Images in Weather Forecasting: A Practical Guide for Interpreting Satellite and Radar Imagery



Recent advances in meteorological instrumentation coupled with the ongoing data and infrastructure explosion promise significant improvements in the accuracy of weather forecasts. These advancements, however, increase the knowledge burden on the forecaster. Even relatively simple atmospheric upper air and surface sensors require forecasters to have some basic understanding of the instrumentation if they are to properly interpret the data they provide.

With whole careers dedicated to designing and interpreting data from meteorological satellites and radars, forecasters must be proficient users of these data. The new Doppler radars were considered so vital to National Weather Service operations that a massive, organized training program was held for operational forecasters, and applied research was funded to develop quantitative applications. Though satellite data have long been considered vital, training for satellite meteorology and image interpretation has largely been neglected. The education of contemporary meteorologists must cover both technical knowledge of individual data sets as well as the application of those data sets to the science of meteorology. Ideally, courses would utilize any and all available data to illustrate concepts being discussed. Few, if any, textbooks attempt to meet this daunting challenge.