9.3 Evaluation of RGB Composite Imagery for the GOES-R Era by National Weather Service Forecasters with Color Vision Deficiency

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 3:15 PM
Salon H (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Katie Crandall Vigil, CIMMS, Norman, OK; and M. Foster, C. M. Gravelle, K. J. Runk, and D. W. Snyder

In November of 2016, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) was launched into orbit. GOES-R is the first satellite with the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). This imager provides three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and five times the temporal resolution compared to the previous GOES imager (Schmit et al. 2005). With the different channels on the ABI, Red-Green-Blue (RGB) composite imagery has been developed to help meteorologists identify different atmospheric phenomena. The RGB imagery aids with atmospheric phenomena identification because specific colors relate to specific atmospheric features. However, it has been theorized that National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters with color vision deficiency (CVD) may have problems interpreting some of the RGB composite imagery.

In April of 2017, three NWS forecasters with red-green CVD were brought to the NWS Operations Proving Ground (OPG) to document particular challenges that forecasters with CVD have in properly interpreting RGBs, to identify which RGB composites posed the biggest problems, and to determine whether there are technological or procedural aids that might help to mitigate their difficulty in using these data.

During the three day evaluation, forecasters participated in both archived and live-data exercises where they analyzed RGB composite satellite imagery for various atmospheric phenomena, including convection, wildfire smoke, and fog/low stratus. They were also introduced to the mobile application Color Blind Pal and specialty eye glasses called Enchroma Glasses that were designed to improve color vision for individuals with CVD.

This Presentation will include an overview of the evaluation and discuss forecaster’s feedback as well as recommendations for NWS management on ways to help other NWS forecasters with CVD interpret GOES-R RGB composite imagery.


Schmit, T. J., M. M. Gunshor, W. P. Menzel, J. J. Gurka, J. Li, and A. S. Bachmeier, 2005: Introducing the next-generation Advanced Baseline Imager on GOES-R. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 86, 1079–1096, doi:10.1175/BAMS-86-8-1079.

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