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Identifying Snow with Daytime RGB Satellite Products

Bernie Connell


This is a basic-level teletraining that will address how snow can be identified from day-time multispectral imagery using Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image combinations. Three of the 4 snow RGBs that are shown are created from available image channels on polar orbiting satellites (MODIS or VIIRS). The fourth RGB is created from GOES imagery. This session will briefly highlight why there are different products and also point out similarities between the products. Many of these are available now in either AWIPS I or II as Proving Ground demonstration products. They will be available in the future from GOES-R.


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. Live VISIT teletraining (with an instructor leading the session). Check the VISIT Training Calendar to signup for teletraining. The session will last 30 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

PDF of this Training Session

COMET module: RGB Products Explained

Imagery and brief descriptions:

CIRA GOES-R Product List (select ‘MODIS Cloud Layers & Snow Cover Discriminator’ AND ‘GOES Snow/Cloud Discriminator’)



Rapid Response Near Real Time MODIS images:

MODIS Today – CIMSS/SSEC (select False Color)

EUMETSAT Image Gallery

RGB examples from the CIMSS Satellite Blog

Content Developed

Information Contact