Frequently Asked Questions

Some basic questions and answers about Upweather:

What resolution are the images?

The satellite photos have approximately 4 kilometer resolution. This is the highest resolution imagery that is available 24 hours a day.

The resolution of the forecast model is 0.5°. This is the standard long-range weather model in the United States.

How can I get smoother animation?

Upweather may take a while to warm up. If you want to see something more clearly, swipe backward and forward in time. Each time you swipe, the image will get a little better. The faster your internet connection, the faster the animation improves. The network activity indicator will be spinning in the lower left corner when images are still being downloaded.

Where do the satellite photos come from?

Satellite imagery is based on the 11 micron infrared channels from the GOES-EAST and GOES-WEST satellites.

How up to date are the satellite photos?

Each satellite takes a picture every half hour or so. In the best case, that image reaches Upweather in about twenty minutes. So the latest satellite image is usually from a half hour to an hour ago.

Where does the forecast come from?

The GFS forecast model is updated every six hours by NOAA. Meteorologists rely on many different computer models in making their forecasts: the GFS is one of the most important of these.

What's this about a subscription?

Basic quality imagery is free, and when you buy Upweather you get six months of high definition imagery. After six months, you can buy a subscription for the full resolution imagery or watch lower resolution images for free. The cost of the subscription remains to be determined, but it should be affordable to everybody.

What times are available?

Satellite imagery is available for the previous seven days. Forecast imagery extends seven days into the future.

What area is covered?

The available area is between the central Pacific to the central Atlantic, and from the Equator to the Arctic Circle. That's from 0° to 66°N and 180° to 27°W.

Can you do a larger area?

Unfortunately the satellite imagery isn't available. There is a complete ring of weather satellites around the globe, but weather agencies outside the United States don't share their high resolution imagery.

Sometimes I see strange edges when animating satellite imagery. What's up with that?

The images from the two different satellites don't always line up perfectly. Upweather takes some liberties in combining images from as long as a half hour apart. We also try to smooth over missing areas in the satellite image.

Why is the forecast blockier than the satellite images?

Predicting the weather is hard for computers too! The 0.5°×0.5° forecast has about a twentieth of the resolution of the 4km satellite images. Even at this lower resolution, each run of the GFS model takes several hours of supercomputing at NCEP, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

Will you be adding other kinds of imagery?

That depends on how many people like Upweather!