Great Lakes

Great Lakes

Bands of lake effect snow drift eastward from the western Great Lakes in this true-color image captured by the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on January 5, 2017. National Weather Service forecasters expect light to moderate lake effect snow showers to continue throughout the day today and into Saturday (1/7).

Lake-effect snow forms when cold air passes over the warmer waters of a lake. This causes some lake water to evaporate into the air and warm it. This warmer, wetter air rises and cools as it moves away from the lake. When it cools, it releases that moisture and, if it’s cold enough, that moisture turns into snow.

Although true-color images like this may appear to be photographs of Earth, they aren’t. They are created by combining data from the three color channels on the VIIRS instrument sensitive to the red, green and blue (or RGB) wavelengths of light into one composite image. In addition, data from several other channels are often also included to cancel out or correct atmospheric interference that may blur parts of the image.

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