Virtual Alaska Weather Symposia

  1. Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 11:00 AM AKDT
    Speaking: Rodney Viereck, Head of Research, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

    Space weather refers to the conditions in the space environment that impact systems and technologies both in space and on the ground. The relevant regions of the space environment start at the sun, transits the interplanetary space, encompasses Earth’s protective magnetosphere, and extend down through the ionosphere to the surface of Earth. Much like terrestrial weather, space weather storms come in many forms including solar flares, energetic protons and electrons, and geomagnetic storms. Each type of space weather storm occurs on different time scales and impacts different types of technologies.

    In this presentation, Dr. Viereck will provide an overview of space weather, the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, and customers who use our products and services. He will describe the methods and techniques that forecasters use to predict space weather as well as some of the development activities that are underway to improve existing models and add new models to the suite of tools currently available to the forecasters. This presentation will conclude with an overview of the space weather process that create the aurora.

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  2. Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM AKDT
    Speaking: Steve Miller, Colorado State University
    The Alaska Region achieves a unique resonance of natural hazards spanning the surface to the top of the troposphere and civilian/multi-agency activities impacted directly by them. The remote and data sparse expanses of this region elevate the value to forecasters of satellite-based remote sensing, and take best advantage of polar-orbiting assets in a way that the mid- to low-latitude users cannot.

    Over the past decade we have entered a new era of capabilities at the high latitudes thanks to advances on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) new-generation satellite programs. The introduction of the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1, or NOAA-20) satellites, and their Visible/Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/Night Band (DNB) sensors, have begun to ‘shed light’ on the extended nights of the cool seasons in novel and useful ways. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) promises to far surpass the capabilities of previous GOES imager for Alaska coverage once GOES-17 migrates to the GOES-W position (137 W) this Fall. Together, these new polar -and geo-satellites pack a formidable one-two punch in terms of providing coverage and capability for this key domain of increasing strategic importance, commercial activity, and attendant infrastructure/population growth.

    The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), established at Colorado State University in 1980, works closely with NOAA to develop algorithms and applications based on its cadre of environmental satellites. Here, we present some of these applications, including the science behind them, with an eye toward their relevance to the Alaska Region. Examples include VIIRS/DNB nighttime applications, estimates of cloud geometric thickness for aviation and cold air aloft, atmospheric moisture retrievals, and products that anticipate GOES-17 ABI utility over all parts of Alaska and surroundings. Some of these products are currently being fielded to Alaskan users via coordination with the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

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  3. Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM AKDT
    Speaking: Christopher Grassotti, NESDIS STAR/SMCD
    The Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MiRS) is the official NOAA operational microwave-only retrieval system. It was first introduced into operations in 2007 and currently processes data from NOAA-18, -19, MetopA, MetopB, DMSP F-17, F-18, GPM, Megha-Tropiques, Suomi-NPP, and the recently-launched NOAA-20 satellite. The retrieval algorithm is based on a 1-dimensional variational approach in which the fundamental physical attributes affecting the microwave observations are retrieved physically, including the profile of temperature, water vapor, hydrometeors, as well as surface emissivity and temperature. Further post-processing of the core retrieved variables allows for production of derived products such as surface precipitation rate, sea ice concentration and age, and snow water equivalent. Due to its use of microwave data only, MiRS has the capability of operating in "all weather" conditions. Additionally, the processing of data from multiple polar orbiting satellite platforms leads to higher effective temporal and spatial coverage that increases with latitude. The presentation will cover the background of the MiRS retrieval approach, and then move on to discussion of retrieval products, user applications, and recent work aimed at scientific improvements. Where possible, examples will be chosen that are relevant to users in high-latitude regions such as Alaska.

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  4. Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM AKDT
    Speaking: Michael J. Pavolonis, (NOAA/NESDIS) NOAA Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Michael J. Pavolonis, NOAA
    Volcanic clouds, which are a major aviation hazard, are complex and the background environment in which they reside is often complicated as well. Much of the complexity is due to the multi-composition nature of volcanic clouds, which frequently consist of some combination of volcanic ash, volcanic gases, and hydrometeors. Thus, volcanic cloud remote sensing is very challenging. “Next generation” geostationary meteorological satellites, such as GOES-17, have many more spectral channels, improved spatial resolution, and provide far more frequent images compared to heritage geostationary satellites. The more advanced spectral, spatial, and temporal capabilities of next generation geostationary satellites allow for much improved qualitative and quantitative volcanic cloud remote sensing. The additional spectral channels help to distinguish between volcanic ash and other features and improve the accuracy of ash cloud property retrievals. Spectral channels that are sensitive to volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) are also available. The improvement in spatial resolution and the dramatic increase in image frequency results in earlier detection of volcanic emissions and for more robust long term tracking of volcanic clouds. While no single satellite sensor is ideal for detecting and characterizing all volcanic clouds at all times, it will be shown that improved spectral, spatial, and temporal attributes of next generation satellites have a significant positive impact on volcanic cloud identification, tracking, and characterization. The full potential of the next generation geostationary satellites, however, will only be realized if automation is used to supplement manual interrogation of imagery, as daily data volumes are about 100 times greater than the previous generation of satellites.

    In an effort to fully utilize next generation geostationary measurements for real-time volcanic cloud applications, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, has developed the Volcanic Cloud Analysis Toolkit (VOLCAT). VOLCAT utilizes many different satellite sensors generate alerts when volcanic unrest or an eruption is detected. VOLCAT also automatically tracks and characterizes volcanic clouds. Through advanced use of spectral, spatial, and temporal information, the VOLCAT algorithms are capable of automatically detecting a broad range of volcanic clouds, including opaque multi-component (ash, ice, and SO2) clouds. Several examples are used to illustrate the value of VOLCAT and next generation satellites, with an emphasis on volcanic activity in the North Pacific.

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  5. Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 11:00 AM AKDT
    Speaking: Jordan Gerth, University of Wisconsin at Madison
    Following a successful launch, the second new-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-S, became GOES-17 and is currently in the test position of 89.5 degrees West longitude. This fall, the satellite will begin drifting to its new position at 137 degrees West longitude, where it will begin imaging as the operational GOES-West satellite this November. GOES-West will dramatically improve weather satellite imaging of Alaska, with four times more detail compared to previous generation geostationary weather satellites, even on the North Slope. This will enhance scientific studies and operational weather monitoring of Alaska for nearly a decade to come. This presentation will discuss the value of GOES-17, particularly the unique aspects and challenges for high latitudes.

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Virtual Alaska Weather Symposia

IARC Group Plus

This partnership between the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) and the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) brings cutting edge satellite based presentations to a broad audience and complements GINA’s and NWS’s deep pool of speakers and topics.

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