Journal of Operational Meteorology
Journal of Operational Meteorology
Home Publications Call for Papers Authors Reviewers Search About

A Multisensor, Blended, Layered Water Vapor Product for Weather Analysis and Forecasting

John M. Forsythe1, Stanley Q. Kidder1, Kevin K. Fuell2, Anita LeRoy2, Gary J. Jedlovec3, and Andrew S. Jones1

1Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
2University of Alabama Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
3NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center, Huntsville, Alabama


This paper describes the creation of a near real-time, near-global, four-layer (surface–850, 850–700, 700–500, and 500–300 hPa) blended layered water vapor (LWV) product using retrieved soundings from five polar-orbiting satellites [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-18 and NOAA-19 satellites; Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F-18 satellite; Meteorological Operational satellite program’s Metop-A satellite; and National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA) Aqua satellite]. Both layer precipitable water (LPW) and layer relative humidity (LRH) are included in the blended LWV product. The NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Version 6 retrieval product and NOAA Microwave Integrated Retrieval System soundings are used to create the product, and the use of retrieved water vapor profiles from multiple satellite inputs at different local times allows visualization of the flow of water vapor in layers. The product has advantages and complements geostationary water vapor imagery, derived products from geostationary satellites, and radiosondes in tracking moisture over data sparse regions in cloudy conditions. LPW profiles show absolute values at each layer of the column, while LRH profiles give a sense of whether the column is moistening or drying with height. Examples of the product are given for a severe weather case, the September 2013 Colorado Front Range floods, and a landfalling tropical depression. The usefulness of the product is discussed from the perspective of how tools commonly used by forecasters to analyze water vapor are augmented by the blended layered water vapor fields.

Vol. 3, No. 5 (2015): PDF (2315 KB)    DOI:

Forsythe, J. M., S. Q. Kidder, K. K. Fuell, A. LeRoy, G. J. Jedlovec, and A. S. Jones, 2015: A multisensor, blended, layered water vapor product for weather analysis and forecasting. J. Operational Meteor., 3 (5), 41–58.


Last updated 8/9/2016 by MJB.



ISSN 2325-6184
DOI: 10.15191/nwajom/

The JOM is published by the National Weather Association as single issues. The JOM's inauguration is 1/1/2013.

JOM Email Notify

JOM [rss feed] RSS Feed

JOM Author Templates
 (updated 12/23/2014)
    Short Contribution
    Images of Note

 Author Final Checklist

Legacy Journals (≤2012)
    Natl. Wea. Dig.

Become an NWA member by calling 405-701-5167

Comments or questions? Contact

Want to advertise here? Contact