Articles | Volume 6, issue 8
Research article
06 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 06 Aug 2013

Detection of convective initiation using Meteosat SEVIRI: implementation in and verification with the tracking and nowcasting algorithm Cb-TRAM

D. Merk and T. Zinner

Abstract. In this paper a new detection scheme for convective initiation (CI) under day and night conditions is presented. The new algorithm combines the strengths of two existing methods for detecting CI with geostationary satellite data. It uses the channels of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) onboard Meteosat Second Generation (MSG). For the new algorithm five infrared (IR) criteria from the Satellite Convection Analysis and Tracking algorithm (SATCAST) and one high-resolution visible channel (HRV) criteria from Cb-TRAM were adapted. This set of criteria aims to identify the typical development of quickly developing convective cells in an early stage. The different criteria include time trends of the 10.8 IR channel, and IR channel differences, as well as their time trends. To provide the trend fields an optical-flow-based method is used: the pyramidal matching algorithm, which is part of Cb-TRAM. The new detection scheme is implemented in Cb-TRAM, and is verified for seven days which comprise different weather situations in central Europe. Contrasted with the original early-stage detection scheme of Cb-TRAM, skill scores are provided. From the comparison against detections of later thunderstorm stages, which are also provided by Cb-TRAM, a decrease in false prior warnings (false alarm ratio) from 91 to 81% is presented, an increase of the critical success index from 7.4 to 12.7%, and a decrease of the BIAS from 320 to 146% for normal scan mode. Similar trends are found for rapid scan mode. Most obvious is the decline of false alarms found for the synoptic class "cold air" masses.