Investigating the Usefulness of GOES-16 Imagery for Decision Making with Sea Breeze Convection in the Southeastern United States (62)

Cynthia Elsenheimer, NOAA/NWS Forecast Office Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville, FL

Peter Wolf, NOAA/NWS Forecast Office Jacksonville, FL

Chad Gravelle, NOAA/NWS Operations Proving Ground




The latest applied meteorological research using high-resolution datasets for the convective warning process, such as the applicability of using Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-16 imagery, is almost entirely focused on severe convection. Identifiable features in GOES imagery such as lower tropospheric boundaries, orphan anvils, inflow feeder clouds, rapid cloud-top cooling, overshooting tops, and above anvil cirrus plumes can signal National Weather Service (NWS) warning forecasters to the development and evolution of severe convection. While weakly-forced sea breeze or lake breeze convection does not primarily produce organized severe thunderstorms, a considerable threat to public safety still exists because commercial and recreational outdoor activities are commonly impacted by thunderstorms. In addition, short-term forecasts of the development and evolution of sea breeze convection is challenging for NWS forecasters because damaging wind gusts commonly occur in non-severe environments. By integrating GOES-16 imagery into the forecaster workflow to anticipate areas favorable for convective initiation and the evolution of strong convection, it is hypothesized that the situational awareness the forecaster gains can overcome high-impact low-probability events on a given day. Therefore, using weakly-forced sea breeze convective cases from the 2017 and 2018 warm seasons, this applied research and presentation has two primary objectives. First, by observing the four-dimensional structure of the sea breeze front using the spectral, spatial, and temporal improvements of GOES-16, demonstrate how the imagery allows forecasters to enhance situational awareness to anticipate short-term changes in convective development and evolution. Second, show how the enhanced situational awareness gained by incorporating GOES-16 imagery into convective decision making can allow for the anticipatory communication of threats to NWS core partners during sub-severe, but still significant, thunderstorms.