Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere            Ackerman and Knox


Interpreting Satellite Images  

Observations from instruments flown on satellites are used extensively in weather analysis. Flown onboard satellites are instruments that measure electromagnetic energy that is either reflected or emitted by our planet. These instruments are called radiometers. Two common types of radiometers are used in satellite meteorology. One type measures the amount of visible light from the sun reflected back to space by the Earth's surface or by clouds. The second measures the amount of radiation emitted by these entities.

The Basics of Infrared Images: The following interactive exercise helps to answer the question "What does the brightness of a cloud mean on the TV weather shows?". 

The Basics of Visible Images: TV weather shows rarely show visible images. The satellite visible images are available only during the daytime and provide additional information on the weather. The following interactive exercise is an introduction to interpreting satellite visible images and can answer question "How does the thickness of a cloud change the way it looks from the satellite?". 

Infrared Image Interpretation: The following interactive exercise helps you understand why the appearance of a thin cloud differs from a thick cloud.". 

Satellite Interpretation: Discover features on a visible and an infrared satellite image.". 

The physics of the water vapor imagery: This is an advanced topic that explores the relationship between the strength of the gas absorption and how far into the atmosphere the satellite "sees".  Interpret Water Vapor Satellite Images.