Tropical Cyclone Characterization via Nocturnal Low-Light Visible Illumination

Hawkins, Jeffrey D. ; Solbrig, Jeremy E. ; Miller, Steven D. ; Surratt, Melinda ; Lee, Thomas F. ; Bankert, Richard L. ; Richardson, Kim

Année de publication
Global monitoring of tropical cyclones (TC) is enhanced by the unique capabilities provided by the day-night band (DNB), a sensor included on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) flying on board the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. The DNB, a low-light visible-near-infrared-band passive radiometer, can leverage unconventional (i.e., nonsolar) sources of visible light illumination such as moonlight to infer storm structure at night. The DNB provides an unprecedented capability to resolve moonlit clouds at high resolution, offering numerous potential benefits to both operational TC analysts and researchers developing new methods of monitoring TCs occurring within the largely data-void tropical oceanic basins. DNB digital data provide significant enhancements over older nighttime visible data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) by leveraging accurate calibration, high sensitivity, and sub-kilometer-scale imagery that covers 2-3 times the moon's lunar cycle than the OLS. By leveraging these attributes, DNB data can enable the use of automated objective applications instead of subjective image interpretation. Here, the authors detail ways in which critical information about TC structure, location, intensity changes, shear environment, lightning, and other characteristics can be extracted when the DNB data are used in isolation or in a multichannel approach with coincident infrared (IR) channels.

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