Developing a joint GOES-16 and NEXRAD tool focused on enhancing lake effect snow nowcasting to improve situational awareness in radar restricted locations
David Beachler, NOAA/NWS Marquette, MI, Marquette, MI
Mark Kulie, CIMSS/Univ of Wisconsin/Michigan Tech Univ
Claire Pettersen, CIMSS/Univ of Wisconsin

Lake effect snow formation and maintenance mechanisms are well documented; although, short-term forecasting of lake effect snow remains a challenge owing to the extremely variable mesoscale structure of these events. Modern Numerical Weather Prediction also struggles both temporally and spatially with representing the evolution of lake effect snow events. With these known predictive challenges, operational forecasters rely heavily on the current Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) system to assist with nowcasting lake effect snow and snowfall accumulations through various pre-configured algorithms. Unfortunately the current nowcasting tools are deficient due to the relatively sparse spatial distribution of the NEXRAD network. Many areas prone to lake effect snow are a considerable distance from the nearest NEXRAD; and the lowest radar elevation scan overshoots the shallow convection.

The primary goal of this research will be to improve the NEXRAD-derived snowfall rate estimates using a ground-based snow microphysics observation network. The Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP) will be used to better correlate snowfall rate to radar reflectivity in varying lake effect snow modes. The next phase of research will focus on developing a near real-time satellite-based snowfall rate product linked to the PIP enhanced NEXRAD snowfall rates. The final phase of research will focus on correlating the GOES-16 Geostationary  Lightning Mapper (GLM) with the derived PIP/NEXRAD snowfall rates to investigate lightning production and snowfall rate relationships.

The proposed work builds on an existing relationship between the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) researchers and National Weather Service (NWS) Marquette, Michigan. It also leverages special instrumentation, deployed at NWS Marquette, for lake effect snow research, and related developmental work with NOAA GOES Improved Measurements and Product Assurance Plan funding.