Use of Environmental Satellite Data Products for Detecting Volcanic Eruptions, Forecasting Tropical Cyclones, and Nowcasting Severe Weather

This virtual short course will provide participants with a working knowledge needed to access and apply satellite data products to forecast/monitor severe weather, volcanic eruptions, and tropical cyclones. The participants will learn how to access satellite data products and apply them following a decision-making process that can help save lives and property.

June 21, 23, 28, and 30, 2022, at 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern Time (Virtual)

Registration close date: Sunday, June 19, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern
Participant cap: 50


Registration rates:

$32 for AMS student members
$64 for AMS members
$204 for non-members

Registration policy:

Refunds will not be issued to attendees within 7 days of the start of a course. Registrations are not transferable or exchangeable.

Course Description:

Session 1: Geostationary Lightning Mapper Observations and Severe Weather Forecasting
Instructors: Scott Rudlosky, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR; Joseph Patton, CISESS/University of Maryland, College Park

Lightning observations from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instruments onboard the GOES-R series satellites provide valuable information on evolving thunderstorm development. Classifying thunderstorms by the spatial extent, brightness, and frequency of their lightning flashes allows operational forecasters to have a better understanding of convective mode and the associated severe weather hazards, such as tornadoes, large hail, and damaging straight-line winds. This course will go through how the GLM collects lightning observations, what those lightning observations indicate about the changing characteristics of the thunderstorms, and how forecasters use that information in their warning decisions. Hands-on activities will be introduced to participants in which they will explore GLM lightning observations in context with other satellite and ground-based observations during different severe weather situations.

Session 2: Leveraging Satellite Imagery and Products on Severe Thunderstorm Days
Instructor: William Line, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR

Advanced imagery and products available from the NOAA GOES-R and JPSS series satellites provide operational forecasters with vital tools for their day-to-day forecasting. On days when severe thunderstorms are possible, satellite information is leveraged from well before the first storm develops through the dissipation of the last storm. This two-hour hands-on course will provide a background on how operational forecasters utilize satellite data, such as single-band imagery, multispectral imagery, and derived products, on severe weather days. The course will include hands-on exercises in which the students will practice applying the various satellite imagery and products during severe weather events.

Session 3: Volcanic Eruptions as seen from Satellite
Instructor: Scott Lindstrom, CIMSS/University of Wisconsin, Madison

Scott Lindstrom will be discussing Satellite detection of volcanic eruptions. Satellites can view most of the different aspects of volcanic eruptions from heat sources to cloud constituents and components to lightning. In addition to showing these different products associated with some notable eruptions, he will also direct a hands-on activity where the students find and explain information about their favorite volcanoes.

Session 4: Use of Satellite Data for Operational Tropical Cyclone Forecasting
Instructors: Galina Chirokova, NWS/NHC/TSB; Derrick Herndon, CIMSS/University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tropical Cyclones (TCs) are rare events that commonly form and spend most of their time in remote areas over the ocean. In situ data, such as aircraft reconnaissance or radar, are usually not available in these remote areas making satellite observations the primary source of information about tropical cyclones existence, location, intensity, and structure. TC observations are important to improve our understanding of TCs and to provide advance watches and warnings for TCs threatening the land. Geostationary (GEO) and low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites are the two primary types of satellites used for TC observations and forecasting. The main advantage of geostationary satellites is their global availability and high temporal and spatial resolution (10 minutes and 0.5 - 2 km on current GEO satellites). LEO satellites have considerably less temporal coverage, however, due to the lower orbit they can carry instruments (i.e. microwave, radar, VIIRS day-night band) that are not available on GEO satellites and provide additional information about TC structure. This short course will present an overview of the satellite platforms and instruments used in operational TC forecasting and will also include a hands-on exercise on using satellite data to forecast TC track and intensity.

Participants will need access to Zoom through either the web or desktop application.


Scott Rudlosky headshot
Scott Rudlosky


Joseph Patton headshot
Joseph Patton

CISESS/University of Maryland, College Park

William Line headshot
William Line


Scott Lindstrom headshot
Scott Lindstrom

CIMSS/University of Wisconsin, Madison

Galina Chirokova headshot
Galina Chirokova


Derrick Herndon headshot
Derrick Herndon