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Channel Description
Channel 8: The 'Upper-Level' Water Vapor band - 6.2 ┬Ám (micrometers).

The primary use for this band is the detection of upper level atmospheric features such as jet streams, troughs/ridges, and signs of potential turbulence.

The satellites do not directly detect moisture but instead detect temperature. Water vapor absorbs radiation at these particular frequencies, and thus the satellite does not sense much radiation when there is high water vapor. It records this as a low temperature, which is interpreted as high water vapor content. When radiation is not absorbed and thus received by the satellite, it senses a high temperature and consequently interprets a low amount of water vapor.

As a result, the depth at which the satellite peers into the atmosphere will vary with the amount of moisture over any particular point from day to day.

GOES-West Channel Description courtesy of National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)