Shades of grey

For many years, early in my weather forecasting career, it was as if the world was only black and white. There was no color radar and very crude satellite imagery. Today we take for granted the brillance of graphical weather presentations that expose the state of the science. Never lose sight of the art of forecasting. In my weather world some things remain black and white.

We are entering the season when meteorologists are challenged to examine satellite images to determine the extent of cloud cover during the overnight hours. The temperature of the earth can be nearly the same as the temperature of the lower cloud cover. Forecasters animate the infrared imagery to watch for expanding edges and movement of clouds.

High resolution satellite imagery. Click on Minnesota for zoom.

Of course, we also are wise enough to monitor the reports from the automated surface observing sites. Thankfully there are now hundreds of sites across the country, compared to the few and far between reports from manned-stations back in the 1970s.


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