A Nowcasting Approach for Low-Earth-Orbiting Hyperspectral Infrared Soundings within the Convective Environment
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A Nowcasting Approach for Low-Earth-Orbiting Hyperspectral Infrared Soundings within the Convective Environment

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  • Journal Title:
    Weather and Forecasting
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    Low-Earth-orbiting (LEO) hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounders have significant yet untapped potential for characterizing thermodynamic environments of convective initiation and ongoing convection. While LEO soundings are of value to weather forecasters, the temporal resolution needed to resolve the rapidly evolving thermodynamics of the convective environment is limited. We have developed a novel nowcasting methodology to extend snapshots of LEO soundings forward in time up to 6 h to create a product available within National Weather Service systems for user assessment. Our methodology is based on parcel forward-trajectory calculations from the satellite-observing time to generate future soundings of temperature (T) and specific humidity (q) at regularly gridded intervals in space and time. The soundings are based on NOAA-Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS) retrievals from the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) and NOAA-20 satellite platforms. The tendencies of derived convective available potential energy (CAPE) and convective inhibition (CIN) are evaluated against gridded, hourly accumulated rainfall obtained from the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) observations for 24 hand-selected cases over the contiguous United States. Areas with forecast increases in CAPE (reduced CIN) are shown to be associated with areas of precipitation. The increases in CAPE and decreases in CIN are largest for areas that have the heaviest precipitation and are statistically significant compared to areas without precipitation. These results imply that adiabatic parcel advection of LEO satellite sounding snapshots forward in time are capable of identifying convective initiation over an expanded temporal scale compared to soundings used only during the LEO satellite overpass time. Significance Statement Advection of low-Earth-orbiting (LEO) satellite observations of temperature and specific humidity forward in time exhibits skill in determining where and when convection eventually initiates. This approach provides a foundation for a new nowcasting methodology leveraging thermodynamic soundings derived from hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounders on LEO satellite platforms. This method may be useful for creating time-resolved soundings with the constellation of LEO satellites until hyperspectral infrared soundings are widely available from geostationary platforms.
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    Weather and Forecasting, 38(8), 1295-1312
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