This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010
Visible, IR, and Water vapor Satellite Images of an Extratropical Cyclone
Dorothea Ivanova, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
SummaryThe object of this assignment is to find online and interpret imagery associated with an extratropical cyclone system.
Type and level of course
Undergraduate required course in applied meteorology, WX365: Satellite and radar remote sensing.
Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
This course integrates concepts presented in other meteorology courses in the curriculum.
GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
Familiarity with IR, visible and water vapor satellite interpretation techniques, and output from soundings, and numerical weather prediction models: Eta, nested grid model (NGM), aviation model (AVN), or any other appropriate model.
Software required for this assignment/activity:
Time required for students to complete the assignment:
45 minutes - to 1 hour
GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
During this activity, the students will:
- Understand fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and how they are exploited in operational satellite and radar remote sensing of the earth-atmosphere system.
- Recognize, distinguish, and explain the uses of different types of satellite imagery including visible, infrared, and water vapor channels.
- Identify and monitor synoptic, meso- and convective scale storm development and characteristics in satellite imagery.
Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Identify mesoscale and synoptic scale characteristics of:
- frontal system,
- jet stream,
- upper-level trough,
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
analysis of satellite data and images, soundings, and modeling output, synthesis of ideas, and their critical evaluation.
Description of the activity/assignmentActivity 2: Visible, IR, and Water vapor Satellite Images of an Extratropical Cyclone
The object of this assignment is to find online and interpret imagery associated with an extratropical cyclone system.
1. Minimum data requirements:
a. Find and download a related series (visible, IR, and water vapor) of satellite images of a mid-latitude extratropical cyclone (low pressure) system.
b. Print out an appropriate upper air chart depicting the location of the jet stream.
c. Print out a radar summary chart with a valid time corresponding to the valid time of the satellite imagery. Suggested URLs are http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/nwsfax.html or http://www.intellicast.com/ then under US Weather select the Radar tab and then under the Severe pull-down menu select Radar Summary.
d. Print out the 500 hPa and vorticity chart from a numerical model with a valid time corresponding to the valid time of the satellite imagery. The model could be the Eta, nested grid model (NGM), aviation model (AVN), or any other appropriate model. Suggested URLs are http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/model; http://weather.unisys.com/; or http://weather.uwyo.edu/models/.
e. Print out a surface analysis chart with a valid time corresponding to the valid time of the satellite imagery.
2. Draw in the associated frontal system on the visible image. Also on the visible image, draw in the jet stream and the position of the upper-level trough.
3. Designate the location of any thunderstorms and specify the maximum tops of those thunderstorms using a nearby sounding as you did in Activity1. Print out the sounding.
4. Describe how/why you located the:
a. frontal system,
b. jet stream,
c. upper-level trough,
d. thunderstorms and how you determined their tops. Compare the tops you determined with those on a radar summary. Explain the reasons for the similarities or any differences.
Explain how the additional data (other than the satellite imagery) helped in your analysis of the satellite imagery. Be specific in your description of how you located the features. Don't say: "I looked at the picture".
5. The data requirements listed above are minimum requirements. You may use any additional data you deem appropriate/applicable. Turn in your satellite images, additional data, sounding and discussion.
Determining whether students have met the goals
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
URLs and References
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment: Activity 2 for WX365 Satellite and Radar Remote Sensing (Microsoft Word 28kB Aug8 10)
- Instructors Notes:
- Solution Set:
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