AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 94

RUDDER & WRENCH
This infrared satellite view clearly shows the highest clouds in shades of
red and yellow. These are the coldest tops in the cirrus-topped masses
identified on the previous page's shot from the visible channel. Cloud
tops are lower over the northern midwest states. Some infrared imagery
providers even post a temperature scale that lets you see precise cloud
temperatures.
Surface analysis chart for 18Z on May 27, 2021. A center of low
pressure is over Iowa, with a warm front extending to the east, and a
cold front extending to the southwest. Tropical air coming from the
" back side " of a high in the Gulf of Mexico runs into an outflow boundary
ahead of the cold front, causing widespread vertical development and
thunderstorms.
Water vapor imagery defines the vortex around the low-pressure area,
and shows the driest air in yellow. The College of DuPage website
shows water vapor imagery tuned to three different wavelengths-one
each for high, mid-level, and low levels of the atmosphere. This gives
the low-level view.
Of course, visible imagery has one vaulting drawback: You
can't see it at night. When the sun goes down, so does any
reflected light. However, the low sun angles at sunrise and sunset
can cast impressive shadows that help define cumulonimbus
and other large cloud formations.
Water vapor channel
The water vapor channel is tuned to shorter wavelengths, in
the 6-7-micron radiation band. That's where water vapor is very
effective at absorbing and emitting energy, and that's what the
satellite's radiometer picks up on. True, water vapor exists
everywhere in the atmosphere, from the surface to the highest
levels. At the surface, because of gravity and emissions from
the ground, water vapor has a high concentration. But it drops
quickly with altitude.
The satellite picks up water vapor emissions at altitudes in
the 15,000 to 25,000-foot level-far above the lessening concentrations
below, and far below the even lower concentrations
at altitudes deep in the drier flight levels. This explains water
vapor imagery's drawback: It ignores the signatures of any
clouds or water vapor below. You could see a visible satellite
94
AOPA PILOT / August 2021
This shot shows the upper-level water vapor concentrations. The
circulation around the low-pressure area persists from the ground
up, and mimics the patterns seen on the infrared and low-level water
vapor images. The signatures in green indicate lots of water vapor, and
confirm the big trouble spots.
image showing low cloud layers, yet see the dark signature of
dry air on water vapor imagery in the same area.
On water vapor imagery, denser concentrations of water
vapor show up as white or gray, while drier air can be depicted
in black-or blue or yellow-shades. (The College of DuPage
shows customized images of water vapor at both upper and
lower levels.)
So, what's the use of water vapor imagery? It's an indicator
of moisture patterns aloft, and it can clearly show the circulations
around low pressure centers and fronts. For example, the
" clear slot " -a band of dry air that trails a cold front-can easily
be identified as a dark wedge. Another advantage is that the
water vapor channel works both day and night, and animating
it can serve as a 24/7 proxy for tracking the movement of any
synoptic-scale weather.
Infrared channel
Infrared imagery is calibrated to temperature; you'll see a
temperature scale along the lower edge of its frame. It's useful
for determining the highest cloud tops: The colder the
clouds, the higher the tops. The brightest colors or shades are
COLLEGE OF DUPAGE NEXLAB WEBSITE AT WEATHER.COD.EDU/SATRAD
http://WEATHER.COD.EDU/SATRAD

AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - BB1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - BB2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 22
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 35
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 43
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 46
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 77
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 109
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - 112
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - August 2021 - Cover4
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