Bedka, K, Brunner, J, Dworak, R, Feltz, W, Otkin, J, Greenwald, T (2010). Objective Satellite-Based Detection of Overshooting Tops Using Infrared Window Channel Brightness Temperature Gradients. JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY, 49(2), 181-202.
Deep convective storms with overshooting tops (OTs) are capable of producing hazardous weather conditions such as aviation turbulence, frequent lightning, heavy rainfall, large hail, damaging wind, and tornadoes. This paper presents a new objective infrared-only satellite OT detection method called infrared window (IRW)-texture. This method uses a combination of 1) infrared window channel brightness temperature (BT) gradients, 2) an NWP tropopause temperature forecast, and 3) OT size and BT criteria defined through analysis of 450 thunderstorm events within 1-km Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) imagery. Qualitative validation of the IRW-texture and the well-documented water vapor (WV) minus IRW BT difference (BTD) technique is performed using visible channel imagery, CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar, and/or Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) cloud-top height for selected cases. Quantitative validation of these two techniques is obtained though comparison with OT detections from synthetic satellite imagery derived from a cloud-resolving NWP simulation. The results show that the IRW-texture method false-alarm rate ranges from 4.2% to 38.8%, depending upon the magnitude of the overshooting and algorithm quality control settings. The results also show that this method offers a significant improvement over the WV-IRW BTD technique. A 5-yr Geosynchronous Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12 OT climatology shows that OTs occur frequently over the Gulf Stream and Great Plains during the nighttime hours, which underscores the importance of using a day/night infrared-only detection algorithm. GOES-12 OT detections are compared with objective Eddy Dissipation Rate Turbulence and National Lightning Detection Network observations to show the strong relationship among OTs, aviation turbulence, and cloud-to-ground lightning activity.