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Basic Satellite Imagery Interpretation in the Tropics

Dan Bikos

Other contributors / reviewers: John Knaff, Hugh Cobb, Mark DeMaria, Arlene Laing, Ray Zehr


This training session is based on the NESDIS workbook from the mid-1990s titled "Tropical Clouds and Cloud Systems Observed in Satellite Imagery" by Vernon Dvorak and Frank Smigielski. The motivation is to utilize the training concepts from the workbook but instead of using still black and white images, make use of color enhanced animated imagery.

Training Topics:

Note: tropical cyclones will not be addressed during this training session, there are numerous other training sessions devoted to this important topic.


This is a basic course. There are no prerequisites.

Training Session Options

NOAA/NWS students - to begin the training, use the web-based video, YouTube video, or audio playback options below (if present for this session). Certificates of completion for NOAA/NWS employees can be obtained by accessing the session via the Commerce Learn Center

  1. Web-based video that can be taken at anytime (streamed, not recommended for low-bandwidth users). Be sure to have your speakers on and the volume loud enough to hear the presentation. Also be sure that you are using a flash enabled browser.
  2. Audio playback (recommended for low-bandwidth users) - This is an audio playback version in the form of a downloadable VISITview and can be taken at anytime.

    Create a directory to download the audio playback file (301 MB) from the following link:

    After extracting the files into that directory click on either the visitplay.bat or visitauto.bat file to start the lesson. If both files are present, use visitauto.bat

  3. Live VISIT teletraining (with an instructor leading the session). Check the VISIT Training Calendar to signup for teletraining. The session will last 60 minutes. This teletraining session uses the VISITview software, where a Windows PC with an Internet connection is needed.

    Please follow the teletraining installation instructions to install the session

References/Additional Links

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