Welcome to the How The Weatherworks TM new satellite imagery page for
September 15, 1999
visible - infrared - water vapor imagery
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As Hurricane Floyd approached the Carolina coast on the afternoon of September 15 (2010 UTC - 4:10pm EDT), it provided an opportunity to explore three of the imagery types available from the GOES weather satellite. These are the visible (what we might see with our eyes if we were in space looking down - UPPER LEFT), infrared (heat channel - LOWER RIGHT) and a special water vapor channel (also infrared, but measuring energy at a different part of the infrared spectrum - LOWER LEFT).
The eye of the storm and its spiral structure are similar on all three images. But, details are strikingly different thanks to special ways of "enhancing" the imagery. Cold thunderstorm cloud tops appear as deep reds on the infrared image and lighter reds and oranges on water vapor image; they appear as bright white on the visible imagery (due to their high reflectivity). Bright white clouds (visible) look similar across the entire middle Atlantic region; yet water vapor and infrared show more detail and differences. This helps to pinpoint where the heaviest rain may be falling.
Most notable is the low-level swirl to the east of Floyd on the visible imagery which is almost non-discernible on the other two imagery types. This is just a tropical weather system that never "made it" to tropical storm status.
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This page was updated on September 16, 1999.
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