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RAMMB: Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch logo CIRA: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere logo NESDIS: NOAA Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service logo

Basic Radiation Science & its 3.9 um Channel Application

This module highlights the utility of the GOES 3.9 um imagery, available for the first time as a dedicated imager channel from geostationary orbit. It is also one of the nineteen channels of the GOES sounding instruments. Interpretation of 3.9 um data differs from that of the longer wavelength infrared bands, which the user may be more accustomed to, since it contains both reflected solar, and emitted terrestrial, radiation. Characteristics of reflected and emitted radiation in this band are different from either the visible or the 10.7 um bands, thereby promoting enhanced capabilities of GOES multispectral imagery.

This section presents the user with a short technical discussion of radiation. Most meteorology texts devote several chapters to the topic of radiation, and there are texts devoted entirely to this subject. The reader is referred to those sources for more detailed information. The purpose of this section is to refresh users with those aspects of radiative transfer pertinent to the analysis of satellite imagery, particularly the channel at 3.9 um. Review the following subjects either in order or, if you wish, click on any one of them to go directly to its subject content:

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