NOAA KLM User's Guide

Section 9.6

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9.6 Snow and Ice Products


The following sections describe the newest operational products using a variety of sensors flown on NOAA’s satellites. Many of the products are created by integrating data from several sensors, which creates instrument/spectrum-independent, parameter-independent, and platform-independent timely products to help meteorologists and climatologists monitor and forecast changes in surface and atmospheric conditions.

NESDIS has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage. Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting. NESDIS has been creating maps showing the extent of snow and ice cover for the Northern Hemisphere since 1966. The snow and ice maps were produced weekly at a spatial resolution of 190 km from 1966 to 1999. The Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) replaced the weekly mapping process in June 1999 and improved the snow and ice map by producing daily maps at 23 km resolution, using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the creation of a daily 4 km (6144x6144) chart. These charts can be ordered from the National Climatic Data Center.

The Microwave Surface and Precipitation Products System (MSPPS) produced near real-time operational surface and precipitation products from the AMSU-A, AMSU-B and MHS instruments aboard NOAA and METOP satellites. The operational products included Antenna Temperatures, Total Precipitable Water, Cloud Liquid Water, Sea Ice Concentration, Land Surface Temperature, Land Surface Emissivity at 23.8, 31.4 and 50.3 GHz, Snow Cover, Rain Rate, Snow Water Equivalent and Ice-Water Path. Both Level-II (orbital) and Level-III (grid) products are available. The MSPPS grid products include Snow Cover, Rain Rate and Snow-Water Equivalent from AMSU-B/MHS and Sea Ice Concentration from AMSU-A. These level 3 geophysical products are mapped with the 1/16th-mesh Polar Stereographic projection and updated daily. They are available in HDF-EOS format for the period from 1998 to 2007 in CLASS.

The MSPPS was replaced by the Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MIRS) in August 2007. The MIRS has an end to end capability of calibrating and characterizing the radiances measured from satellite-based microwave instruments, and retrieving the environmental data records with state-of-the-art algorithm science. It is a one-stop resource for microwave-derived products from various polar-orbiting satellite instrument configurations The MIRS strength is derived from being instrument/spectrum-independent, parameter-independent, and platform-independent.

Amended December 28, 2000

Amended October 1, 2007

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