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Comparison between observed and synthetic 6.5 and 10.7 μm GOES-12 imagery of thunderstorms that occurred on 8 May 2003

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Over the past few years, a numerical system to produce synthetic satellite images has been developed at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. This is being done to better understand imagery from current and future sensors. This system consists of a mesoscale model and an observational operator. Synthetic imagery of a boundary layer capped stratus cloud and an idealized thunderstorm have been produced by past investigators. In this publication, this system was applied to a thunderstorm event that occurred over the central plains of the USA on 8 May 2003. The main purpose of this study is to extend previous research by comparing observed and synthetic GOES-12 imagery of thunderstorms from an observed event. Synthetic 6.5 and 10.7 μm GOES-12 satellite imagery was produced and compared to actual 6.5 and 10.7 μm GOES-12 imagery from 8 May 2003. Multiple two-way interactive nested grids and two-moment microphysics were employed in this study. Various statistics were used to compare synthetic satellite imagery with observed satellite imagery. Results show that the synthetic imagery was reasonably similar to observed imagery. An approximate 2% cold bias, though, was evident in the synthetic imagery associated with the tops of the simulated thunderstorms. When the calculation of brightness temperatures was done a second time, the number of vertical levels was increased an order of magnitude: the 2% cold bias remained. This led to the conclusion that the bias was related to simulated thunderstorms that were more intense than observed thunderstorms and possibly cooler simulated tropopause temperatures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere/Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA 2: NOAA/NESDIS/ORA/RAMMB, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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