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RAMMB-CIRA Administrative Quarterly Report

4th Quarter FY15

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Publications, Presentations, and Awards

To Accepted and Submitted Publications  To Presentations and Posters


  • Refereed

Bikos, D.E., J. Finch, J.L. Case, 2015: The environment associated with significant tornadoes in Bangladesh. Atmos. Res.167, 183-195. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2015.08.002.

Forsythe, J.M. and J.M. Haynes, 2015: CloudSat Observes a Labrador Sea Polar Low. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.96(8), 1229–1231. doi.10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00058.1

Goni, G.J, J.A. Knaff, I-I. Lin, 2015: [The Tropics] Tropical Cyclone Heat Content [in “State of the Climate in 2014”]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.96(7), S121-S122.

Kliewer, A.J., S.J. Fletcher, A.S. Jones and J.M. Forsythe, 2015:  Identifying Non-Normal and Lognormal Characteristics of Temperature, Mixing Ratio, Surface Pressure, and Wind for Data Assimilation Systems. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics Discussion, 2, 1363-1405, 2015,,

Longmore, S., S. D. Miller, D. E. Bikos, D. T. Lindsey, E. J. Szoke, D. A. Molenar, D. W. Hillger, R. L. Brummer, J. A. Knaff, 2015: An Automated Mobile Phone Photo Relay and Display Concept Applicable to Operational Severe Weather Monitoring. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology32(7), 1356-1363. doi:

Manion, A., C. Evans, T.L. Olander, C.S. Velden, and L.D.Grasso, 2015: An evaluation of advanced Dvorak technique-derived tropical cyclone intensity estimates during extratropical transition using synthetic satellite imagery. Wea. Forecasting30(4), 984-1009.

Seaman, C.J. and S.D. Miller, 2015: A dynamic scaling algorithm for the optimized digital display of VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery. Int. J. Rem. Sens., 36(7), 1839-1854, doi: 10.1080/01431161.2015.1029100.

  • Nonrefereed

See Presentations and Posters.


  • Refereed 

Grasso, L.D., D.T. Lindsey, K.-S. Lim, A. Clark, D.E. Bikos, 2015: Evaluation of and Suggested Improvements to the WSM6 Microphysics in WRF-ARW Using Synthetic and Observed GOES-13 Imagery. Monthly Weather Review.

Kaplan, J., C. M. Rozoff, M. DeMaria, C.R. Sampson, J.P. Kossin, C.S. Velden, J.J. Cione, J.P. Dunion, J.A. Knaff, J. A. Zhang, J.F. Dostalek, J.D. Hawkins, T.F. Lee, and J.E. Solbrig, 2015: Evaluating environmental impacts on tropical cyclone rapid intensification predictability utilizing statistical models. Wea. Forecasting.

Kliewer, A.J., S.J. Fletcher, A.S. Jones and J.M. Forsythe, 2015:  Comparison of Gaussian, logarithmic transform and mixed Gaussian-lognormal distribution-based 1DVAR microwave temperature-water vapor mixing ratio retrievals.  Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, doi:10.1002/qj.2651.

Knaff, J.A., S.P. Longmore, R.T. DeMaria, D.A. Molenar, 2015: Improved tropical cyclone flight-level wind estimates using routine infrared satellite reconnaissance. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

Lang, T.J., S.A. Rutledge, B. Dolan, P. Krehbiel, W. Rison, D.T. Lindsey, 2015: Lightning in Wildfire Smoke Plumes Observed in Colorado during Summer 2012. Mon.Wea.Rev.

Sampson, C.R., and J.A. Knaff, 2015: A consensus forecast for tropical cyclone gale wind radii. Wea. Forecasting.

  • Nonrefereed


  • Refereed 

Grasso, L.D., D.W. Hillger, M. Sengupta, 2015:  Demonstrating the Utility of the GOES-R 2.25 µm band for Fire Retrieval. Geophysical Research Letters.

Knaff, J.A., D.A. Molenar, S. Longmore, 2015: Corrigendum to the Journal of Climate, correcting the scaling used in J.A. Knaff et al. (2014).

Knaff, J.A., C. Slocum, K.D. Musgrave, C.R. Sampson, B. Strahl, 2015: Using Routinely Available Information to Estimate Tropical Cyclone Wind Structure. Monthly Weather Review.

Miller, S.D., T.L. Schmidt, C. Seaman, M.M. Gunshor, D.T. LindseyD.W. Hillger, Y. Sumida and R. A. Kohrs: A Sight for Sore Eyes: The Return of True Color Imagery to Geostationary Satellites, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.

Sampson, C.R., J. Hansen, P. Wittman, J.A. Knaff, and A.B. Schumacher, 2015: Wave probabilities consistent with official tropical cyclone forecasts. Ocean Model.

Taraphdar, S., L.R. Leung, S. Hagos, K. Balaguru, and J.A. Knaff, 2015: Why is the United States experiencing less frequent landfalling major hurricanes in the recent decades? Science.

  • Nonrefereed               

Chirokova, G., R.T. DeMaria, J.F. Dostalek, K.D. Musgrave J.A. Knaff, 2015: Use of JPSS ATMS, CrIS, and VIIRS data to Improve Tropical Cyclone Track and Intensity Forecasting. 2015 AGU Fall Meeting. 14-18 December, San Francisco, CA.

Musgrave, K.D., J.A. Knaff, C. Slocum, L.D. Grasso, and M. DeMaria, 2016: Examination of tropical cyclone structure through synthetic satellite brightness temperatures. 20th Conference on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS), AMS Annual Meeting, 10-14 January, New Orleans, LA.

Schumacher, A.B., M. DeMaria, 2016: Using Total Lightning Data to Improve Real-Time Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts. 12th Annual Symposium on New Generation Operational Environmental Satellite Systems, 96th AMS Annual Meeting, 10-14 January, New Orleans, LA.

Seaman, C.J.D.W. Hillger, T. Kopp, R. Williams, S.D. Miller and D.T. Lindsey, 2015: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Imagery Environmental Data Record (EDR) User’s Guide. NOAA Technical Report, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

Tourville, N., J.A. Knaff, 2015: Understanding Tropical Cyclone Cloud-top Microphysical Relationships using CloudSat and A-Train data. 2015 AGU Fall Meeting. 14-18 December, San Francisco, CA.

Tourville, N., 2016: Scientific Analysis and Visualization of Tropical Cyclone’s using CloudSat and A-Train data in Python. Sixth Symposium on Advances in Modeling and Analysis Using Python, 96th AMS Annual Meeting, 10-14 January, New Orleans, LA.

Presentations and Posters:


Chirokova, G., 2015: Quality of ATMS-MIRS Retrievals for atlantic Topical Cyclones. NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop, 21 July, Boulder, CO.

Grasso, L.D., D.T. Lindsey, Y-J Noh, 2015: Recent issues with the Community Radiative Transfer Model and Particle Size. Naval Research Lab, 15-19 June 2015, Monterey, CA (oral presentation).

^ Hillger, D.W., J.A. Knaff, D.T. Lindsey, 2015: Short Introductory Presentations, CIRA-Intro Jamboree, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 4 September, Fort Collins, CO. 

Hillger, D.W., D. Kopp, 2015: EDR Imagery Overview, STAR 2nd Annual JPSS Science Meeting, 26 August, College Park, MD.

Knaff, J.A., 2015: Using Routinely Available Information to Estimate Tropical Cyclone Wind Structure. NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop, 21 July, Boulder, CO.

Musgrave, K.D., 2015: Verification of HWRF Synthetic Satellite Brightness Temperatures. NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop, 21 July, Boulder, CO.

+ Musgrave, K.D., 2015: Status Briefing Provided for the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) biweekly teleconference, 12 August, CIRA, Fort Collins, CO.

* Musgrave, K.D., J.A. Knaff, M. DeMaria, C. Slocum, L.D. Grasso, A.B. Schumacher, and W. Schubert: 2015: Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project – Model Post-Processing and Evaluation. Center for Multi-scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) Annual Team Meeting, 6 August, CSU, Fort Collins, CO (poster).

