249 Continued Advancements and Upgrades to the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System

Monday, 13 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Molly Smith, U.S. National Ice Center, Suitland, MD; and K. Berberich, W. Clark, D. McCormick, J. E. Upperman, M. Lowe, J. Woods, J. Smith, and S. R. Helfrich

Advancements and Upgrades to the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System

As part of the U.S. National Ice Center’s (USNIC) mission to provide global and tactical scale snow and ice products, the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) produces daily snow and ice coverage products for the entire Northern Hemisphere. The IMS utilizes satellite data from multiple platforms, instrument observations, and automated snow/ice detection algorithms. A certified IMS Analyst interprets these data on a daily basis to demarcate the presence of snow and ice across the Northern Hemisphere. Analyses are produced twice daily to ensure the most up-to-date information is applied. The IMS has been in existence since 1997 and running operationally at the USNIC since 2008. As part of a multi-year upgrade process to the IMS, the USNIC continues to leverage new data sources, including integration of new satellite observations and utilization of cutting edge automated snow/ice detection algorithms.

The USNIC has been able to leverage NOAA’s newest satellites to provide IMS analysts with an improved ability to monitor snow and ice in high definition with improved spatial and temporal resolution. The USNIC has recently added a new band combination utilizing the newest satellite imagery from GOES-16 and GOES-17 to better visualize snow and ice coverage. The GOES three-band imagery consists of twelve visible (Channels 13, 02, 05) images animated over eastern North America, produced twice daily. The imagery is stretched to appear similar to the AWIPS Day Cloud Phase product. AMSR-2 passive microwave data has also been integrated into the IMS. This is a significant improvement over ASCAT, providing higher resolution sea ice data as well as collecting data as larger swaths. NOAA-20 VIIRS snow and ice detection and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) ice algorithms are also a recent addition to the IMS. These algorithms allow the analyst to selectively import automated snow and ice extent as analysts confirm their accuracy rather than relying on manual analysis solely.

The USNIC has also revamped the training of future IMS analysts through the creation of the first IMS simulator, which is a clone of the operational system. Over 96 hours of past winter weather data have been loaded into the simulator, allowing analysts to train on real life weather scenarios in a controlled and non-operational setting. The goal of this tool is to help new analysts more effectively identify and predict extreme changes in snow and ice coverage.

These new tools contribute to a decrease analysis production time, while also providing increased accuracy. The improved product benefits all IMS users, including the numerical weather prediction community.

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