22 February 2008
A new multispectral Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imager product has been developed to assess downburst potential over the western United States employing brightness temperature differences (BTD) between band 3 (upper level water vapor), band 4 (longwave infrared window), and split window band 5. Band 3 is intended to indicate mid to upper-level moisture content and advection while band 5 indicates low-level moisture content. Large BTDs between bands 3 and 5 imply a large relative humidity gradient between the mid-troposphere and the surface, a condition favorable for strong convective downdraft generation due to evaporational cooling of precipitation in the deep sub-cloud layer. In addition, small BTDs between bands 4 and 5 indicate a relatively dry surface layer with solar heating in progress. This paper will outline the development of the GOES-West imager microburst product and present case studies that feature example images, outline potential operational use and assess performance of the algorithm.