# Musgrave, K.D., and C. Slocum, 2015: RAMMB/CIRA Website Upgrades and Products for the 2015 Hurricane Season. Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) Teleconference, 9 September 2015.

Noh, Y-J.J.M. ForsytheC.J. SeamanS.D. Miller, M. Rogers, D.T. Lindsey and A. Heidinger, 2015: Enterprise Cloud Base: VIIRS Cloud Base Height Improvement and Validation Using CloudSat. STAR 2nd Annual JPSS Science Meeting, 27 August, College Park, MD.

Seaman, C.J., S.D. Miller and D.W. Hillger, 2015: On the Use of VIIRS Day/Night Band and Near Constant Contrast Imagery. STAR 2nd Annual JPSS Science Meeting, 26 August, College Park, MD.

Slocum, C., 2015: Can Comparisons of Precipital Water from Models and Satellite Provide Guidance on Guidance? NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop, 21 July, Boulder, CO.

Trabing, B., 2015: Analysis of Hurricanes Using Long-Range Lightning Detection Networks. NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop, 21 July, Boulder, CO.

Notes: Corrigendum submitted: J. Knaff submitted a corrigendum to the Journal of Climate, correcting the scaling used in Knaff et al. (2014). (J. Knaff, D. Molenar, S. Longmore)

^ This type of event is primarily for faculty to give short introductory presentations for new grad students in the Department.  But the review has been expanded to affiliate research faculty and staff such as the RAMMB feds and others within CIRA.  (D. Hillger, J. Knaff, D. Lindsey)

+ K. Musgrave provided a status briefing for the HFIP biweekly teleconference, updating the group on NESDIS/CIRA progress on FY15 tasks.  The delivery of the tropical cyclone diagnostic code to the HFIP community and the overhaul of the real-time products and verification and their delivery to the TC real-time page were highlighted.  The website and new products will be covered more in depth in an upcoming conference call.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, A. Schumacher, J. Dostalek, C. Slocum)

* to foster collaboration with climate modelers on diagnostic techniques currently utilized in regional and global numerical models to assess tropical cyclones and their environment.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, L. Grasso, C. Slocum)

# One of the new products on the tropical cyclone (TC) real-time webpage ( is highlighted below in Figure 1.  This product provides real-time verification of the TC environment from the NCEP operational models.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, A. Schumacher, J. Dostalek, C. Slocum)


Figure 1.  Real-time model large-scale diagnostic verification plot for the Hurricane-Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) model for Hurricane Jimena (2015).  Dashed lines indicated root-mean square error (RMSE), solid lines indicate mean absolute error (MAE), and gray bars indicate bias.  The color shading on the MAE lines represents the mean track error at the same forecast hour, with blue representing average track error of less than 100 nmi, yellow representing average track error between 100 and 200 nmi, and red representing average track error greater than 200 nmi.





R. Brummer
Toulouse, France
EUMETSAT Satellite Conference
22 September 2015
D. Molenar
College Park, MD
NHC/OPC/WPC Technical Meeting
13-18 September 2015

D. Hillger
Y-J. Noh
C. Seaman

College Park, MD
JPSS Annual Meeting
24-28 August 2015
S. Miller
Anchorage, AK
HS GINA Collaboration
24-28 August 2015
E. Szoke
Kansas City, MO
Aviation Weather Center Testbed
17-21 August 2015
K. Musgrave
Miami, FL
# Implementing Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project
(HFIP) work at NHC
17-28 August 2015
E. Szoke
Boston, MA
AMS Mesoscale Conference
3-6 August 2015

G. Chirokova
J. Knaff
K. Musgrave
A. Schumacher
C. Slocum
B. Trabing

Boulder, CO
21 July 2015


Bob Rabin Visit: Bob Rabin (NSSL) visited CIRA on 25,28, and 30 September 2015, and gave a seminar entitled “Simultaneous 1-minute observations of the 20-21 May 14 Colorado supercell storms from GOES-14, Lightning Mapping Array, TDWR and WSR-88D data.”  Bob collaborates with RAMMB/CIRA on several projects.  (D. Lindsey)


Dr. Youngsun Jung Visit: Dr. Youngsun Jung of the Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS), Norman, OK visited CIRA the week of 7 September 2015 (L. Grasso)

Visitor from CIMMS:  Dr. Alex Fierro from OU/CIMMS visited CIRA from 26-28 August 2015 to further collaborations with the RAMMB/CIRA Tropical Cyclone group. Dr. Fierro gave a seminar titled “Explicit electrification and lightning in a 350 m WRF-ARW simulation of Hurricane Isaac (2012): Comparisons with observations and relationships with microphysics and kinematics” on 28 August 2015.  (A. Schumacher, J. Knaff)

NESDIS/StAR Visitors to RAMMB/CIRA: Satya Kalluri (new CoRP Division Chief) and Mike Kalb (Acting StAR Director) visited RAMMB/CIRA on 20 and 21 August 2015.  The visit included presentations by the four RAMMB feds, as well as Steven Miller for an overall CIRA review.  The presentations resulted in lots of questions and discussion.  The visitors also met individually with several RAMMB and CIRA principals.  Part of the visit involved a tour of the newly constructed GOES-R Antenna and ground system (see the photo below).  In addition, meetings were held to discuss ongoing and future science activities at both RAMMB and CIRA.  (D. Hillger, D. Lindsey, J. Knaff, D. Molenar)

Former Branch Chief spends a day working with RAMMB scientists: Jim Purdom, former Branch Chief for the RAMMB in Fort Collins, visited D. Lindsey and D. Hillger, to work on Suomi VIIRS and Himawari AHI imagery for the Tianjin Explosion on 12 August 2015.   Purdom was particularly interested in the long-standing RAMMB use of Principal Component Imagery (PCI) to dissect multi-spectral imagery into component images, often revealing features that are not clearly discerned from single-band images alone, or from the many high-correlated spectral bands of most satellite imagery.  PCIs maximize the differences among otherwise spectrally-redundant information.  See the attached images for examples of the analysis done with VIIRS M-band imagery.  Purdom plans to present some of this work at a meeting in China in November and at later meetings in Korea and Japan.  (D. Hillger, D. Lindsey)

Chad Gravelle Visit: Chad Gravelle, the GOES-R Satellite Liaison to the NWS Operations Proving Ground, visited CIRA on 16 July 2015. Chad is involved in NWS evaluations of a number of GOES-R Proving Ground products, including some provided by CIRA. (D. Lindsey)


Steve Goodman Visit: GOES-R Program Chief Scientist Steve Goodman visited CIRA on 14 July 2015. In meetings with CIRA scientists, the primary topic was ongoing research on a variety of GOES-R Risk Reduction projects, Proving Ground activities, and ideas for future research. Pictured below is the group who participated in the meetings standing underneath the new GOES-R antenna. (D. Lindsey, D. Hillger, J. Knaff, D. Molenar)


Click on image to enlarge.

Figure. Photo of the new GOES-R Antenna currently being installed at CIRA, with participants in a 14 July 2015 meeting with GOES-R Chief Scientist Dr. Steve Goodman.

Mark DeMaria Visit: Mark DeMaria the Branch Chief of the Technology & Science Branch (NHC) visited CIRA on 6 July 2015.  He met with several CIRA and RAMMB scientists to discuss current collaborations (GOES-R Proving Ground, JHT and HFIP) and future funding opportunities.  (J. Knaff, D. Lindsey, A. Schumacher, G. Chirokova, K. Musgrave, C. Slocum) 


NRLMRY Visitor: Dr. Josh Cossuth (NRLMRY) visited CIRA the week of 2 July 2015 and met with several folks.  The topics of conversation included satellite imaging techniques, tropical cyclone structure, genesis, and intensity, future satellite products and instrumentations, and the most enjoyable way to make his way west.  Josh was on a working road trip and made a recent visit to CIMSS as he works his way back to Monterey. (J. Knaff, A. Schumacher, S. Miller, and J. Dostalek)

Figure. Photo of the newly constructed GOES-R Antenna at CIRA, and some RAMMB/CIRA personnel along with NESDIS/STAR visitors Mike Kalb and Satya Kalluri.

