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WX 365 Satellite and Radar Remote Sensing

Author Profile
Dorothea Ivanova
,
ivanovad@erau.edu

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
a
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs
.

Summary

A practical introduction to meteorological interpretation of satellite and weather radar imagery. This course surveys the basic physics of electromagnetic (EM) radiation and shows how characteristics of the EM spectrum are exploited in passive (satellite) and active (radar) remote sensing to create digital images of geophysical information.
It is a study of two primary weather analysis remote sensing tools. Emphasis is on interpreting satellite images and radar returns. The different modes of data acquisition are demonstrated and discussed. Several computer labs are assigned during the course to build and exercise remote sensing interpretation skills.

Course URL:
Resource Type: Course Information
Special Interest: GIS
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Size:

15-30

Course Context:

This is a required course in the Applied Meteorology degree program and is an elective satisfying 3 credit hours as part of the Aeronautical Science Weather Minor. It provides advanced understanding and practical application of two remotely sensed meteorological data types. The prerequisite is WX352: Meteorology II.

Course Goals:

- Students should be able to understand fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and how they are exploited in operational satellite and radar remote sensing of the earth-atmosphere system.

- Students should be able to describe the basic orbits of weather satellites.

- Students should be able to formulate, distinguish, and explain the uses of different types of satellite imagery including visible, infrared, and water vapor channels.

- Students should be able to interpret cloud types and relative cloud heights from satellite imagery.

- Students should be able to analyze mesoscale and synoptic scale wind characteristics from satellite imagery, including sea breezes, lake effects, thunderstorm outflows, cloud streets, mountain/lee waves, jet streams, and vorticity.

- Students should be able to interpret and monitor synoptic, meso- and convective scale storm development and characteristics in satellite imagery.

- Students should be able to formulate the fundamental differences between conventional and Doppler weather radar, and the different ways in which they may be used to monitor storm development.

- Students should be able to synthesize the association between radar reflectivity and precipitation intensity, and identify conventional or Doppler radar signatures associated with severe thunderstorms, microbursts, tornadic vortices, and hail.

- Students should be able to interpret the erroneous radar depictions associated with anomalous propagation and shadowing.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Several computer labs will be assigned during the course to build and exercise remote sensing interpretation skills.

Homework will ensure that students adequately understand and can apply key remote sensing concepts.

Skills Goals

- working in groups

- critical analysis of remotely sensed weather images


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Weather satellite image types including visible, conventional infrared, and water vapor channels and their meteorological applications are examined in groups. Real-time satellite identification of meteorological phenomena will be emphasized, including mountain waves, midlatitude cyclone, fronts, jet streams, troughs, ridges, vorticity, cloud types, fog, precipitation, ordinary and severe thunderstorms, tropical waves and hurricanes. Surface and upper air weather maps will be used to enhance the students' understanding of satellite image signatures.

The theory of radar signal propagation and precipitation estimation is applied to the critical analysis and meteorological interpretation of radar imagery and supplemented with practical analysis of various radar product types.

Attitudinal Goals

- increasing student excitement/personal wonder about learning about the atmosphere and weather.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students use a state-of-the-art Weather Center and computer-equipped classrooms to understand and interpret satellite images. Emphasis is placed on hands-on experience. The course activities provide a practical understanding of the remote sensing of the atmosphere.

Assessment

Assessment tools Weight
Presentations 0-10%
Homework 30%
Labs 20%
Exams 40-50%

Examples:

- Understand fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and how they are exploited in operational satellite and radar remote sensing of the earth-atmosphere system.
a. Classroom hours: 3
b. Assessment tools: Homework 1 & 4 (Questions 1-5), Exam

- formulate, distinguish, and utilize the different types of satellite imagery including the visible, infrared, and water vapor channels.
a. Classroom hours: 2
b. Assessment tools: Lab 1, Exam

- Interpret mesoscale and synoptic scale wind characteristics from satellite imagery, including sea breezes, lake effects, thunderstorm outflows, cloud streets, mountain/lee waves, and jet streams.
a. Classroom hours: 3
b. Assessment tools: Lab 2, Exam

Syllabus:

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