The SPoRT Center produces online surveys for several products in support of SPoRT’s research and transition to operations. Surveys provide a quick and easy method for SPoRT to determine the effectiveness of the products transitioned. SPoRT prides itself on not “throwing data over the fence” by continuing to support our National Weather Service partners even after a product has been transitioned, and the surveys provide a means for interaction between SPoRT researchers and operational meteorologists. Each of the surveys below provides links to the survey itself, a summary of all surveys for a particular product, and the online training modules for the product being surveyed. (view survey results)

Current Assessments – “2 Minute” Feedback Forms

Dust RGB in the GOES-16 Era: Analysis of Blowing Dust Events in U.S. Southwest for Spring 2018

This 2-minute feedback form allows users to provide an assessment of the Dust RGB (originally developed by EUMETSAT) for assisting with the detection and monitoring of blowing dust events in the U.S. Southwest.  This assessment is scheduled for Spring 2018.  The goal of the assessment is to understand the impact of this product now that the GOES-R era is here, after much testing in the Satellite Proving Ground prior to GOES-16 becoming operational.  The U.S. drought monitor has very dry conditions in this region at the time and an active “dust season” is anticipated.  Best practices in operations for use of the RGB will also be captured along with unique examples of its application.

(Click Provide Feedback to access form)






Nighttime Microphysics RGB in the GOES-16 Era: Analysis of Public Travel and Aviation Hazards

This 2-minute feedback form evaluates the Nighttime Microphysics (NtMicro) RGB (originated by D. Rosenfeld). The NtMicro RGB was initially applied via the EUMETSAT MSG/SEVIRI instrument by European Met. Services, then via MODIS and VIIRS over the CONUS and Alaska, and now is available from GOES-16. The goal of this assessment is to understand its impact and for participants to share some application “best practices” of this new geostationary product.  Inland WFO partners are asked to participate during October through November; then, GOES-16 position is to be move eastward.  Near-coastal WFO partners are asked to participate during December through January, but they can provide feedback earlier in the Fall as warranted.

(Click Provide Feedback to access form)







GPM Rain Rate Improvement Impact (Assessment)

NASA GPM V05 assessment aims to determine if recent improvements to the precipitation product suite are operationally significant.  Forecasters will examine swath rain rates, gridded IMERG rain rates and accumulations, and a new gridded experimental operational rain rate product called HQPrecip.

(Click Provide Feedback to access form)






 LIS Soil Moisture for Analysis of Wildfire Threat (Trial)

The NASA SPoRT LIS soil moisture fields will be assessed to determine how best to utilize this product suite operationally for situational awareness primarily in pre-fire threat analysis, and secondarily to anticipate active fire spread.   This trial assessment will take place in Summer 2017.  Collaborators include NWS and Interagency Fire staff with fire weather responsibilities.

(Click Provide Feedback to access form)






Completed Assessments


NUCAPS Soundings and SPoRT Ozone Products

(October, 2016)

The utility of NUCAPS Soundings and SPoRT Ozone Products was evaluated in operations at National Centers, NHC, OPC, and SAB, to diagnose the environment and stratospheric air influence during hurricane tropical to extratropical transition events.  The evaluation took place during August through October 2016 as a partnership between NASA SPoRT and the JPSS Proving Ground.  The evaluation was part of research funded by the JPSS PG/RR Program to assess the utility of NUCAPS Soundings for hurricane tropical to extratropical transition events.


GPM Swath Rain Rates and IMERG Rain Rates

(July – September, 2016)

The GPM Swath rain rates and IMERG rain rates and accumulations were evaluated to determine the utility of this passive microwave-based dataset on forecast operations in primarily data-void regions.  This evaluation took place in the Summer and Fall of 2016.  NWS Forecasters from both Alaska as well as the U.S. Southwest (monsoon impacts) participated.


VIIRS Daytime Microphysics RGB with Alaska WFO for Low Clouds

(June – July, 2016)

The VIIRS Daytime Microphysics (DtMicro) RGB was evaluated with NWS forecasters in Alaska to address the detection of fog and low cloud features that pose a hazard to aviation users.  In addition, published literature points to the DtMicro RGB application to analyze low-level precipitating clouds. This evaluation took place in June and July of 2016.