Bob Rabin Visit:  Dr. Bob Rabin from the National Severe Storms Lab visited CIRA on 2 July 2015.  He collaborates with several RAMMB/CIRA scientists on some GOES-R Risk Reduction projects.  (D. Lindsey) 


Hollings Scholar Benjamin Trabing (U. OK, Hollings Scholar): Hollings Scholar Ben Trabing completed his nine-week (26 May 2015 through 31 July 2015) internship with J. Knaff, A. Schumacher and K. Musgrave. (J. Knaff)


Training metrics for the quarter:

    1. Teletraining:

17 VISIT teletraining sessions have been delivered.  There were 26 teletraining signups, 81 students participated.

    2. Learning Management System (LMS) audio / video playback modules:

Registrations:  150

            Completions:  93

LMS totals from January 2005 through September 22, 2015:


Registrations:  8055



Definitions used in LMS metrics:

Registrations:  The number of students who either clicked on the course, or actually took the course, but did not complete the quiz or achieve a passing grade upon taking the quiz.  A student may have registered for multiple courses.


Completions:  The number of students that achieved a passing grade on a quiz for a course.  A student may have completed multiple courses this way.


VISIT Satellite Chats:



Figure 1.  VISIT Satellite Chat from 22 July 2015 led by Alex Tardy (NWS WFO San Diego, CA)


There were 3 VISIT satellite chat sessions this quarter:

1) 24 June 2015 – featured 1-minute imagery from the recent GOES-14 SRSOR.


2) 22 July 2015 – Alex Tardy (NWS WFO San Diego, CA) discussed the variety of impacts from tropical storm Dolores on the San Diego region (see Fig. 1).


3) 12 August 2015– Highlighted the recent GOES-14 SRSOR 1-minute imagery.   


As of 10 June 2015, there have been 76 VISIT Satellite Chat sessions for a total of 145 NWS forecast office / national center signups. 


Recorded versions of past satellite chat sessions are available here:


  New training sessions that debuted this quarter:


Ongoing development of new VISIT training sessions:

  • Sky cover forecasting with synthetic imagery
  • Sky cover analysis product
  • GOES-R Split Window Difference product for Convective Initiation
  • Identification of dust via RGB (red blue green) satellite imagery

VISIT web-page traffic:

  • The following is a summary of VISIT web-page traffic for the quarter (1 July  2015 through 15 September 2015), there were 5390 pageviews:


VISIT Meteorological Interpretation Blog – ( The blog had 366 pageviews this quarter.


Meetings and Calls


VISIT/SHyMet had a conference call on 18 August 2015.


Ed Szoke attended the AMS 27th Conference on Weather and Forecasting/23rd Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction from 29 June 2015 to 3 July 2015 in Chicago and presented two talks, one on CIRA’s GOES-R Proving Ground efforts and the other on the NOAA/ESRL FIM model. 


Ed Szoke also attended the AMS 16th Conference on Mesoscale Processes from 3-6 August 2015 in Boston and presented a talk on HRRR model performance (past and present) for the September 2013 Colorado floods.


Ed Szoke took part in the 2015 Aviation Weather Testbed Experiment in Kansas City from 17-21 August 2015 representing the CIRA GOES-R Proving Ground and the HRRR model from  NOAA/ESRL/GSD.


VISIT training on the “Use of VIIRS imagery for Tropical Cyclone Forecasting”:  A short training session focusing on some uses, particularly the day/night band (DNB) of VIIRS targeted at operational tropical cyclone forecasters and decision makers was created, recorded and disseminated.  The training concentrated on two primary topics 1) center fixing and 2) eye detection, but also presented information on the occasional occurrence of instantaneous lighting and nightglow in the DNB imagery.  The training can be obtained from the following web link.  (J. Knaff, G. Chirokova, D. Bikos)


  1. Preparations for the SHyMet course:  GOES-R Instruments, Products, and Operational Applications


New session: “Can total lightning help with warnings for non-supercell tornadoes?” (by  Ed Szoke and Dan Bikos).  This training session hypothesizes the potential role of utilizing total lightning data as a tool in the warning decision making process for non-supercell tornadoes.  This was produced in collaboration with the VISIT project. It is linked to both the VISIT and SHyMet GOES-R web pages.


  1. Metrics for the 4 existing SHyMet courses:


Metrics for the 4 SHyMet courses:

SHyMet Course


since debut

June – August















April 2006






January 2010






August 2010






March 2011



Intern:  44 Registrations; 14 known completions


NOAA transitioned to the new Commerce Learning Center (CLC) (also known as the Learning Management System (LMS) in June 2015.  The transition is going well.  The SHyMet Intern course has been set up and the SHyMet team held a few calls to discuss how to enter the remaining 3 courses (Forecaster, Severe, and Tropical) in to the CLC.  The discussions included sessions that need to be updated, how to include new sessions, whether to retire old sessions and how to handle the course title in the LMS.


  1. International training that builds on efforts of the VISIT and SHyMet Programs, and enhances communication and exchange of information with international training partners:


The WMO Virtual Laboratory Regional Focus Group of the Americas and Caribbean conducted 4 monthly bilingual (English/Spanish) weather briefings (25 June, 23 July, 27 August, and 10 September 2015).  The briefings made use of VISITview software to present GOES and POES satellite imagery and SHyMet staff assisted in partial preparation for the sessions.  These sessions continue to be popular and have drawn: {# countries (# total participants)} during June {11 (31)}, July {9 (21)}, August {12 (31)}, and September {17 (63)}.

Other Satellite Training

Naval Research Laboratory: Louie Grasso visited NRL to collaborate with Dr. Yi Jin, Dr. Hao Jin, and Dr. Jason Nachamkin. During his visit, he trained on the use of the CRTM in generating synthetic imagery for various COAMPS simulations. In one case, the CRTM was used to generate imagery form NOAA-18 a polar orbiting platform. Examples of synthetic imagery are shown below. (L. Grasso)


Figure 1. Synthetic satellite imagery of GOES-13 at the 10.7 μm band (K) generated for high-resolution COAMPS simulation at 1.667 km resolution 6-h forecast initialized at 1200 UTC 24 August 2010 over Florida.  The x-axis and y-axis are marked for grid points for the 4th nest.



Figure 2.  As in Figure 1, but for COAMPS-TC simulation of Hurricane Wilma (2005) at 2-km grid spacing at 36 forecast hour, valid for 1200 UTC 19 October 2005.

Figure 3.  (a) Synthetic satellite imagery of NOAA-18 AVHRR at the 10.8 μm band (K) generated for COAMPS Arctic simulation at 45 km resolution 24 h forecast initialized at 0000 UTC 1 August 2008.  The x-axis and y-axis are marked for grid points of the domain; (b) as in (a), but the synthetic imagery is filtered with NOAA-18 san angle. 


