• Moderator

    I was looking at the NWS Water Vapor loop at https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES/GOES16_sector_band.php?sector=psw&band=08&length=96. It’s a nice, pretty satellite picture but I honestly don’t understand what is being displayed and what it means. Would someone please enlighten me? Thanks,


  • Sailor Moderator

    Have you looked at the link at bottom of the page?
    It gives more explanations:
    What can we add? The water vapor content measured by the absorption at 6.2 microns in the infrared spectrum provides several informations in upper levels of the atmosphere.

    • If the images are used dynamically (as the loop show), they allow to see the flow of air at this level. This is interesting to locate the jet stream, or the divergence of air flow which can create vertical upward air movement.
      In fact it’s like when you want to see movement of water you can add some colouring, or to see air flow you can use smoke. Here the air is coloured by the water vapor whose content is expressed by a color scale.

    • The absorption at 6.2 microns is also linked to the temperature of the water vapor. So you can see, in the areas of deep convection, the air lifted from low levels. Today in the loop, it gives the effect of boiling water, with color indicating a different temperature of water vapor.

    • Water vapor content is used also of course for weather models assimilation data, or to calibrate vertical profiles of the atmosphere....

    Hope it will help you if my comments are clear and correct.

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