GPM Rain Rate and IMERG Products for Data-Void Areas of Alaska and U.S. Southwest

As a GPM Early Adopter, SPoRT was able to obtain initial access to swath rain rates
(i.e. 2A-GPROF) and composite, global rain rates (i.e. IMERG) in April 2015 to begin
the process of reformatting the data for use in the NWS AWIPS display. Forecasters
in Alaska and the U.S. Southwest were asked to compare the GPM products to the
NESDIS Quantitative Precipitation Estimate (QPE; previously evaluated in 2013) for
both swath and composite amounts mentioned above. These users typical have
ground-based radar voids in coastal areas, mountain regions, and near international
borders. The smaller latency of the swath rain rate made it useful in WFO
operations, in addition to RFC applications. The GPM Level-3 IMERG RR product proved
useful for post-event weather and hydrologic applications according to user

view the report –>

(June – August, 2015)

Impact of the 24-hour Microphysics RGB Imagery for Alaska Aviation Forecasts of Low Clouds during Summer 2015

(June – August, 2015)

An assessment was conducted from June 15 to August 7 by NASA/SPoRT in collaboration with operational forecasters in Alaska WFOs regarding the use of multi-spectral (i.e. RGB) imagery from VIIRS (NPP) and MODIS (Aqua & Terra) as a proxy to future JPSS and GOES satellite missions for the purpose of improving analysis of low ceiling and visibility hazards to aviation users for use in nowcasts/forecasts (i.e. TAFs). The 24-hr Microphysics RGB is very similar to the Nighttime Microphysics RGB except the green component uses the 11-8.7 μm channel difference vs the 11-3.9 μm channel difference and therefore, the 24-hr Microphysics can be used at all times of day. User feedback, application examples and recommendations are presented.

view the report —> 

GOES-R CI Proxy for Aviation: Trial Period 2015

(June – July, 2015)

NASA-SPoRT conducted a trial evaluation of the operational utility of the GOES-R Convective Initiation proxy product (GOES-R CI) at specific NWS weather forecast offices (WFOs) and Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) during June and July of 2015. The GOES-R CI product can be used as a proxy to the future capabilities from GOES-R which will have improved spatial and temporal resolution that are anticipated to benefit the GOES-R CI performance. In this evaluation, the NWS WFOs and CWSUs evaluated the impact of the GOES-R CI proxy product to provide situational awareness for aviation support during the summer season of difficult-to-predict “pop-up” convection near airports and along flight paths. The report contains user examples and recommendations.

view the report —> 


(August – October, 2014)

The SPoRT-LIS was assessed by the NWS forecast offices at Huntsville, Houston, and Raleigh to determine its utility for drought monitoring and assessing areal flooding potential. The final report summarizes the use of the SPoRT-LIS soil moisture output fields during the August to October 2014 assessment period, highlighting how the product was applied during weekly contributions to the U.S. Drought Monitor and used during potential flooding situations.

view the report —>

NESDIS Snowfall Rate Product

(6 January to 15 April, 2014)

This report summarizes the Winter 2014 assessment of a passive microwave snowfall rate (SFR) product developed by NOAA/NESDIS/STAR. NWS forecasters provided feedback via online surveys or blog posts after viewing these data in their native display system for relevant snowfall events. Traditionally, radar and satellite visible and IR imagery has been used to detect snowfall, but the SFR product allows for detection of snow in cases when radar coverage is limited or mixed precipitation is present.

view the report —>


VIIRS and MODIS Multi-Spectral Imagery Assessment for Aviation Weather and Cloud Analysis – 2013-14, Fall / Winter

(December 2013 – January 2014)

This report describes the 2013/14 assessment of multi-spectral imagery produced by the NASA Short-term Predication, Research, and Transition (SPoRT) Program from the MODIS and VIIRS polar-orbiting instruments for application by its Weather Forecast Office (WFO) collaborators within the NWS Southern and Eastern Regions.  GOES 11-3.9μ difference imagery has traditionally been used to analyze and track low clouds and fog at night to support the preparation and amendment of TAFs. The DNB and Nighttime Microphysics (NtMicro) RGB products provide additional information within a single image to increase the forecaster’s awareness of cloud characteristics that apply to aviation hazards. In particular, the NtMicro RGB contains additional channels in order to help differentiate low clouds from fog which is not readily apparent using the traditional 11-3.9μ imagery.
view the report –>

VIIRS and MODIS Multi-Spectral Imagery Assessment for Aviation Weather and Cloud Analysis at High Latitude – Winter 2013-14

(September – October 2013 for northwest CONUS, December 2013 to February 2014 for Alaska)

