Off Shore Monitoring with the GOES-R Fog and Low Status Prediction Product

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Kelcey Smith, United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) is tasked with monitoring, forecasting, and disseminating marine weather and sea state forecasts for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north of 30 N latitude. The Fog and Low Stratus product (FLS) is a new product that is designed to give a probabilistic prediction of the presence of either fog or low stratus clouds based on instrument flight rules (IFR) standards.

The goal for the project was to determine the effectiveness of the FLS over the OPC's offshore zones and identify discrepancies. This tool, if effective, could serve as a predictor to forecast low visibility conditions in the maritime domain, enhancing safety and productivity. Multiple case studies from each coast were chosen based on the presence of fog and or low stratus or an anomaly. These case studies were analyzed with IFR and LIFR (low instrument flight rules) standards, visible imagery, infrared imagery, and various spectral ranges on the MODIS satellite. The FLS product is currently being beta-tested and the final product will be deployed on the new NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R satellite, scheduled to launch in the fall of 2015. Emphasis has been placed on locating any weaknesses in the product to better train forecasters prior to the product launch. The project is on-going with the Coast Guard Academy and Ocean Prediction Center continuing to work towards enhancing the FLS product.