|Satellites provide several types of images for
meteorologists to interpret. To determine cloud cover during the day,
meteorologists use visible images. Visible images are
the most like photographs because they show the sunlight
that is reflected from the Earth. On visible images, cloud
cover reflects the most sunlight, appearing white against
the darker areas of land and ocean.
|Meteorologists use infrared images to
determine the temperature in the atmosphere. This information
can then be used to infer cloud cover. Infrared energy
radiates from objects on Earth below in relation to the
temperature of the objects. The warmer an object, the more
infrared radiation it emits. Clouds are usually cooler since they're
high in the sky, so they emit less infrared energy than the ground.
Satellite sensors measure the amount
of infrared energy emitted by the clouds and ground below, and
the data, generating infrared images for meteorologists to use.
|To track the movement of moisture in the
atmosphere, meteorologists use water vapor images
which show the patterns of moisture and dryness. Satellite
sensors measure the amount of energy that water vapor
molecules emit. Those energy readings reveal patterns of
moisture and dryness high in the atmosphere
which meteorologists can interpret to track the
movement of clouds, precipitation, and even non-cloudy air.