Near Real Time MISR Wind Observations for Numerical Weather Prediction
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) project, in association with the NASA Langley Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC), has this year adapted its original production software to generate near-real time (NRT) cloud-motion winds as well as radiance imagery from all nine MISR cameras. These products are made publicly available at the ASDC with a latency of less than 3 hours. Launched aboard the sun-synchronous Terra platform in 1999, the MISR instrument continues to acquire near-global, 275 m resolution, multi-angle imagery. During a single 7 minute overpass of any given area, MISR retrieves the stereoscopic height and horizontal motion of clouds from the multi-angle data, yielding meso-scale near-instantaneous wind vectors. The ongoing 15-year record of MISR height-resolved winds at 17.6 km resolution has been validated against independent data sources. Low-level winds dominate the sampling, and agree to within ±3 ms-1 of collocated GOES and other observations. Low-level wind observations are of particular interest to weather forecasting, where there is a dearth of observations suitable for assimilation, in part due to reliability concerns associated with winds whose heights are assigned by the infrared brightness temperature technique. MISR cloud heights, on the other hand, are generated from stereophotogrammetric pattern matching of visible radiances. MISR winds also address data gaps in the latitude bands between geostationary satellite coverage and polar orbiting instruments that obtain winds from multiple overpasses (e.g. MODIS). Observational impact studies conducted by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and by the German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst) have both demonstrated forecast improvements when assimilating MISR winds. An impact assessment using the GEOS-5 system is currently in progress. To benefit air quality forecasts, the MISR project is currently investigating the feasibility of generating near-real time aerosol products.