Need for RGBs

Montage of single color enhancements and RGB products from NOAA and EUMETSAT satellites

The amount of imager data from the world's weather satellites is impressive and will increase dramatically when new geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites come online. But it poses a challenge: figuring out how to extract, distill, and package the data into products that are easy for forecasters to interpret and use.

8 RGB images from the DMSP OLS, Meteosat SEVIRI, and Metop AVHRR satellite imagers

"Red, Green, Blue" or RGB processing offers a simple yet powerful solution. It consolidates the information from different spectral channels into single products that provide more information than any one image can provide.

RGB products have long been used in research, education, and applied fields such as land management.

Enhanced Landsat image showing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 1 May 2010

For example, Landsat, an Earth resource satellite, has been observing land cover, vegetation, and water resources to help municipal planners and developers since the early 1970s. As the availability of RGB products continues to increase for a variety of environmental applications, including meteorological analysis, forecasters need information on what these products provide and how to integrate them into their operations.