AWIPS1 – AWIPS2 forecaster training: D. Molenar attended 3-hour forecaster training on AWIPS1 – AWIPS2 migration held at NCEP in College Park, MD, on 15 September 2015. (D. Molenar)


COMET COMAP Residence Course: D. Molenar provided assistance to University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) staff in the development of an AWIPS2 satellite data case study for the 13-24 July 2015, COMET COMAP Residence Course. (D. Molenar)


2015 NOAA Property Custodian training: D. Molenar completed the CLC module Sunflower PPMS:  Retire Assets to meet 2015 NOAA Property Custodian training requirements.  (D. Molenar)


Lecture in JCSDA Symposium:  John Forsythe lectured in the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) two week summer symposium held at CIRA 27 July – 7 August 2015.  The topic was fundamentals and considerations for users of satellite passive microwave data.  (J. Forsythe)



Monthly International Weather Briefings:  The WMO Virtual Laboratory Regional Focus Group of the Americas and Caribbean conducted 3 monthly bilingual (English/Spanish) weather briefings (25 June, 23 July, 27 August, and 10 September 2015).  The briefings made use of VISITview software to present GOES and POES satellite Imagery from CIRA and GoToWebinar for image and voice communication over the Internet.  There were participants from the U.S.: CIRA, the NWS International Desk at WPC/NCEP, UCAR/NWS IA, the Department of State, and NOAA/NWS Office of the Chief Learning Officer (OCLO), as well as outside the U.S.: Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Panamá, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.  The participants include researchers and students as well as forecasters and other trainers.  The 4 sessions were well attended as represented by 11, 9, 12, and 16 countries and 31, 21, 31, and 63 participants respectively for June, July, August, and September.  Mike Davison at NCEP International Desk led the discussions.  Typically, the sessions include a look at Water Vapor imagery for a synoptic overview of Central America and the Caribbean as well as for South America.  The IR 10.7 µm imagery and Visible imagery are used to look more closely at weather features.  We look at MJO patterns and the outlook, Total Precipitable Water (TPW) patterns, Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and anomalies.  Imagery from a recent weather feature is often highlighted.  September had unexpectedly high attendance with many El Niño related questions.  Recordings of the three sessions as well as previous sessions can be found online: (B. Connell)

Figure 1.  Screen capture during the 10 September 2015 Regional Focus Group Session.  VISITview browser software allows Mike Davison to draw upper level patterns on the water vapor imagery with ease.


Sharing of Imagery and Products: Imagery for Central and South America and the Caribbean can be viewed at one location through RAMSDIS Online – look for the 4-week archive feature:  (  (K. Micke and D. Watson)


Look for information on our activities on the VLab/ Regional Training Center web page.  (B. Connell)


GEONETCast Americas VLab Training Channel: CIRA provided GoToMeeting support for the GEONETCast Americas (GNC-A) Coordination Group Teleconference on 1 July 2015.  There was an update on new GEOTiff products being broadcast, reports from the Broadcast, Ground Receive, Content, and Users committees, as well as updates and highlights from the WMO RA III and IV SDR Meeting and NOAA Satellite Conference that were held at the end of April.    (B. Connell)


NOAA/WMO Train the Trainer Workshop on Satellite Data Access, Application, and GEONETCast Americas, 25-26 April 2015.  (B. Connell)


The individual report as well as many of the materials from the workshop can be found here:


OR here on p 89 (APPENDIX J):

The WMO VLab is celebrating its 15th year:  Articles for a special newsletter to commemorate this were prepared.  NOAA and CIRA provided contributions the startup and continuing success of the Regional Focus Group of the Americas and the Caribbean, and reflections on accomplishments as well as challenges in RA III and IV.  (B. Connell)

Tropical Cyclone Product Development

CIRA Layered Precipitable Water Used in NHC Discussions:  As part of the JPSS PGRR project “Using JPSS Retrievals to Implement a Multisensor, Synoptic, Layered Water Vapor Product for Forecasters,” CIRA is producing a 4-layer water vapor analysis every three hours.  Layer precipitable water (LPW), the amount of condensed moisture in a layer, is calculated from NOAA MiRS retrievals from five satellites and composited and mapped to a near-global map projection.  With the cooperation of NASA SPoRT, the product is being delivered to NOAA NHC, OPC, SAB and WPC in near-realtime.  The product allows forecasters to visualize the vertical distribution of water vapor, a key variable in tropical cyclone genesis and intensification as well as heavy precipitation events.  An excerpt from a NHC tropical weather discussion mentioning the product is shown in Figure 1.  (J. Forsythe).




205 PM EDT SUN SEP 06 2015










Figure 1:  Example of use of CIRA LPW product in NHC Tropical Weather Discussion.


Development of 7-day tropical cyclone wind speed probabilities:  Under the support of the Joint Hurricane Testbed, the Monte Carlo wind speed probability model has been extended from 5 to 7 days.  Examination of Brier skill scores over a 3-year period in the Atlantic basin (see Figure below) suggest the 6-day and 7-day wind speed probabilities have modest yet positive skill. (A. Schumacher)




Figure.  Brier skill scores for the JHT wind speed probabilities for 2011-2013 Atlantic tropical cyclones.  WSPs for forecast times greater than 120 h were recently developed under the Joint Hurricane Testbed.


Validation of hybrid wind speed probabilities:  A hybrid wind speed probability algorithm that uses global model ensemble tracks instead of statistical track realizations has been running experimentally in real-time at CIRA since late 2012.  Hybrid wind speed probabilities (WSP) are currently being demonstrated on the HFIP experimental products website ( An updated verification of the hybrid product was recently performed and presented at the 9 September 2015 bi-weekly HFIP teleconference.  Verification results (see Figure below) suggest that the hybrid WSP generally has greater skill than the statistical version in the Atlantic, N.E. Pacific, and N.W. Pacific basins. These results motivate future efforts to explore other hybrid WSP methodologies that exploit global model tracks to improve the WSP.  (A. Schumacher, K. Musgrave, J. Knaff)




Figure.  Improvement in Brier score (%) provided by the hybrid wind speed probability over the operational statistical method for 2013-2014 TCs in Atlantic (top left), N.E. Pacific (top right), and N.W. Pacific (bottom) basins.

New & Experimental TC surface wind analysis product on the web:  An experimental aircraft-based surface wind analysis that blends the operational MTCSWA winds and real-time aircraft reconnaissance data collected over a 6-hour period of time is now available on the TC-RealTime web page.  This product is the result of a two-year Joint Hurricane Testbed project, which is still being considered for operational transition at NHC, but was delayed due to higher operational priorities.  A full description of the product is provided at #AIRCTCWA .  The figure below shows analyses near peak intensity for two 2015 tropical cyclones with aircraft reconnaissance, which demonstrates this capability and some of the shortcomings (i.e., maximum winds).  (J. Knaff)



Caption: Aircraft-based analysis of Major Hurricanes Danny (al042015) and Ignacio (ep122015) near the times of their maximum intensities.   At this time Danny and Ignacio had an estimated maximum winds of 100 kt and 120 kt.  Note the inability at this time for the analysis to provide a maximum intensity due to the mix of flight-level and surface wind speed estimates.  In this region the radius of maximum wind slopes outward (O 45o) with height and the slope is not constant. 


Wind Radii estimation and forecasting: Algorithms that estimate wind radii from operational Dvorak intensity estimates, storm motion vector, and information contained in the matching IR image and been refined to the point of documentation (Dvorak-Knaff-estimates).  These algorithms have also been shared with NRLMRY and form a stable basis for real-time wind radii consensus estimates.  The algorithm and the wind radii consensus have been so successful in testing that both techniques are being fast-tracked to be implemented in the next ATCF update for JTWC.   The figure below show the results of the consensus wind radii versus the NHC’s best-tracked wind radii for Hurricane Gonzalo (2014). This figure shows that for the best track (and advisory) wind radii are well represented by the consensus of these inputs, which is a game changer for JTWC.  (J. Knaff)



Caption:  Dots represent the wind radii estimates/fixes, dashed line is an objective estimate of the 34 kt wind radii based on those wind radii estimates, and the solid line is the official best track 34 kt wind radii.  Shown are results in the NE, NW,SE and SW quadrants of the storm.  Fixes are shown from Dvorak-Knaff wind radii in black (TAFB) and green (SAB), the CIRA AMSU structure estimates (salmon), HWRF model initial conditions (grey), GFS model initial conditions (purple) and the MTCSWA estimates (cyan) – 4 satellite methods – ALL DEVELOPED BY RAMMB/CIRA and 2 operational models.


In addition to the success with JTWC, the same vortex parameterization that make wind radii estimates possible form routine information also forms the basis for the statistical-dynamical forecasts of wind radii by using initial size conditions (from imagery) and intensity conditions (operational advisories), forecasts of intensity (SHIPS)  and storm environment (GFS).   The developmental size dataset was described in previous RAMMB/CIRA research Knaff et al. (2014).  This is an ongoing JHT project and the F90 code necessary for the implementation at NHC has been written and preliminary testing has begun.   The table below shows the forecast 34-kt wind radii based on the ships forecast of Ignacio (2015) and the working best track estimates of those same quantities from NHC.  (J. Knaff)


Table Caption: SHIPS based forecasts of intensity (Vm) and wind radii in the northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW) quadrant compared to the working best track values.  Units are knots for intensity and nautical miles for wind radii.




