Multi-Spectral Satellite Imagery and Land Surface Modeling Supporting Dust Detection and Forecasting
Monday, 15 December 2014
Current and future multi-spectral satellite sensors provide numerous means and methods for identifying hazards associated with polluting aerosols and dust. For over a decade, the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville has focused on developing new applications from near real-time data sources in support of the operational weather forecasting community. The SPoRT Center achieves these goals by matching appropriate analysis tools, modeling outputs, and other products to forecast challenges, along with appropriate training and end-user feedback to ensure a successful transition. As a spinoff of these capabilities, the SPoRT Center has recently focused on developing collaborations to address challenges with the public health community, specifically focused on the identification of hazards associated with dust and pollution aerosols. Using multispectral satellite data from the SEVIRI instrument on the Meteosat series, the SPoRT team has leveraged EUMETSAT techniques for identifying dust through false color (RGB) composites, which have been used by the National Hurricane Center and other meteorological centers to identify, monitor, and predict the movement of dust aloft. Similar products have also been developed from the MODIS and VIIRS instruments onboard the Terra and Aqua, and Suomi-NPP satellites, respectively, and transitioned for operational forecasting use by offices within NOAA’s National Weather Service. In addition, the SPoRT Center incorporates satellite-derived vegetation information and land surface modeling to create high-resolution analyses of soil moisture and other land surface conditions relevant to the lofting of wind-blown dust and identification of other, possible public-health vectors. Examples of land surface modeling and relevant predictions are shown in the context of operational decision making by forecast centers with potential future applications to public health arenas.