Satellites provide the best means to track the evolution of atmospheric moisture over large regions...

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Satellites provide the best means to track the evolution of atmospheric moisture over large regions. Panel (A) above shows the CIRA analysis of total precipitable water (TPW) in mm on June 25, 2006. Panel (B) shows the percent of weekly normal product, where blue areas are moister than average and brown regions reflect a dry atmosphere. Notice the abnormally moist plume (roughly 50 mm TPW) flowing from near Hispaniola to the Mid-Atlantic states. This moisture provides the fuel for heavy precipitation, and severe flooding occurred in the Washington D. C. region. CIRA combines several satellite microwave sensors (AMSU and SSM/I) onboard polar orbiters with TPW measurements from GOES and GPS to allow forecasters to visualize the flow of atmospheric moisture. Mr. Forsythe has partnered with colleagues Andy Jones and Stan Kidder of CIRA and Sheldon Kusselson of NESDIS/SAB to develop these products and they are currently in transition to National Weather Service operations. This work lays the foundation for future multisensor, multispectral products from the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) spacecraft in the coming years.
 
A near-realtime website displaying the blended TPW and anomaly is updated every six hours at http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/gpstpw.