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Satellite Image Animations




Visible Satellite Animation

Visible Image - This image is the equivalent of taking a black and white photo of the earth. The bright areas show where the sun is being reflected back into space as a result of clouds or snow cover. Clouds and snow show up white. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the color. Land surfaces show up as gray and ocean surfaces nearly black. The major limitation to visible imagery is that it is only valid during daylight.


Infrared Satellite Animation

Infrared Image - This type of image shows heat based radiation from the infrared spectrum. In other words, the warmer the surface, the more infrared radiation it emits. For a satellite image, cooler surfaces are bright and warmer surfaces are dark. Since the atmosphere cools as you increase in altitude, clouds would show up as bright areas and land surfaces as dark areas. In addition, low clouds will be more gray and higher clouds will show up more white. Tall thunderstorm clouds will show up as bright white and fog will be hard to decern from land areas. A large advantage of IR is that you can view it 24 hours a day.


Water Vapor Animation

Water Vapor Image - The water vapor image show an infrared band which is affected strongly by the presence of water vapor. Essentially, the image shows the altitude of the highest moist layer in the atmosphere. Bright areas reflect the location of high clouds either due to jet stream cloudiness or due to thunderstorm activity. The dark areas reflect the location of dry are at high altitudes. This is associated with dry air intrusion and sinking motion associated with high pressure systems. This image is a decent tracer of jet stream winds which will show up as bright streaks.