Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere            Ackerman and Knox



The 19 channels of viewing of the GOES-8 weather satellite. This image, from 0146 UTC on April 7, 1998 depicts the state of atmospheric radiation over North America (see map at top left). The channels decrease in wavelength from Channel 1 (14.7 micron) to Channel 19 (0.7 micron), the only visible channel. Red areas indicate regions of high infrared radiation emission; blue indicates regions of lower infrared emission; and black indicates zero visible radiation emission or reflection. Below is a link to all 19 GOES-8 sounder channels over the eastern U.S.:

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The visible channel (Channel 19) -- although in color -- does easily provide the night-day flag.
Channels 1 and 2 show thermal gradient reversal at the tropopause.
Only the highest clouds are evident in Channel 3; more cloud appears as one goes to the lower sensing channels (4,5,6...).
Channels 3, 12, and 15 are all seen at about the same "altitude" (similar color range) but in different spectral regions (or "absorption bands"): Longwave CO2, Midwave H2O, Shortwave CO2.
Relative transparency is evident across (window) Channels 6, 7, 8, 17, and 18.
Channel 9 (ozone) is similar but different from Channel 10. Channel 12 looks much cleaner than "sibling" Channels 3 and 15; Channel 11 is even sharper looking.
Over a long enough period (2 days), the large scale deep tropospheric thermal pattern (the "ridging" evident in Channels 3-5) can be seen to be slowing moving eastward.

For current products and information, see the CIMSS Realtime GOES page

  Thanks to Tim Schmidt, Gary Wade, Scott Bacheier and the CIMSS GOES Gallery