Home Page Graphic
satellite meteorology instructional module

Graphic developed by: Steven E. Hall

The Webster dictionary defines a satellite as a man-made object put into orbit around a celestial body, like the earth or the moon. Satellites serve a wide variety of purposes from transmission of television signals via communication satellites to guidance and tracking systems of defense satellites. For meteorologists, satellites provide a comprehensive view of the world's weather by observing weather and the environment on a scale not possible by other means.

On April 1, 1960, the nation's first weather satellite, "TIROS I" was launched into orbit. Soon after, meteorologists saw the first pictures of a midlatitude cyclone over the northeastern United States. A new era had begun. Since then, weather satellites have been launched into orbit and their capabilities have improved significantly. Today, not only do satellites observe clouds, but measure other non- visible radiation from the earth and atmosphere. This helps us to estimate such aspects as crop and soil conditions as well as monitor concentrations of atmospheric ozone and many other global characteristics.

The purpose of this module is to examine Earth observing satellites and their capabilities in greater detail, focusing on two satellite orbital groups in particular; Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES). Finally, this module will demonstrate how to interpret visible, infrared and water vapor channel satellite images.

Last Update: 08/28/99
GOES Satellites
Orbital coverage, architecture, equipment and the types of products they produce.

POES Satellites
Orbital coverage, architecture, equipment and the types of products they produce.

Interpreting Satellite Images
Introduces visible, infrared, enhanced infrared and water vapor images, plus how to interpret them.

Those who contributed to the development of this module.

The navigation menu (left) for this module is called "Satellites" and the menu items are arranged in a recommended sequence, beginning with this introduction. Click on the menu item of interest to go to that particular section. More details about the navigation system or the WW2010 web server in general are available from About This Server.

Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.