Wide World of SPoRT Blog
Lightning in Hurricane Joaquin
Thursday, 1 October 2015
I wanted to post a different way of viewing Hurricane Joaquin using lightning data. Until GOES-R is launched and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) is available, forecasters rely on long-range terrestrial lightning networks to get a view inside tropical systems. In this example from the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC), the lightning density comes from Vaisala's GLD360 network. Unlike the lightning mapping array (LMA) networks SPoRT collaborates with, the GLD360 primarily observes cloud-to-ground strokes, but will occasionally observe strong intra-cloud flashes (although the network does not distinguish between the two). The interesting feature here is the nearly concentric ring of lightning stroke densities around the eye, although some strong storms are observed to the southwest. Research at CIRA and the National Hurricane Center has been investigating the impact on rapid tropical cyclone intensification based on whether the lightning densities are greatest in the inner core or outer rain bands. There is a great deal of interest in observing the relationship between tropical cyclone development/intensity and total lightning, which will be available once GLM is launched and can be compared to the work ongoing with the GLD360.
The Transition of SPoRT Satellite Products to AWIPS II
With the transition of several partner WFOs to AWIPS II, SPoRT has taken advantage of a baselined plug-in within AWIPS II called Regionalsat to continue the distribution of SPoRT-sponsored products. The benefits of utilizing this baselined plug-in includes its availability throughout the NWS, support by the NWS AWIPS II development contractor, and no need for a test authorization, which is needed for offices to use third-party plug-ins. The Regionalsat plug-in is able to ingest legacy AWIPS I files with only slight modifications required to the data format. These changes are transparent to AWIPS I, allowing SPoRT to deliver the same data files to both AWIPS I and AWIPS II. This avoids the need for two separate datasets flowing through the SPoRT LDM feed - the same files work on both old and new decision support systems.
Image of the Day
(click to enlarge)
This land surface temperature was produced by a nighttime MODIS overpass. The black areas over land indicate cloud cover. The Mississippi River can be seen clearly in the western portion of the image.
Ingest and Product Status Pages
Though we're not 24/7, SPoRT strives to provide the most timely and reliable data products to its partners and end users. A system has been developed to monitor the health of our real-time data ingest and availability of LDM and FTP products. Summaries are posted every 10 minutes to the links below.