Evaluation of Multiple Spectral Bands and RGB Imagery for the GOES-R Era by NWS Forecasters with Color Vision Deficiencies
Katie Vigil, OU CIMMS/NWS OPG, Kansas City, MO
Kim Runk, NWS OPG
Chad Gravelle, UW CIMSS/NWS OPG
Derrick Snyder, OU CIMMS/NWS OPG

Around 8% of men and 0.5% of women that are of Caucasian ethnicity experience some degree of color vision deficiency (AOA 2017). Among National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters, this condition poses real challenges when attempting to analyze and interpret multi-colored displays of weather data and imagery. With the successful launch of GOES-16, NWS forecasters now have imagery from 16 different spectral bands available to them in near real time. In order to simplify interpretation of particular phenomena, it is common to merge multiple spectral bands of satellite imagery into a single, integrated display, using recipes which have been tested and proven useful for such purposes. The introduction of these complex Red-Green-Blue (RGB) composites into operations will clearly present difficulties for forecasters with certain color vision deficiencies.

In April of 2017, NWS forecasters with diagnosed color vision deficiencies were invited to the NWS Operations Proving Ground (OPG) to provide feedback on the use of multiple spectral bands and RGB imagery in the forecast process. Using imagery from Japanese Meteorological Agency’s Advanced Himawari-8 Imager (AHI), as well as live data from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), participating forecasters evaluated imagery with and without the aid of color vision enhancing technologies. Some of the new technologies employed during this evaluation included EnChroma Color Blindness Glasses and Pupil Mobile Eye Tracking Platform.

This presentation will discuss the process of assessing participating forecasters’ ability to understand and interpret multiple spectral bands and RGB imagery for various diagnostic tasks. We will also reveal findings regarding the impact of color vision enhancing technology toward improving their ability to discern features embedded in RGB composite imagery.


American Optometric Association, cited 2017: Color Vision Deficiency. [Available online at http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/color-deficiency?sso=y]