Best Track (working)






















































































Development of bias-correction for ATMS/AMSU –MIRS data based on comparison with radiosondes: The Cal/Val project involves analyzing the performance of satellite temperature and moisture retrievals in the vicinity of tropical cyclones (TCs), with the intention of improving the tropical cyclone intensity and structure products produced at CIRA.  As part of this effort, global radiosonde data have been collected for the years 2012-2015.  Island and coastal stations will supplement the dropsonde data already being used as ground truth in determining the accuracy of the satellite retrievals.  Currently, the MIRS algorithm as applied to the AMSU and ATMS instruments is being examined, with NUCAPS retrievals to be considered later in the project. (J. Dostalek, G. Chirokova)


Improvements to the CIRA TC intensity and structure algorithm: As part of the CIRA Cal/Val project the TC intensity and structure code was updated to a more user-friendly format, with many input values now set in a configuration file instead of being hard-wired in the code.  These values include the coefficients used in the final determination of intensity, central pressure, and the radii of the 34-, 50-, and 64-kt winds.  Also in the configuration file is the option to use virtual temperature instead of temperature in the calculation of the height field, which forms the basis of the intensity and structure code.  The intensity and structure code has been rerun using virtual temperature for all TCs worldwide from 2012-2014. (G. Chirokova, J. Dostalek)

Figure 1. 850 mb winds and geopotential height for Hurricane Simon, ep192014 as calculated by the CIRA TC intensity and structure algorithm with virtual temperature. (a) estimated from high-resolution AMSU on-board of Metop-B, at 10/04/2014 17:12Z, and (b) estimated from ATMS on-board of SNPP at 10/04/2014 20:43Z

Development of automated objective eye-detection algorithm: As part of the JPSS-PGRR-TC project, testing of the automated eye detection algorithm with VIIRS input has been completed.  VIIRS data have been regridded to the geostationary data grid, and a subset of the data centered near the tropical cyclone eye was fed into the algorithm to perform classification.  Currently, no difference has been detected between the use of the algorithm with VIIRS data and geostationary IR data.  However, only a very small set of VIIRS data have been used so far.  Using a larger set of images may show that the use of VIIRS data reduces incorrect classification.  Additionally, the use of interpolation is likely not the most effective method of using the information contained in a VIIRS image that a GOES image may lack.  An alternate scheme, such as taking the maximum VIIRS value in the set of nearest neighbors, may pass on more valuable information to the classification algorithm than the weighted average currently being used.  Future work will involve creating a larger set of test data as well as testing alternate schemes for transforming VIIRS data to the format required by the eye detection algorithm. (R. DeMaria)

Figure 1. (a) Unprojected SDR VIIRS IR I5-band image (375 m resolution) of Hurricane Edouard, al06 2014. This image is a typical example of an image with a small eye, which is incorrectly classified by the current automated eye-detection algorithm.  (b) Same VIIRS image projected to Cylindrical Equidistant projection and re-gridded onto the low resolution 4 km GOES IR grid.  Yellow box indicates area of pixels used as input into the eye detection algorithm.


The real-time demonstration of RII and SHIPS/LGEM forecast with ATMS input has been setup at CIRA: As part of the JPSS-PGRR-TC project, the latest version of the SHIPS/LGEM/RII model, the same one that will be running at NHC for the 2015 AL hurricane season, was setup to run at CIRA. The model setup was coordinated with NHC, and testing was performed to ensure that the results obtained at CIRA could be directly compared to the operational SHIPS/LGEM runs at NHC.  Two versions of SHIPS/LGEM were setup to run at CIRA in near real-time demo mode. The 1st “control” version is intended to reproduce NHC runs, and to ensure that everything is working properly.  The output of these runs is available via ftp, at


Figure 1 shows an example of SHIPS output from the control run. This run also produces output of the additional RI estimate, different from the operational one. The statistics of these RII estimates obtained in real-time will be used for the FY15-17 JPSS PGRR-TC project. The 2nd run uses ATMS MPI estimates as input to SHIPS, LGEM, and RII. The algorithm for estimating MPI from ATMS was adjusted based on the reruns with the latest version of the model discussed above. The real-time runs for both AL and EP/CP use bias-adjusted ATMS MPI estimates. However, based on the results of the forecast verification for past cases, for the AL the MPI is calculated by averaging ATMS profiles between 300-600 km from the storm center; and for the EP/CP the averaging range is 300-800 km from the storm center. The SHIPS/LGEM/RII runs with ATMS input are available via ftp, at

Figure 2 shows an example of SHIPS output from the run with ATMS input. (G. Chirokova)

Figure 2. An example of SHIPS output from the SHIPS/LGEM/RII run with ATMS MPI used as input. The example is for Tropical Storm Bill, al02 2015, for the same case as shown in Figure 4.


Tropical Cyclone Future Satellite Studies

Web products updated to use Himawari-8 imagery:  Tropical RAMSDIS, and TC-realtime feeds were updated to begin making use of H8 data.   These images are now also part of the Tropical Cyclone IR image archive maintained at CIRA. (J. Knaff)


Lightning’s role in TCs:  Benjamin Trabing (U. OK, Hollings Scholar) completed his internship with J. Knaff, A. Schumacher and K. Musgrave.  As part of his internship he presented his work entitled “Analysis of Hurricanes Using Long-Range Lightning Detection Networks” in Silver Spring, MD.  In his study he found that the impulsive lightning in the inner core of tropical cyclones is often related to structural changes connected to eyewall formation and organization.  The figure below shows evidence of these relationships for Hurricane Odile (2014). (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, A. Schumacher, C. Slocum)




Caption: Evolution of lightning and vertical wind shear (top) and satellite imagery matching key development periods of Hurricane Odile (2014).  The four periods are 1) shear decreases and intensification begins, 2) eye forms in the microwave imagery (MI), 3) an eye forms in the infrared (IR) imagery, and 4) an eyewall replacement cycle begins.  Each of these structural changes was accompanied by a burst of inner–core (0-100 km) and eyewall (0-50 km) lightning activity.

Tropical Cyclone External Interactions

Tropical Cyclone Guidance Implementation with JMA:  K. Musgrave worked with the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) on the implementation of tropical cyclone (TC) statistical-dynamical intensity models SHIPS and LGEM run from JMA dynamical models.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave)


Joint Tropical Weather Briefings with HRD:  K. Musgrave gave joint tropical briefings the week of 10-14 August 2015 with NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.  Local briefings were held at 10 am to accommodate HRD’s noon daily weather discussions.  The focus of these discussions was to provide information needed to plan various field programs in which HRD is participating – focusing this year on the Atlantic, eastern Pacific and central Pacific basins.  The week focused on Hurricane Hilda as it approached Hawaii and weakened, as well as the potential for development in the eastern Pacific over the weekend into next week.  The one-minute imagery from GOES-14 will observe the area of potential development on 14 August 2015.  (K. Musgrave)


Tropical Cyclone Synthetic Satellite Discussion:  K. Musgrave met with J. Otkin and C. Rozoff of CIMSS to discuss model synthetic satellite evaluation as part of the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP).  This meeting was a follow-up to the presentations at the CIRA/NOAA/NCAR Semiannual TC Workshop.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, L. Grasso, C. Slocum)


CIRA-Intro Jamboree:  On 4 September 2015 three RAMMB feds gave 5-10 minute presentations in the CIRA-Intro Jamboree sponsored by the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.  This type of event is primarily for faculty to give short introductory presentations for new grad students in the Department.  But the review has been expanded to affiliate research faculty and staff such as the RAMMB feds and others within CIRA. (J. Knaff, D. Lindsey, D. Hillger)


