Evaluating the Usefulness and Usability of Different GOES-R Scanning Strategies at the Operations Proving Ground

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 4:15 PM
230 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Chad M. Gravelle, NWS Operations Proving Ground/CIMSS, Kansas City, MO; and K. J. Runk

The Operations Proving Ground (OPG) in Kansas City, MO has been developed as a National Weather Service (NWS) Weather-Ready Nation Services Roadmap initiative to validate the final step in the research-to-operations process. New tools, techniques, and capabilities that have shown operational usefulness in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Testbeds and Proving Grounds are evaluated in the OPG by NWS forecasters in realistic, yet controlled, assessment experiments. Not only are forecasters asked to assess these capabilities with respect to meteorological significance, but also how situational awareness, risk communication, and workflow are affected. Therefore, in order to achieve endorsement for field implementation, a proposed capability must demonstrate unique value to the forecast process while having minimal adverse impact on human factors.

As the launch date for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R Series approaches, one of two operational scanning strategies for the new satellite, either continuous full disk mode or flex mode, will need to be chosen for routine operations. In continuous full disk mode, a full disk image would be received every 5 minutes. By comparison, in flex mode, images of the full disk, Contiguous United States, and mesoscale domains (i.e., two at 1000x1000 km) would be received every 15, 5, and 1 minute, respectively. However, it is difficult to determine which scanning strategy is most efficient and useful for NWS forecasters. Proponents of the flex mode state the 1-min imagery allows users to visualize phenomena as they are happening, but there are concerns that forecasters will have difficulty assimilating imagery on this time scale. Using 1-min imagery while GOES-14 was in an experimental rapid-scan mode during May and August of 2014, an evaluation of the different GOES-R scanning strategies can take place at the OPG. For example, to evaluate the potential impacts of 1-min imagery on forecaster warning decision making, a controlled experiment will take place where one set of participating forecasters will receive 1-min imagery while another group is provided 5-min imagery. During the scenario, their decision-making processes, workflow, and workload can be observed and the products they issue archived. Other potential scenarios to assess the impact of 1-min imagery could include monitoring the evolution and dissipation of fog and low stratus, fire detection support, and interactions between smoke and clouds. This presentation will discuss the two GOES-R operational scanning strategies and describe how the OPG can facilitate and manage this proposed evaluation to provide guidance to NWS management on the usefulness and usability of the GOES-R flex mode scanning strategy.