Moisture Animations

Compiled by Mark Francek (more info) at Central Michigan University (more info)

Find animations showing global precipitation and pressure patterns, dust and condensation, precipitation type and temperature, lake effect snow, and satellite images of water vapor.

Click here to browse the complete set of Visualization Collections.

Precipitation Type, University of Wisconsin (more info) Find a clever Java applet that allows the manipulation of temperature and wet bulb temperatures to see resulting precipitation patterns that will reach the ground. Among the possible precipitation types that can be produced are snowflakes, supercooled droplets, raindrops, sleet, freezing rain, and snow grains. Even virga (precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the surface) can be created. A nice feature of this applet is that it allows students to see that much of our precipitation, even in the summer, begins in the frozen form.

Lake Effect Snow, NASA (more info) This MPEG shows lake effect precipitation resulting when cold air masses pass over the relatively warm Great Lakes, pick up moisture, and then precipitate when again encountering the cold land surface. Note the bands of lake effect snow apparent over Lake Superior and the lack of snow on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The animation can be replayed to stress important points.

Satellite Images of Water Vapor, Exploring Earth (more info) This Flash animation points out water vapor content 6-10 km above Earth's surface measured by infrared sensors on satellites. Lighter areas represent high moisture content, darker areas, little water vapor. Jet streams are viewed as elongated dark regions bordered by lighter sections.