HFIP Teleconference Presentation:  K. Musgrave and C. Slocum presented at the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP) biweekly teleconference, updating the group on RAMMB/CIRA website upgrades and products for the 2015 hurricane season.  One of the new products on the tropical cyclone (TC) real-time webpage ( is highlighted below in Figure 1.  This product provides real-time verification of the TC environment from the NCEP operational models. (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave, C. Slocum, A. Schumacher)



CIRA Final Report Reviewed:  J. Knaff did a quick review of the section of the CIRA final report entitled “CIRA Support for Transition of Tropical Cyclone Forecast Products” and provided it to OAR.  (J. Knaff)


Hollings Scholar Internship Completed:  Benjamin Trabing (U. OK, Hollings Scholar) completed his internship with J. Knaff, A. Schumacher and K. Musgrave.  As part of his internship he presented his work entitled “Analysis of Hurricanes Using Long-Range Lightning Detection Networks” in Silver Spring, MD.  In his study he found that the impulsive lightning in the inner core of tropical cyclones is often related to structural changes connected to eyewall formation and organization.  (J. Knaff)


TC data shared:   MTCSWA data was shared with L. Wu (Nanjing U.) to help him with his studies associated with tropical cyclone size variability. (J. Knaff)


Proposal/White Paper sent to JTWC:  A proposal to develop simple 7-day track and intensity baseline forecasts in the JTWC’s areas of responsibility was prepared and submitted.  We expect these ideas to be funded either by end-of-year FY15 or FY16 Navy funding.  (J. Knaff, K. Musgrave)


Lightning meeting:  J. Knaff and A. Schumacher met with S. Rutledge (CSU) and W. Zhang (CSU) to discuss collaboration and progress on lightning in tropical cyclones. (J. Knaff, A. Schumacher)


NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop:  Several CIRA and CSU folks traveled to Boulder to present and attend the quasi-semi-annual NOAA/NCAR/CSU TC Workshop.  Note – Hollings Scholar B. Trabing (OU) was one of the presenters.  These meetings have been occurring for nearly six years. (ALL – See Travel/Notes/Agenda)


Data created and provided:  Satellite based estimates of surface winds based on the experimental version of the multi-platform tropical cyclone surface wind analysis v2.0 for Hurricane Edward were provided to H. Winterbottom (ESRL).  (J. Knaff)


Mesoscale Research Product Development

Task Queue and Automation Software System: S. Longmore is successfully testing a generalized, modular, real-time python task creation and workflow execution system (~2 months design and implementation) for processing GOES satellite data using aspects of strategy, command, and singleton design patterns along with a framework that utilizes configuration and task completion JSON files, validation schemas, process status (psutils), dynamic plug-ins, and previously developed data directory and file regular expression search module classes. The system has been staged on CIRA’s internal git server where developers can checkout and develop their own task automation plug-in. C. Slocum has already developed 3 task automation plug-ins for HFIP (2 days vs 6-8 weeks development time) and S. Longmore had ported the DEBRA processing to the new system. (S. Longmore)

VIIRS for Fire Detection: The “Seeing the Light: VIIRS in the Arctic” blog has been updated with a new post titled, “The Land of 10,000 Fires.” This blog post discusses VIIRS imagery of the very active fire season in Alaska. This blog post was inspired by questions about imagery interpretation that came directly from forecasters in the Alaska Region, and was the result of collaboration between the Fairbanks WFO, GINA and CIRA. In particular, it was noted that the “Natural Color RGB” composite of bands I-1, I-2, and I-3 is sensitive to radiation from intense fires, which may appear in 1.6 mm imagery (I-3) and produce a “salmon” or red color in the RGB composite. Thick smoke plumes also appear in the Natural Color RGB, due primarily to scattering in the red-wavelength visible channel (0.64 mm, I-1). Smoke is particularly visible when the sun is close to the horizon, due to forward scattering. Natural Color imagery is compared with True Color imagery (which is more sensitive to smoke) and Fire Temperature RGB imagery (which is more sensitive to hot spots from fires). A discussion of saturation in band I-4 (3.7 mm) is also included. Saturation in I-4 can lead to a condition known as “fold-over” where the reported brightness temperature in the pixels with the most intense heat is much lower than any other pixels in the scene. These “fold-over” pixels are the most likely to appear as hot spots at 1.6 mm. Example images are provided below. Questions about these aspects of fire detection in VIIRS came about from forecasters as a result of the Fairbanks WFO now having the capability to display the Natural Color RGB “on-the-fly” in AWIPS-II.  Additional discussion and imagery may be found on the “Seeing the Light: VIIRS in the Arctic” blog here: (C. Seaman)

Figure: VIIRS Fire Temperature RGB (upper left), I-4 (upper right), Natural Color (lower left) and M-13 (lower right) images of an area of intense fires in the interior of Alaska (22:09 UTC 4 July 2015).


“Auto Contrast” for displaying VIIRS DNB and NCC imagery: While the ERF-Dynamic Scaling algorithm previously developed at CIRA is an improvement over the most commonly used algorithms for scaling VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery, particularly in scenes that span the terminator, ERF-Dynamic Scaling suffers from poor image contrast in certain scenes. The Near Constant Contrast EDR product similarly suffers from poor contrast. Work has begun to develop an “Auto Contrast” method to improve image contrast from both ERF-scaled DNB imagery and NCC imagery. This algorithm operates in the same way as the “auto contrast” feature found in Photoshop and other image editing software. Initial testing shows promise (see Figures below).  The goal is to apply Auto Contrast to DNB and NCC imagery in AWIPS-II to provide optimized scene contrast to forecasters. (C. Seaman)



Figure: Example VIIRS Near Constant Contrast image with static linear scaling (0-1.5). 



Figure: The previous Near Constant Contrast image after Auto Contrast has been applied.


GOES-14 1-minute Imagery:  GOES-14 was re-activated in order to once again collect 1-minute imagery in preparation for regular 1-minute scans with GOES-R.  The sectors change daily, and their locations are based on input from various NWS National Centers and occasional research field projects.  RAMMB/CIRA is collecting the data via its ground station, making conversions to a variety of file formats, then sending it out via the LDM for use by the Storm Prediction Center, the Aviation Weather Center, the Weather Prediction Center, multiple NWS Weather Forecast Offices, and the National Hurricane Center (for the first time).  Additionally, CIRA’s webpage that displays the 1-minute imagery has been upgraded by allowing thumbnail previews of the available sectors and providing a 4-week archive that can be used to build customized loops.  The 1-minute imagery experiment ran for 2 weeks in August 2015 (D. Lindsey, D. Molenar, K. Micke)


NWS Support with Himawari Imagery:  National Weather Service forecasters from the Pacific Region (PR) continue to rely upon CIRA’s webpage for realtime Himawari imagery (, as they’re still waiting for the installation of the HimawariCast direct broadcast system.  At the request of PR SSD Chief Bill Ward, a new visible sector was added over Tropical Storm Kilo, and another sector will be moved to cover Hurricane Ignacio.  Below is an example image from Himawari of Kilo.  (D. Lindsey)



Figure.  Himawari-8 band 3 visible image over Tropical Storm Kilo from27 Aug. 2015 at 0250 UTC, from CIRA’s Himawari webpage.


Improving NUCAPS Retrievals: As part of the JPSS Proving Ground and Risk Reduction Program, work began on a project which seeks to improve NUCAPS retrievals by blending them with model data or observations from the surface or near surface.  This quarter’s effort focused on building a dataset of radiosondes launched near the 1330 (local time) overpass of NPP.  This dataset includes radiosondes launched from the ARM SGP location, specifically timed to coincide with NPP overpasses.  Initial attempts were also made at making simple combinations of surface observations (Real Time Mesoscale Analysis) and the NUCAPS retrievals themselves.    (J. Dostalek)


First “Image of the Month” provided for the StAR JPSS website:  The attached image was provided by C. Seaman to L. Zhou and T. Atkins to be the first of a proposed “Image of the Month” series, to be posted on the StAR JPSS website.  These images are provided with only a brief description, but serve as examples of the best of VIIRS Imagery Team products.  (D. Hillger, C. Seaman)



Caption: False color (Natural Color) image of Hurricane Ignacio as a Category 4 hurricane

approaching Hawaii seen by VIIRS with 375 m resolution on 29 August 2015 at 22:48 UTC.


