57 Mbyte animated GIF) showed a broad ascending belt of moisture curving cyclonically over central and eastern Colorado, where moderate snow and significant accumulations were occurring at a number of locations.

GOES-14 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with surface weather symbols [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with surface weather symbols [click to play MP4 animation]

A blog post discussing this ascending belt of moisture in more detail can be found here; a YouTube animation of GOES-14 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images is available here.

===== 02 February Update =====

GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

During the subsequent overnight  hours, an undular bore developed along and just ahead of the advancing cold front, as seen in GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below; also available as a large 107 Mbyte animated GIF). A detailed view of the undular bore was also captured at 0859 UTC (3:59 AM local time) on Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Advection of fog/stratus across western Lake Superior

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) image, Metop ASCAT and RTMA surface winds, METAR surface reports, and surface frontal analysis [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) image, Metop ASCAT and RTMA surface winds, METAR surface reports, and surface frontal analysis [click to enlarge]

A GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) image (above) showed a bank of fog and low stratus (FLS) covering much of the western portion of Lake Superior at 1600 UTC on 03 November 2015. Overlays of Metop ASCAT and Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA) surface winds showed the long fetch of northeasterly winds that were moving this FLS feature toward the southwest; this southwestward (and eventual inland) advection could be followed on GOES-13 Visible images (below).

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images with METAR surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images with METAR surface reports [click to play animation]

A more detailed view of the FLS deck was provided by a 375-meter resolution Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image at 1848 UTC, with overlays of METAR surface reports, RTMA surface winds, and surface frontal analysis (below).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image with METAR surface reports, RTMA surface winds, and surface frontal analysis [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) image with METAR surface reports, RTMA surface winds, and surface frontal analysis [click to enlarge]

The GOES-R Low Cloud Thickness product shown below (derived using GOES-13 data) indicated that the maximum depth of the FLS feature was around 2200 feet (yellow color enhancement).

GOES-13 Low Cloud Thickness product [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Low Cloud Thickness product [click to enlarge]