Water Vapor animations

Scientists using GOES satellite air temperature data, know where water vapor is in the atmosphere, one of many factors forecasters use to identify weather features.

Above: The movement of upper-air water vapor over the Eastern Pacific is shown using GOES satellite air temperature data. High, cold clouds are white. High, cold, clear air (around -28 F) is blue. Lower, warmer, dry air (around -10 F) is magenta (where clear, dry air penetrates lower in the atmosphere).   Image Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project Dennis Chesters



The NASA/NOAA GOES Project has now created two new types of animations based on satellite data that indicate where water vapor is moving over the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.

Observations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) measure the local air temperature in kelvins (degrees Kelvin) at different layers of the atmosphere.

Dennis Chesters, the flight project scientist for the NASA/NOAA GOES Program at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said:

“The different temperature ranges are color coded in the animations so that the magenta color indicates areas where clear, dry air penetrates lower in the atmosphere. These animations track mid-level dry-air winds that are otherwise unknown to weather forecasters.”



The animations also provide wind data in cloudless regions that can be beneficial to pilots and improve long-range weather forecasts. There is one image every three hours from the full-disk scans for the previous five days.

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