VIIRS EDRs with GTM mapping supplied to SST Team:  VIIRS EDRs (and geo-locations) for 2 granules of particular interest to the SST EDR Team were provided to I. Gladkova as part of a test of the Ground Track Mercator (GTM) mapping to compensate for the bowtie deletions and pixel overlap in the native mapping of VIIRS SDR granules.  As suggested at a breakout session at the JPSS 2nd Annual Meeting, this GTM grid might be an alternative to the SST Team’s re-interleaved SDR 1.5 mapping that they developed for their SST products.  This collaboration between the EDR Imagery Team and the SST Team will result co-authorship on a publication to be submitted to a special issue of Remote Sensing on SNPP/JPSS cal/val. (D. Hillger, D. Lindsey, D. Molenar)


EDR Imagery Users’ Guide:  The long-finished “EDR Imagery Users’ Guide” that has never been officially published as a NOAA Technical Report is being sent up the approval chain for final acceptance by NOAA leadership.  The NOAA TR has been reviewed both within and outside of NOAA, has been revised, and a NESDIS 147 number has been assigned by the NOAA Librarian contingent upon final approval of the document by NOAA.  L. Brown is helping with the paperwork and approval chain.  (D. Hillger, C. Seaman)


Mesoscale Research Future Satellite Studies

Realtime Himawari-8 True Color (Blue Marble) imagery: An algorithm for creating True Color imagery from the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) has been developed and is used to create “Blue Marble” images in realtime. This algorithm uses a new “Hybrid Green” band that blends AHI Band 2 with Band 4 to produce True Color imagery that compares favorably with MODIS and VIIRS. The native green band on AHI (Band 2) is shifted toward the blue end of the visible spectrum relative to the green bands on MODIS and VIIRS, resulting in images that appear too red/brown. Examples are shown below. Full disk and other True Color imagery from Himawari is produced in realtime on RAMSDIS Online: (D. Lindsey, C. Seaman, S. Miller)



Figure: AHI True Color image produced using the native green band.



RGB Composites for Himawari-8 (AHI): Several RGB composite algorithms proven to be useful for forecasters have been applied to the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI), and the imagery is now produced in realtime and made available on RAMSDIS Online. The AHI is the best proxy for the upcoming GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). Currently, Rayleigh-corrected True Color (using CIRA’s Hybrid Green algorithm), EUMETSAT Natural Color, RGB Airmass, and CIRA Fire Temperature RGB composites are being produced.  Examples are shown below. AHI imagery is made available on RAMSDIS Online: (D. Lindsey, C. Seaman, S. Miller, K. Micke)



Figure: Example images of AHI True Color RGB (upper left), Natural Color RGB (upper right), RGB Airmass (lower left) and Fire Temperature RGB (lower right) showing New Zealand.


WMO Trailer for New Book:  The WMO is publishing a new book entitled “Seamless Prediction of the Earth System: from Minutes to Months,” and to help advertise it, they released a video trailer here:  At the 43-second point, there is a very brief view of GOES-14 1-minute imagery from a case on 24 May 2015 over southwest Texas.  (D. Lindsey)


Himawari-8 Imagery:  On 7 July 2015, JMA’s Himawari-8 geostationary satellite became operational.  Multiple projects at CIRA/RAMMB are making use of data from the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) in order to prepare for similar data from the GOES-R ABI.  One such project involves producing true color imagery without the benefit of a green band.  The AHI has a band that is centered at a wavelength near green, but since it isn’t exactly green, a method has been developed to best approximate the green band using a lookup table.  The image below shows the result.  True color imagery is also being generated in real time and put on CIRA’s RAMSDIS online: (S. Miller, C. Seaman, D. Lindsey D. Molenar, D. Hillger)


Figure.  Himawari-8 true color image from 7 July 2015 at 0330 UTC.  The image was processed at CIRA using a new technique to correct the off-green band.

Himawari Imagery for the NWS:  The Ocean Prediction Center and the Aviation Weather Center do not yet have operational access to Himawari-8 data, and it is useful for both centers’ operations.  Therefore CIRA is converting its AHI feed to the proper formats and sending it out via LDM, where is it obtained by OPC and AWC for display in their NAWIPS systems.  More bands and larger sectors were added to the processing this week, including the 0.5 km band 3 visible over a large domain.  (D. Lindsey and D. Molenar)


WRF-ARW P3-Microphysics:  Collaboration continued with the WRF P3 microphysics developers Hugh Morrison and Jason Milbrandt. Our collaboration focused on the lack of small ice crystals at the top of simulated thunderstorm anvils. As a first step, different ice diameters were calculated and included in the calculation of the top of the atmosphere radiances. Results of many test suggests that the P3 scheme itself produces too little small ice crystal mass. Below is a figure comparing synthetic and observed GOES13 imagery.  (L. Grasso)



Figure: Synthetic (left) and observed (right) GOES-13 at 10.7 µm.


HWRF-V3.6 Simulation:  Work continued on the hurricane Leslie simulation that was generated from the operational version of HWRF version 3.6. One goal is to assimilate satellite retrieved liquid and ice condensate into HWRF. Synthetic imagery for grid3 will be comparison with observations. An example of remapped synthetic and observed imagery for grid3 is shown below. (L. Grasso)



Figure: Synthetic (left) and observed (right) GOES-13 at 10.7 µm of hurricane Leslie for grid 3.


Mesoscale Research External Interactions

Assistance to NWS Central Region Headquarters (CRH): D. Molenar provided assistance to NWS Central Region Headquarters (CRH) to configure the CRH and Operations Proving Ground AWIPS2 workstations for ingest and display of real-time H8 data from the RAMMB/CIRA LDM feed.  The data will be used for Operations Proving Ground tests in January 2016.  (D. Molenar)


FY16 and Forward Business Review:  D. Hillger presented slides for the EDR Imagery Team at a JPSS Program Management Review on 24 July 2015.  The plans for EDR Imagery cal/val and long term monitoring were outlined, with end users being the main focus of Imagery validation.  Users in Alaska in particular are being engaged, since Imagery is specified as a Key Performance Parameter (KPP) for VIIRS at latitudes greater than 60°N.  (D. Hillger)

System Administration

New hardware deployment

  • 7 new advanced research workstations have been configured and deployed to support GOES-R prep utilizing Himawari data. (D. Molenar, K. Micke, H. Gosden, D. Watson)
  • 6 new high speed NAS devices have been configured and deployed.  The NAS devices are the fastest made by Synolgy, and are needed to support the increase in model and satellite data volumes.  (D. Molenar, K. Micke, H. Gosden, D. Watson)

New Software for Himawari-8: Software has been developed to implement a real-time Himawari-8 data (received from StAR) McIDAS ADDE server.  The ADDE server allows research staff to work with sectorized portions of the H8 imagery by band instead of having to read full versions of multiple H8 files, streamlining data processing resource requirements.  The server has so far been able to keep up with the ~88 GB/day data volume (again good prep for GOES-R data processing).  (D. Molenar)


‘On-the-fly’ AWIPS II RGB image display capabilities implemented:  ‘On-the-fly’ AWIPS II RGB image display capabilities have been implemented at RAMMB/CIRA.  The RGB application was developed by the AWIPS II RGB Experimental Products Development Team (EPDT) during several dedicated work sessions in Huntsville AL.  The ‘on-the-fly’ aspect means that forecasters can predefine algorithms which can be then be applied when displaying real-time red, green, and blue satellite imagery to provide full 24-bit color visualization.  This application will be utilized at the NWS January 2016 Operations Proving Ground (OPG) to support forecaster evaluation of simulated GOES-R RGB products.  Efforts are underway to transition other RAMMB/CIRA next generation 8-bit image products to 24-bit.  (D. Molenar) 


