Infrared Satellite Images

Visible and Infrared satellite imagesThis infrared view of North America was taken on September 25, 2002 at 12:45 p.m. CDT. Infrared images are constructed in such a way that they measure temperatures of objects, usually clouds.

The warmest objects appear the darkest, then as the temperature of the object decreases, the appearance is lighter and lighter until the lowest temperatures measured appear white.

Advantage: We can see cloud patterns at night.

You can determine the differences in cloud elevations.

Developing thunder- storms are fairly easy to spot due to the very tall cumulonimbus clouds.

Disadvantage: The ability of seeing low clouds at night is greatly hampered since the temperature difference between the ground and the low clouds is usually very small.

Mouseover the image above to see the corresponding visible image and notice...

  1. This area is cloud free. The satellite IR sensor therefore measures the ground temperature which is very warm.
  2. This is a region of cumulus clouds with cloud top height below 10,000 ft. (3000 m) (How do we know?)
  3. Mid level clouds.
  4. The white features just to the north of the number four are tops of thunderstorms just north of the center of Tropical Storm Isidore.

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