Oceanic/Remote Weather

Developing Short-Term Forecast Products of Convective Storms Over Oceanic Regions
Oceanic/Remote Weather

Oceanic/Remote Weather

Remote, oceanic regions have severely limited data availability and, therefore, have few, if any, high resolution weather products that indicate current or future locations of convection.


Convective hazards impact the safety, efficiency and economic viability of oceanic aircraft operations by producing turbulence, icing and lightning, and by necessitating aircraft rerouting while inflight, leading to higher fuel costs and delays.

To improve convective products for the oceanic aviation community, the Oceanic Convection Diagnosis and Nowcasting project is focused on developing short–term detection and forecast products of convective storms over oceanic regions. Resulting products focus on the needs of pilots, dispatchers, air traffic managers and forecasters within the oceanic aviation community.

Two products are of particular value to transoceanic aviation:

  1. Cloud Top Height (CTH)

  2. Convective Diagnosis Oceanic (CDO)

The CTH is computed using data from geostationary satellites and global numerical model results and depicts the flight altitude of the cloud tops. The CDO is computed using a weighted combination of several inputs derived from satellite-based detection algorithms and global lightning strikes and detects the regions of convective hazards. The CTH and the CDO are used together to fully characterize cloud structure and intensity. Predictions of convection location and intensity are realized by a combination of previous storm history and model steering flow. 

Search through all publications in NCAR's OpenSky Library.

Bedka, K., J. Brunner, R. Dworak, W. Feltz, J. Otkin, T. Greenwald, 2010: Objective satellite-based detection of overshooting tops using infrared window channel brightness temperature gradients, J.  Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 49 (2), 181-202. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2009JAMC2286.1

Donovan, M.F., E.R. Williams, C.J. Kessinger, G.E. Blackburn, P.H. Herzegh, R.L. Bankert, S.D. Miller, and F.R. Mosher, 2008: The identification and verification of hazardous convective cells over oceans using visible and infrared satellite observations. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 47, 164-184, DOI: 10.1175/2007JAMC1471.1.

Donovan, M.F., E.R. Williams, C.J. Kessinger, N.A. Rehak, H. Cai, D.L. Megenhardt, R.L. Bankert, and J.D. Hawkins, 2009: An evaluation of a convection diagnosis algorithm over the Gulf of Mexico using NASA TRMM observations. 16th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography/Fifth Annual Symposium on Future Operational Environmental Satellite Systems- NPOESS and GOES-R, Phoenix, AZ, American Meteorological Society.

Kessinger, C.J., M. Donovan, R. Bankert, E. Williams, J. Hawkins, H. Cai, N.A. Rehak, D.L. Megenhardt, and M. Steiner, 2008: Convection diagnosis and nowcasting for oceanic aviation applications. Remote Sensing Applications for Aviation Weather Hazard Detection and Decision Support, Proceedings of SPIE, W.F. Feltz, and J.J. Murray, Eds., San Diego, CA, 7088, 12 pp, DOI: 10.1117/12.795495.

Lindholm, T., C. Kessinger, G.  Blackburn, and A. Gaydos, 2013: Weather Technology in the Cockpit: Transoceanic human-over-the-loop demonstration, The Journal of Air Traffic Control, Q1 2013, Volume 55, No. 1., 18-21.

Miller, S., T. Tsui, G. Blackburn, C. Kessinger and P. Herzegh, 2005: Technical description of the Cloud Top Height Product (CTH), the first component of the Convective Diagnosis Oceanic (CDO) Product. Submitted to the FAA AWTT Board for D3 approval, 11 March 2005, 30 pp.

Mosher, F., 2002: Detection of deep convection around the globe. Preprints, 10th Conf. on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, Portland, OR, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 289–292.

Oceanic/Remote Weather