NHC/OPC/WPC Technical Meeting held 13-18 September 2015 in College Park, MD.   The meeting provided an opportunity to sit in on OPC’s first NAWIPS to AWIPS2 migration test.   Information obtained will be useful when developing an implementation & training for RAMMB/CIRA research staff migration to AWIPS2, as well as for support of the AWIPS2 NCP use by the NHC Satellite Liaison at RAMMB/CIRA. (D. Molenar)


 Additional highlights of the trip include:

  • Worked with Monica Bozeman of NHC/NCO to streamline NHC’s current NAWIPS McIDAS-based satellite product ingest to suit requirements of AWIPS2 NCP.
  • Worked with staff from NHC & OPC to define areas where RAMMB/CIRA can assist in the migration of their satellite applications from NAWIPS to AWIPS2.  The meeting provided a background regarding the ongoing NCP software development (N builds) efforts at NCO. 
  • Met with OPC satellite liaison Michael Folmer to develop a plan to address deficiencies in existing AWIPS2 satellite color tables that are applied to VIIRS and Himawari data.  A working group has been formed to come up with new color tables that can also be used for GOES-R satellite products.
  • Met with David Plummer and the NCO NCP software development team, and learned significant information on NCP directions and AWIPS2 hardware requirements.  Info will be utilized for upcoming purchase of AWIPS2 hardware to support WES/VISIT/SHyMet activities.
  • Additional information obtained from Eric Guillot at NWS headquarters will allow testing of the ingest of simulated GOES-R imager data which is currently being disseminated over the NWS NOAAPORT SBN, and to add that display to RAMMB/CIRA AWIPS2 and NAWIPS workstations. 

Media Interaction

Himawari Imagery on the Equinox:  Himawari true color imagery generated at RAMMB/CIRA was used by some media outlets in articles about the Autumnal Equinox on 23 September 2015.  One example is here:, and the images are shown below.  (D. Lindsey, S. Miller)



Figure:  Himawari-8 true color imagery from CIRA’s Hybrid Atmospherically Corrected method from 23 September 2015 at 0820 UTC, the Autumnal Equinox, illustrating the north-south terminator. Also shown is a true color image from 9 June 2015 at 0820 UTC for comparison of the tilt of the terminator line.


Interviews for WagTV show “What on Earth?”: An associate producer of the British television series “What on Earth?” requested and was provided VIIRS Day/Night Band imagery for the case of “mysterious lights” over a remote part of the Pacific Ocean (24 August 2014). This case became an Internet phenomenon when a pilot took photographs and detailed his sighting of the “creepiest thing so far in my flying career,” and has since become the target of numerous conspiracy theories. As discussed on the VIIRS Imagery and Visualization Team Blog, these “mysterious lights” appear to be military ships engaged in an exercise. An upcoming episode of “What on Earth?” will feature this case and has begun filming. C. Seaman was interviewed for this episode. The VIIRS Imagery Team blog post that discusses this case may be found here:  In addition, the production crew expressed interest in imagery of the Air Algerie crash that was seen by the Day/Night Band. The resulting fire was spotted by the Day/Night Band within minutes of the crash of Flight 5017. This case was featured in Scientific American and is discussed more here: S. Miller was also interviewed by WagTV. (C. Seaman, S. Miller)


VIIRS Imagery Provided to  A science journalist and co-author of the Map Lab blog was provided VIIRS Day/Night Band images for an article on mapping the aurora. The article discusses NASA’s “Aurorasaurus” project as well as using the Day/Night Band imagery to view auroras from space. The images provided to were featured on the VIIRS Imagery and Visualization Team Blog in the post titled, “The Aurora Seen Around the World” and may be found here: The article may be found on the WIRED Map Lab blog here:  (C. Seaman)


Contribution to Article about Colorado Tornadoes:   Bob Henson from Weather Underground used imagery and information provided by RAMMB in this article:  The article describes a few tornadoes in Colorado in early June, including a particularly rare one that formed near the town of Berthoud and moved to the west.  GOES-14 1-minute imagery provided a unique dataset for the case.  (D. Lindsey)


Super Typhoon Soudelar Imagery:  VIIRS imagery created at RAMMB was used in multiple media articles after being posted to the @NOAASatellites twitter feed.  These include ( , ( , and (  Some of the Himawari imagery from RAMMB’s website was also used in this video clip from The Weather Channel: as well as this article:  (D. Lindsey, D. Hillger, D. Molenar, K. Micke)



Figure.  VIIRS I-band 5 image of Super Typhoon Soudelor from 3 August 2015 at 1633 UTC.


Himawari Imagery of the Manum Volcanic Eruption:  Himawari-8 true-color, Visible, and IR imagery that was generated at RAMMB/CIRA was used in this article  We asked that JMA be given credit for the imagery.  See below for one of the true-color images.  (D. Lindsey, S. Miller)



Figure.  True Color imagery from Himawari-8 showing the eruption of the Manam Volcano in Papua New Guinea on 31 July 2015.


Himawari Imagery of Tianjian, China Explosion: Himawari-8 imagery created at RAMMB/CIRA was used in this article  The image is from 3.9 μm and shows a hot spot associated with the explosion in Tianjian, China, on 12 August 2015.  (D. Lindsey)


Himawari True Color featured on CNN front page:  Himawari-8 true color imagery produced in real time using CIRA’s Hybrid Atmospherically Corrected (HAC) method was featured on the front page of on 20 August 2015.  Below is a screen capture, and the full article is here:  (D. Lindsey, D. Molenar, S. Miller, C. Seaman, and K. Micke)



Figure.  Screen grab from’s front page featuring Himawari true color imagery produced at CIRA/RAMMB


VIIRS/DNB Imagery on Postage Stamps:  With the popularity of VIIRS Imagery in the Social Media, it’s not surprising that VIIRS images also appear on postage stamps, from The Gambia in this case.  Readers should note, however, that such postal issues are often generated mainly to be sold to philatelists and are seldom used as actual postage in the country that contracted for their production.  These stamps were issued for the UNESCO International Year of Light in 2015,, a common theme for postal items from several countries in 2015.  (D. Hillger)



Figure: VIIRS/DNB Imagery appeared on these postage stamps from The Gambia. 

The images are some combination of VIIRS true-color and DNB imagery.


RAMMB-CIRA is mentioned: RAMMB-CIRA is mentioned in a CPHC (Central Pacific Hurricane Center) discussion as Tropical Storm Kilo threatened Hawaii, which was later disseminated in the Big Island and (Louisville, KY) articles.  The CPHC discussions on Thursday 20 August 2015 at 11 pm and again on Friday 21 August 2015 at 5 am specifically mention this product.  An example from Friday’s discussion is as follows “KILO IS MOVING OVER VERY WARM WATER… ABOVE 29C IN THE LATEST ANALYSIS… AND THE OCEAN HEAT CONTENT ANALYSIS FROM RAMMB-CIRA INDICATES INCREASING VALUES ALONG THE FORECAST TRACK. EASTERLY SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO SLOWLY WEAKEN LATER TODAY… AND THEN REMAIN RATHER WEAK THROUGH DAY 3.”   The articles can be found at and  (J. Knaff)


Other Administration

Security Awareness Training Completed:  All four RAMMB feds have completed the NOAA IT security awareness training for 2015.  (D. Hillger, D. Molenar, D. Lindsey, J. Knaff)


Telework Agreements Completed for FY16:  All four RAMMB feds have completed their Telework Agreements for FY16, sending them to the CoRP Division Chief, S. Kalluri.  (D. Hillger, D. Molenar, D. Lindsey, J. Knaff)


Personal Development

Manuscript Reviewed:  D. Hillger provided a review of a manuscript that utilized VIIRS data, for Remote Sensing.  (D. Hillger)


Manuscript Reviewed:  D. Hillger reviewed a manuscript for IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. (D. Hillger)


Manuscript Reviewed:  D. Hillger reviewed a manuscript for JGR Atmospheres. (D. Hillger)


Community Outreach

Summer Internship Posters Evaluated:  K. Musgrave served as a poster evaluator for the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) annual poster session, held in Boulder, CO, on 30 July 2015.  (K. Musgrave)

Mammatus Clouds