Skip to Navigation Skip to content

Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch

Search the RAMMB website

Introduction to satellite interpretation for severe weather


Dan Bikos

Jeff Braun



Intern Course




Other Contributors:
John Weaver, Dan Lindsey, Jim Purdom, Dolores Kiessling (COMET)


Objectives: Identify the main uses of satellite imagery for severe weather events 1. Pre-storm environment Identify different air masses / boundaries Fine tune potential regions for convective initiation 2. Nowcast / WDM process (use effectively with other sensors, i.e. radar, METARs, lightning etc.) Analyze storm scale features Monitor potential storm / boundary interactions

Training Session Options:

Audio playback – This VISITview file contains recorded audio and annotations and can be taken at anytime. Certificates of completion for NOAA employees can be obtained through your Science Operation Officer or training point of contact. For detailed information on how to view the recorded session Create a directory to download the audio playback file (it is about 146 MB in size) from one of the following sites:

After extracting the files into that directory click on the visitplay.bat file to start the lesson.

References/Additional Links

NESDIS GOES sounder single field of view (SFOV) soundings
Real-time GOES RSO data (RSO RAMSDIS online)

Purdom, J.F.W., 1976: Some uses of high-resolution GOES imagery in the mesoscale forecasting of convection and its behavior. Mon. Wea. Rev., 104, 1474-1483. Scofield, R.A. and J.F.W. Purdom, 1986: The Use of Satellite data for Mesoscale Analyses and Forecasting Application. Chapter 7 in the book Mesoscale Meteorology and Forecasting, P.S. Ray, editor, Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, MA, 118-150. Davies, J.M., C.A. Doswell III, D.W. Burgess, and J.W. Weaver, 1994: Some noteworthy aspects of the Hesston, Kansas tornado family of 13 March 1990. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 75, 1007-1017. Markowski. P.M., E.N. Rasmussen, and J.M. Straka, 1998: The occurrence of tornadoes in supercells interacting with boundaries during VORTEX-95. Wea. Forecasting, 11, 852-859. Weaver, J.F., 1979: Storm motion as related to boundary-layer convergence. Mon. Wea. Rev., 107, 612-619. Weaver, J.F., and S.P. Nelson, 1982: Multiscale aspects of thunderstorm gust fronts and their effects on subsequent storm development. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 707-718. Weaver, J.F., and J.F.W. Purdom, 1995: An interesting mesoscale storm-environment interaction observed just prior to changes in severe storm behavior. Wea. Forecasting, 10, 449-453. Bikos, D., Weaver, J., and B. Motta, 2002: A Satellite Perspective of the 3 May 1999 Great Plains Tornado Outbreak within Oklahoma. Wea. Forecasting, 17, 635-646. Browning, P., Weaver, J.F., and Connell, B., 1997: The Moberly, Missouri, Tornado of 4 July 1995. Wea. Forecasting, 12, 915-927. Purdom, J.F.W. 1990: Convective Scale Weather Analysis and Forecasting. Chapter VII-8 in Weather Satellites: Systems, Data, and Environmental Applications, Rao, P.K., Holmes, S.J., Anderson, R.K., Winston, J.S., Lehr, P.E, editors, Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, MA, 285-304. Krauss, T.W. and J.D. Marwitz, 1984: Precipiation Processes within an Alberta Supercell Hailstorm. J. Atmos. Sci., 46, 1025-1034. Lemon, L.R., 1976: The Flanking Line, a Severe Thunderstorm Intensification Source. J. Atmos. Sci., 33, 686-694. Rasmussen, E.N., S. Richardson, J.M. Straka, P.M. Markowski, and D.O. Blanchard, 2000: The Association of Significant Tornadoes with a Baroclinic Boundary on 2 June 1995. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 174-191. Weaver, J.F, J.A. Knaff, D. Bikos, G.S. Wade, J.M. Daniels, 2002: Satellite Observations of a Severe Supercell Thunderstorm 24 July 2000 made during the GOES-11 Science Test. Wea. Forecasting, 17 (1), 124-138.

Talking Points

Talking points – these may be used by local offices in tandem with the audio playback version of the training session. The talking points may be printed out to easily review the session in detail at any time. The talking points may be

downloaded as a Word document

This course is Basic

There are no prerequisites


Dan Bikos

    (970) 491-3777