4.2 Next-Generation Satellite Observations of Severe Local Storms: Can We now Detect Storm-Scale Rotation from Space?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 3:15 PM
258B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
D. T. Lindsey, NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, CO

The newest generation of geostationary satellites features an imager capable of convective storm observations never before possible. NOAA launched GOES-16 in 2016, and its Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) has a visible band with 500 m resolution at nadir and has operational scanning frequencies as large as 1 image every 30 seconds over a mesoscale domain. In certain meteorological conditions, vertical wind shear can help advect convective anvil clouds to the northeast so that the view from geostationary satellites over the equator allows a view of the side of towering cumulus and mature cumulonimbus clouds. In the case of supercell storms, the frequent scans combined with the high spatial resolution allows for the detection of storm-scale features never before observable. These include the rise and collapse of individual overshooting plumes, the gravity waves that are produced, and sometimes the detection of rotation on the side of the cloud, much like can be seen via ground-based time lapse photography.

During two days of the checkout phase of GOES-17 in August 2018, the ABI collected images every 6.7 seconds as a test to understand what scanning frequency is necessary to adequately resolve convective scale motions at 500 m horizontal resolution. Both of these days featured rotating storms in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. This presentation will highlight the observations of these storms and share the results of the scanning frequency study. In addition, the question of whether these types of observations may be assimilated into NWP models will be discussed.

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