Lake Effect Snow from Space

January 26, 2007


Provided by: Richard Anstett, Lockheed Martin
Summary authors & editors: Richard Anstett

This October 13, 2006 GOES-12 multi-spectral satellite image (taken at (1415Z or 2:15 p.m. local time) shows an area of snowfall (orange) downwind from Lake Erie. On this rendition, low clouds above the snow have a pink to blue color, higher colder clouds range from yellow to white, while bare ground is green. This was the earliest lake effect snow storm on record to hit Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo National Weather Service Forecast Office noted that this snow event set snowfall records for both October 12 (8.3 in or 21 cm) and October 13 (10.3 in or 26 cm). Multi-spectral imaging allows snow on the ground to be detected. Using just a single infrared band, snow cover may not be apparent, and it's sometimes hard to distinguish cloud cover from snow on the ground using only visible satellite imagery.

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