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What are infrared and visible satellites?

Here's a quick overview of some of the resources we use to discuss your local weather.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Meteorologists use a slew of different resources when discussing current weather conditions.

The biggest resource in a weather forecaster's inventory is weather satellites. This actually is only a relatively new tool with the first weather satellite being launch in 1960 and them not becoming available for regular use until the 70's and 80's. 

There are two main types of satellites you will often see used.  

Visible Satellite: This is like taking a photograph from space. It can be high resolution and useful in depicting low level clouds including fog or developing cumulus. The downside is it is only available during the daytime. 

Infrared Satellite: This type of satellite is like a massive thermometer for the earth. What you see on the screen is actually a temperature representation of the clouds. Colder cloud tops often indicate higher clouds which are most often thunderstorms.  Another good thing with this tool is it can be used in the day and night.  The downside is that it does not have the resolution a visible satellite does. 

This video is in response to a weather question someone sent me. If you have any questions you would like answered send me a message at rspeta@firstcoastnews.com.