Summertime tool kit

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Mid afternoon visible satellite image.

Why am I showing you all these visible satellite images? Because they are a key tool for meteorologist in the summertime convective season. They give clues on convergence boundaries and areas of differential heating that may spawn thunder clouds.

This visible picture distinguishes a couple of features. One, the differential heating as a result of the land heating while the larger body of water of the Upper and Lower Red Lake warms less than the land mass. Thus there are minimal or no cumulus clouds shown over the lake water.

The second feature that caught me eye is what appears to be a plume of smoke running from northwest to southeast over southern Canada. This too has resulted in differential heating with cumulus clouds flanking the smoke plume to the north and south.

If you animate the imagery it will display the movement of the features in the layered wind field. Animate the visible picture. Check out the convection that has blossomed in northern Minnesota that has resulted in severe weather potential.

While this tool is invaluable for short term, twelve hour forecasting, we must rely on computer models to dissect the layers of the atmosphere and project the anticipation of clouds and precipitation days out.

Boundaries from the previous convection (thunderstorms) establish new areas for differential heating and convergence zones. It is more than a challenge to get a handle on where these boundaries may end up sixty hours from now.

CE

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