Interpreting Water Vapor Satellite Images.

Meteorologists make extensive use of observations from radiometers that measure radiation with wavelengths of 6.7 micrometers. These images are referred to as water vapor images as the radiometers are measuring radiation emitted by atmospheric water vapor. Unlike the 11 micrometer radiometers, the water vapor radiometers measure radiation that is coming from the 200 to 600 hPa layer of the atmosphere. The gray scale represents the relative humidity of the middle and upper troposphere.

Moist regions of the mid-troposphere are gray, and dark areas in the image represent dry regions.

Satellite loops of water vapor images give an indication of the circulation of the middle and upper troposphere.

Latest GOES-East water vapor image.

Latest GOES-West water vapor image.

The Verner E. Suomi Virtual Museum development funded in part by the National Science Foundation Grant #EAR9809458.  Material presented is Copyrighted (C) 1999 by Steve Ackerman and Tom Whittaker.  If you have questions or comments, please let us know!