The most important resource of this page is the Document on Recent Concepts and Practices, lead authored by John Mecikalski. It describes the “best practices” in diagnosing and monitoring convective storms using satellite remote sensing. It has an emphasis on the use of geostationary satellites, specifically Meteosat Second Generation. This document is a dynamic resource that may change as new applications and insights are developed. Visitors are encouraged to read through this document and append their information/thoughts.

Furthermore, on this page, you can find reference documents ordered in four categories, three of them corresponding with a particular phase in the development of convective systems, and the last one dealing with visualization tools for monitoring and nowcasting storms:

Another important resource provided here is a chart describing the elements of an end-to-end convection nowcast system (ppt file, 80 Mb). All are also encouraged to scrutinize it and share views.

1. Preconvective environment

  • The Global Instability Index (GII) product is one of the MSG meteorological products and describes the instability of the clear atmosphere by a number of airmass parameters. The instability indices often indicate the potential for convection a few hours prior to the actual onset of convection.
  • The Combined Instability Index [pdf] (CII) is a new very-short range convection forecasting technique for southern Africa.

2. Convective Initiation

  • The Convective Initiation (CI) product identifies cumulus-type clouds within an MSG image and uses the temporal evolution of the related MSG observations to identify rapidly growing cumulus as likely candidates to evolve into potentially strong convective storms up to one hour in the future.
  • Another CI nowcasting method is described in a recently accepted J. Appl. Meteor. and Climatol. article [pdf] by Sieglaff et al (2010). This method known as the University of Wisconsin Convective Initiation (UWCI) nowcasting algorithm.
  • Akira Sobajima (JMA) has provided the following report on the Theoretical Basis for the Rapidly Developing Cumulus Areas Derivation Algorithm [pdf] in use at JMA.

3. Mature Phase

  • Satellite based insights into precipitation formation process in Continental and Maritime Convective Clouds is the title of an article [pdf] by Daniel Rosenfeld and Itamar Lensky of the Hebrew University of Jeruzalem.
  • A domelike protrusion above a cumulonimbus anvil, representing the intrusion of an updraft through its equilibrium level, or short “Overshooting Tops” is the subject of an article by Kris Bedka et al. in which MODIS, AVHRR and MSG imagery are used for detection in order to prepare for the upcoming GOES-R satellite.
  • A recently accepted article [pdf] by Bedka (2010) demonstrates an objective overshooting top (OT) detection method using the MSG SERVIRI Imager and  presents an OT database over Europe and north Africa, and determines their association with ESWD severe weather reports, showing that a strong relation exists.
  • Davide Melfi has provided the following description of NEFODINA, an algorithm to assess the presence of thunderstorms and their intensity using only geostationary satellite data. It provides information on convective nuclei inside cloudy systems using a multichannel approach.

4. Tools and visualisation techniques

  • McIDAS-V [www] is a free, open source, visualization and data analysis software package that is the fifth generation in SSEC’s 35+ year history of sophisticated McIDAS (Man computer Interactive Data Access System) software packages.
  • MSGView [pdf] is a software package to process MSG SEVIRI data that runs on MS Windows platforms and uses HDF5 data format. For download and use of the software please refer to the author of MSGView, Aydin Ertürk.
  • A comparison of Processing and Visualisation MSG Software [doc file] was developed within the EUMETSAT DAWBEE project.
  • The IR Cold Cloud Tops product by Ján Kanák.
  • The sandwich product developed by Martin Setvak, Lukáš Ronge and Ján Kanák combines information of the HRV overshooting tops with the the enhanced IR10.8.
  • A discussion of color enhancements of satellite imagery by Martin Setvak and Dan Lindsey.
  • Tables to help you make parallax corrections are available for you to download. Background information on parallax is and on the structure is given in a webcast by Martin Setvak (CHMI).