364 The Utility of NUCAPS Soundings in operational forecasting

Monday, 11 January 2016
Daniel Nietfeld, NOAA/NWS, Valley, NE

The ability to assess the observed vertical profile of temperature and moisture near and upstream of an area of interest is critical to operational forecasting. Traditional profile observations, or atmospheric soundings, have involved various limitations ranging from poor spatial and temporal resolution, to gross errors in representing the thermal state of the vertical profile. The Suomi-NPP (NPP) satellite was launched in late 2011, and carries the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS). Utilizing both of these sounders, the NOAA Unique CrIS/ATMS Processing System (NUCAPS) provides retrievals of temperature and moisture profiles with global coverage. Due to the orbital pattern of NPP satellite, retrievals are available for much of the continental United States (CONUS) around the mid-day time period, which is optimal for assessing atmospheric stability in convective regimes. The approximate spatial resolution ranges from 50 to 140 KM over the CONUS, which is considerably more dense than the spatial resolution of the traditional radiosonde observations.

This presentation will focus on why these retrievals are important to the operational forecast community, and how they can best be utilized in forecast operations. Like other soundings, NUCAPS retrievals have significant limitations. These limitations will be discussed, and methods to account for the limitations will be illustrated.

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