This report describes the 2013/14 assessment of multi-spectral, false color composites produced by the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center, similar to other products developed previously by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The assessment was conducted with users at high latitudes (N. CONUS, and Alaska) and sought to determine the value added to the short-term forecast of ceiling and visibility, particularly as they apply to TAFs issued by high-latitude WFOs. In addition, the assessment exposed forecasters to the application of complex multi-spectral imagery (i.e. RGB composite), and hence, the future paradigm of satellite imagery that will become available in the JPSS and GOES-R eras.
read more –>
view the report –>

GOES-R Convective Initiation Product

)September 1 to October 31, 2013)

GOES-R Convective Initiation (CI), developed by UAH, is a satellite-based nowcasting (0-2hr) product that fuses geostationary satellite data and numerical weather prediction model output to produce a probability of CI, where CI is defined as a 35+ dbz radar echo. It can provide leadtime ahead of ground-based radar and can provide insight into the environment by indicating trends in cloud growth. Cloud objects are first identified by type, and growing cumulus clouds are tracked over consecutive satellite scans.

GOES-R Convective Initiation Product Assessment

This assessment report describes the GOES-R CI assessment that took place from September 1 to October 31, 2013 among the Albuquerque, Corpus Christi, Huntsville, and Miami WFOs. The CI product is a proxy to the future capabilities of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on GOES-R. The previous version used a “Strength of Signal” styled product based on satellite-only indicators and temporal trends. The new version utilizes numerical weather prediction data to characterize the convective environment and it continues to utilize current GOES infrared channels to measure cloud growth rates, cloud depths, and cloud ice or water path to produce a probabilistic value of CI. The purpose of this assessment is to better understand the value of the additional model data and the change to a probabilistic-based product to the product utility, and to evaluate the use of GOES-West data within the current version of the algorithm for the first time in operations.

GOES-R CI real-time data (East | West)

NESDIS GOES-R QPE and CIRA LPW Products in Alaska andPuerto Rico to Estimate Precipitation in Data-Void Regions

(July – September 2013)

This assessment was administered by NASA-SPoRT in collaboration with GOES-R Proving Ground activities and as part of the ROSES 2010 funded collaboration with CIRA/CSU. The period of performance coincides with the primary convective seasons in Alaska and Puerto Rico. During this assessment, 77 evaluations were submitted by 17 different forecasters in the five offices: 3 Alaska WFOs, the Alaska/Pacific RFC, and the San Juan WFO. Both Alaska and Puerto Rico have large regions without radar or surface observations of precipitation where they need to estimate impacts to private and commercial interests related to atmospheric and hydrological nowcasts/forecasts. Many forecasters used language in their descriptions stating that they were becoming accustomed to the QPE bias and continuing to find utility in the product,  particularly in SJU. Although the feedback was not exclusively positive, users in both regions often described the benefits of the CIRA LPW product to their forecast with positive language, stating that it was usually accurate and provided value in atmospheric river events, tropical waves, examining the Saharan air layer, and examining the depth of available moisture in other events.

view the report –>

The VIIRS Front Range Nighttime Assessment Report

(July – August 2013)

This report summarizes the assessment of a suite of Suomi-National Polar-orbit Partnership (S-NPP) Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) products to address the detection of dust, smoke, clouds, and other obstructions to visibility at night. The assessment included the participation of four National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) spanning three NWS regions along the Rocky Mountain Front Range. The timeframe for the assessment was selected to correspond to the participating WFOs’ fire weather season to observe smoke plumes as well as other atmospheric features at night.
view the report –>

Aviation and Cloud Analysis using RGB Imagery by Southern Region WFOs

(July – August 2013)

This report summarizes the assessment of a suite of Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) products to address the detection of dust, smoke, clouds, and other obstructions to visibility at night. The assessment was conducted during July and August 2013 and used a combination of single channel and red-green-blue (RGB) composite product VIIRS imagery, which are described in detail in the products description section. The assessment included the participation of four National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) spanning three NWS regions. The offices included Albuquerque, New Mexico (Southern Region), Boulder, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming (Central Region), and Great Falls, Montana (Western Region). Collectively, these four offices are part of the Front Range collaboration.
view the report —> 

NESDIS GOES-R QPE and CIRA LPW Products along West Coast
to Diagnose Large Precipitation Events in Radar/Data-Void Regions

(March – April 2013)

