Although VIIRS high-resolution visible and infrared capabilities are unmatched, user validation is also tied to the unique features of VIIRS, including the Day/Night Band (DNB) that is not available from any current or near-future geostationary platform. The DNB, and the NCC derived from it, have found widespread use across NOAA and the NWS. NCC is capable of providing visual images at night, even under no moon conditions. While the quality varies with the amount of available moonlight, day-night images have proven useful in locating clouds, ice edges, snow cover, tropical cyclone centers (eyes), fires and gas flares, lightning, dust storms, and volcanic eruptions. All of this is done, however, in spite of the challenges of stray light interference that is expected to be a continuing issue with JPSS-1.
Now that VIIRS on S-NPP has been long validated, the same checkout procedures will be applied to JPSS-1, to be launched in early 2017. The validation timeframe has been shortened for JPSS-1, so that imagery products are declared operational and made available more quickly to the NWS, and in particular Alaska users. VIIRS Imagery is being incorporated into operational analysis and forecasting via distribution through the AWIPS to NWS users. VIIRS Imagery of significant weather and weather-related features is also made available on numerous blog and social media venues, where most of its non-meteorological users reside. For either type of user the best image quality is important, since users are a vital component to the validation of VIIRS Imagery.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and findings contained in this article are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or U.S. Government position, policy, or decision.