An Introductory Meteorology Lab Exercise:
This exercise is designed for use in introductory meteorology courses
for non-science majors.
The exercise comprises three parts:
Part I: Introduction
- Summarizes some basic information about satellite images that
students must know before attempting this exercise. However, this
information is not enough; the references cited below (for example)
provide additional necessary background.
Part II: Background Questions
- Asks students a series of questions to test their grasp of basic
concepts needed to interpret visible and infrared satellite images.
Answers to these questions are provided.
Part III: Image Interpretation Exercise
- Asks students to apply their knowledge to interpret
what they see in a variety of satellite images, including a series
recorded one day in February on the West Coast of the U.S.
To begin the lab exercise immediately, click on the "START" button. For
further information, read on.
In this exercise, students apply basic concepts about solar and
terrestrial radiation, plus common-sense knowledge about basic physical
properties of clouds and of land and ocean surfaces, to interpret
visible and infrared satellite images. It assumes that students have
already been introduced generally to weather satellites and weather
satellite images, and in more detail to basic concepts about solar and
terrestrial radiation and the basic laws of radiation. Almost any
typical introductory, college-level textbook on meteorology could
provide the necessary background. Some examples with which I'm familiar
- Chapter 2 of "Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the
Atmosphere", Ahrens, C. Donald. 1993, West Publishing Co.
- Chapter 2 of "The Atmosphere", Lutgens, Frederick K. and Edward
J. Tarbuck, 6th Ed. 1995, Prentice Hall.
- Chapter 2 of "Meteorology: The Atmosphere and the Science of
Weather", Moran, Joseph M. and Michael D. Morgan, 4th Ed. 1994,
McMillan Publishing Co.
- Chapter 3 of "Meteorology", 2nd Ed., Eric W. Danielson, James Levin,
and Elliot Abrams, 2003, McGraw-Hill.
- Chapter 2 of "A World of Weather: Fundamentals of Meteorology",
Jon M. Nese, Lee M. Grenci, Timothy W. Owen, and David J.
Mornhinweg, 2nd Ed. 1998, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.
In Metr 100: "Introduction to Meteorology", the General Education
lecture course taught at San Francisco State University for which this
exercise was originally designed, students are expected to do assigned
background reading and are also provided with two handouts providing
background information to prepare them to do the satellite
Please note that when you start the lab exercise, a new browser window
will open without the familiar browser menu bars. You can always return
to this page by selecting the "Exit" button.
Address questions and comments to:
(Dr. Dave Dempsey,
Professor of Meteorology
Dept. of Geosciences
San Francisco State University)