(WKBN) – Meteorologists use satellite imagery to pinpoint where areas of clouds and storm systems are located across the world and to our communities. They are pictures taken from space. There are three main types of satellite images we use. Each one has its own characteristics we will dive into today.
- Visible Imagery
- Infrared Imagery
- Water Vapor Imagery
Visible images use sunlight to detect areas of high reflectivity.
The thicker the clouds, the brighter they appear on the visible images.
Be careful though, since it uses visible light (or sunshine) to detect clouds, you can only use these images during daylight hours. In the video I show you what happens to these images at sunset!
Infrared images use the temperatures of the cloud tops to detect clouds.
Since air cools as it goes up in the atmosphere, thicker clouds that reach farther into the atmosphere are colder, and thus show up brighter on infrared images.
Thinner clouds, closer to the warmer ground, show up dimmer. Since the earth is always emitting temperature, these images are available around the clock!
Water vapor images show the moisture content in the middle of the atmosphere. This allows meteorologists to see where the dry and moist air masses are located. Moisture appears as brighter colors, while dry air shows up as dark colors.
Our latest Weather For Kids video breaks all of these down with various examples and comparisons!