Introduction

Combining satellite images from different channels goes far back in the history of satellite meteorology. The idea behind it can be summarized as follows:

Different channels give different information, and the combinations of channels reveal more information and features of the Earth's surface and atmosphere than single channels alone.

There are two ways of making better use of satellite images:

  • Enhanced satellite images
  • RGB presentation (Red Green Blue)

Looking back at the history of satellite meteorology, the first enhanced images were generated for severe convection like MCS (Mesoscale Convective Systems) to reveal the coldest cloud tops and the growing rate of these cold tops. The first RGB combinations were developed for the USA's polar orbiting satellites and the first application was discriminating low clouds from middle and high clouds.

As time passed, a large number of different RGB products were developed by various institutes and weather services. The usefulness of some combinations was sometimes questionable and comparison between different RGBs became difficult.

With the creation of the MSG and its 12 channels, each with its own unique qualities, a series of standardized RGBs were developed. These RGBs will be described according to their significance and usefulness.


EuMeTrain has developed an easy to use RGB analysing tool. It will help you with analysing the images and understanding the physics behind it. The tool is streight forward, but if you have any question, here is a little guide. You might get a false positive for a virus. Please ignore it, here is a short explanation why this happens.

The Tool is made for Windows platform. To be able to use it you will need .Net Framework 4.0 or higher.