GOES-16 Observations of Blowing Snow in Horizontal Convective Rolls on 24 February 2019
Monthly Weather Review
On 24 February 2019, strong winds behind an Arctic cold front led to widespread blowing snow across the northern Great Plains including areas in eastern North/South Dakota and western Minnesota. Impacts of the event ranged from blizzard conditions in northwest Minnesota to sporadic, minor reductions in visibility across the region. This study documents the event using remotely sensed observations from platforms including geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, an S-band radar, and time-lapse images from a camera located at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Blowing snow is observed as plumes that resemble horizontal convective rolls (HCRs). Variations in near-infrared imagery are documented, and supporting observations suggest this is due to the occurrence or absence of clouds on top of the blowing snow layer. While lack of in situ observations preclude further investigation of physical differences between plumes, the utility of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-16 (GOES-16) satellite to operational forecasters is discussed. Improvements to spatial, radiometric, and temporal resolution courtesy of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on board GOES-16 allows for daytime detection of blowing snow events that previously, was only possible with instruments on board polar-orbiting satellites. This has improved Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS) at National Weather Service offices that deal with the hazard of blowing snow.
Aaron Kennedy and Carl Jones. "GOES-16 Observations of Blowing Snow in Horizontal Convective Rolls on 24 February 2019" (2020). Atmospheric Sciences Faculty Publications. 16.