What is "satellite imaging"?


Quick Answer

Satellite images are powerful and essential tools used by meteorologists to determine the behavior of the atmosphere. They provide a clear, concise and accurate representation of how weather phenomena unfold.

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Full Answer

The CIMSS states that satellite images provide a good representation of what happens everywhere around the world, particularly over oceans where large data gaps occur. It improves forecasting accuracy by allowing meteorologists to understand atmosphere behavior much more clearly. The two types of satellites orbiting the Earth are the geostationary and polar satellites. Geo Graphical Stationary Operational Environmental Satellites stay above a fixed region on the Earth's surface, around 22,500 kilometers above the equator. These satellites always view the same part of the globe, as they rotate with the Earth, allowing meteorologists to see how the weather develops. In contrast, the polar orbiting satellites orbit at lower elevations, around 800 to 900 kilometers above the equator. They follow a new path on every orbit. Geostationary satellites are more useful to operational meteorologists, as polar satellites do not view the same region continuously.

There are various types of satellite images, notes the CIMSS. The most useful ones are the visible, infrared and water vapor images, as these can be taken with a single satellite in the outer space.

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