2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002: 1:29 PM
AWIPS for Satellite-Derived Hydrometeorological Applications
Roderick A. Scofield, NOAA/NESDIS, Camp Springs, MD; and R. J. Kuligowski, S. Qiu, and C. Davenport
This paper discusses the status and future outlook of satellite - derived products for hydrometeorological applications with an emphasis on heavy precipitation watches and warnings. Data from geostationary (GOES=Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) and polar orbiters (microwave data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I), NOAA/Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)) are among the primary sources of information for the diagnosis and prediction of flash floods. GOES has the unique ability to observe the atmosphere and its cloud cover from the global scale down to the storm scale, frequently and at high resolution. Microwave radiances are available on only an intermittent basis, but are strongly related to cloud and atmospheric properties. This places the geostationary satellite and polar microwave derived products at the very heart of weather analysis and forecasting. Thus this suite of satellite products is ideally suited for diagnosing the concatenation of meteorological scales and processes from the global scale to the synoptic scale to the mesoscale and finally to the storm scale. Many heavy precipitation and flash flood events are produced from such an interaction between the various meteorological scales. On the global to synoptic scale, GOES derived products such as winds, precipitable water (PW), relative humidity, and stability indices are available to assess the precipitation efficiency of the environment; microwave - derived PW is one of the most accurate and reliable sources of moisture information over the oceans. Synoptic to mesoscale products include the 6.7 mm water vapor imagery and the above mentioned GOES - and microwave - based ones for detecting lifting mechanisms and local area trends in moisture, stability, and boundaries that will initiate, focus, maintain, or dissipate flash flood producing storms. On the storm scale, satellite algorithms for estimating precipitation are ready for implementation; satellite - based conceptual models for determining storm propagation and soil wetness are being developed. The future is extremely exciting. The biggest challenges are how to best integrate the various GOES and polar microwave data sets with each other. More accurate and robust algorithms will become operational in the near future as these integrated satellite data sets are combined with other ancillary data platforms.

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