NESDIS GOES-R QPE is a satellite-based quantitative precipitation estimation product that is being designed for the GOES-R era and is an Algorithm Working Group Baseline product. CIRA Layered Precipitable Water is a microwave-based retrieval of water vapor over discrete layers (surface-850 mb, 850-700 mb, and 700-500 mb). These two products are being evaluated for their effectiveness in providing utility to forecasters in high impact precipitation events in data-sparse regions. For this reason, West Coast National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices (NWS-WFOs) of Medford (MFR), Eureka (EKA), and Monterey (MTR) were chosen to assess these products. The months of March and April were identified in order to capture the predominant precipitation and atmospheric river season for the participating offices.
view the report —> 

MODIS False Color Snow Detection Product

(January to March 2008)

SPoRT provides the MODIS False Color composite to our WFO partners where snow cover is a forecast concern. This product combines one visible channel with two shortwave infrared channels to highlight features with infrared signatures. The advantage of this product is that snow is spectrally different from clouds and clear ground at wavelengths greater than 1.4 microns. This difference is enhanced with colors to enhance the locations of snow (red), clouds (white) and clear ground (green).

Great Falls Evaluation 2008

This paper describes the MODIS False Color product in detail, outlines the collaboration that has taken place between WFO Great Falls and SPoRT, and describes how the product is used operationally. An assessment period from January to March 2008 yielded two case examples, presented here. This paper emphasizes the impact the false color product has in the WFO’s hydrologic situational awareness and how this information can be used to influence operational decisions.  In general, the product has show value throughout the forecast process and compliments other data sets and products from agencies such as NOAA/NOHRSC (see associated link to poster).

Great Falls Evaluation 2008 – Poster

Evaluation of the MODIS False Color product culminated in this poster presented at the 2009 AMS annual meeting.  The poster provides an excellent opportunity to quickly communicate the product’s function and impact, and could serve as a quick introductory training piece or a seasonal refresher.  Comparison images show how it improves on standard imagery, and a time series of images is presented for a large snow event and melt during 2004.  Note the center of the poster where a diagram shows how the MODIS False Color product has ties to improve each phase of the forecast process.

MODIS project  |  MODIS real-time data

MODIS Spectral Difference (Fog) Product

Another MODIS product provided by SPoRT to our WFO partners is the Spectral Difference or Thermal Difference product. This is more commonly referred to as the MODIS Fog product. This product takes advantage of the lower thermal emissivity of water clouds (3.9 micron) versus land surfaces (11 microns). This difference, calculated during the pre-dawn hours is compared to a threshold value to highlight regions of fog (yellow) versus high clouds (blue). Care must be taken as this is valid only at night and multi-layered stratus clouds may give a false indication of fog, when fog is not present.

Albuquerque MODIS Evaluation (Jan. 2009)

The Albuquerque, NM WFO is not the “fog” capital of the U.S., but this case example is an excellent example of how NASA polar-orbiting satellite data can help enhance the use of geostationary imagery.  The MODIS spectral difference product (i.e. Fog/Low Cloud product) at 1km resolution can detect fog in narrow valleys or during events of thin fog where GOES is sometimes limited.  The use of the MODIS Fog product by forecasters is demonstrated here with several comparison images as well as TAF and observational data..

Total Lightning Products

The North Alabama Lightning Mapping array (NALMA) data are provided by SPoRT to four of our partner WFOs. These include Morristown and Nashville, Tennessee as well as Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. Additionally, The Sterling, Virginia office receives data from the Washington D.C. network (DCLMA). These networks provide information on total lightning, that is both intra-cloud and cloud-to-ground observations. This ability to observe the intra-cloud component has been used by SPoRT’s WFO partners to enhance their situational awareness as well as their warning decision support operations.

Operational NALMA Uses with WFO Huntsville

This is the paper presented at the 2009 AMS Conference in Phoenix, AZ. This paper serves as the basis for an upcoming BAMS Maproom article. This overview discusses how the NALMA data have been used to support both situational awareness and the warning decision support process for the NWS Huntsville office. Three cases discussed range from the “Super Tuesday” outbreak that resulted in two EF-4s in the Huntsville county warning area (6 Feb 2008), a large hail event on 2 Aug 2008, as well as a squall line event where the NALMA were used to highlight the locations where cloud-to- ground lightning activity may begin (31 May 2004). Additionally, SPoRT’s role in training and assessments are discussed and the future role of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper.