GOES Satellites Improve Weather Forecasting and Improve Aviation Safety

The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) program provides National Weather Service forecasters with critical data to better monitor hazardous conditions and improve aviation safety. The system uses instruments that measure Earth-emitted and reflected radiation from which atmospheric temperature, winds, moisture, and cloud cover can be determined. The procurement, design and manufacture of the spacecraft, as well as the satellite operations and distribution of data, is overseen by NOAA.

The first GOES satellite, launched in 1975, was a spin-stabilized instrument with a fixed viewing angle that provided two-dimensional images of the surface. Using an infrared scanning radiometer, the satellite could detect and report surface temperatures, cloud heights and motions, and other meteorological information. Eventually the satellite was upgraded to include a space environment monitor with a solar X-ray imager, which could identify flares and coronal mass ejections, and provide advance warning of disturbances in the upper atmosphere that can trigger spectacular aurora displays, or lead to power outages.

NOAA’s GOES-R series of geostationary satellites, which began launching in 2016, is the third generation of GOES instruments. The new satellites are able to produce 10-minute full disk imagery, which will provide a significant improvement in operational data availability. Ten-minute imagery will also allow the NOAA Satellite Operations Center to more rapidly respond to hazardous conditions, such as volcanic activity generating an ash plume.

An onboard data collection system (DCS) relays environmental data transmissions from remote, automatic Data Collection Platforms (DCPs). DCS is designed to detect and communicate with DCPs within its radio view of a GOES satellite, sending them a signal that indicates when its event condition has reached a pre-set value. When the DCP receives a DCS interrogate signal, it can transmit its own environmental data transmission in response.

GOES-16 and -17 can also detect fires on the ground by looking for the characteristic thermal infrared signature of burning vegetation. This information can be used to help forecast when the fire will begin to spread, as well as to provide fire managers with real-time fire boundaries displayed on Google Maps.

Other GOES satellites carry instruments that can detect solar X-rays and other indicators of solar activity, which can impact weather patterns and cause power outages on the ground and in aircraft. These satellites can also track volcanic activity, detect ash plumes from erupting volcanoes and provide other vital meteorological information to aviation and coastal weather forecasters.

NOAA’s GOES data is available for free, as are many tools to manipulate and display it. For example, the NASA GOES-16 Satellite Imagery page has several sectors and animations, as does the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s GOES-R Satellite page with a number of Sectors and Full Disks and their GLM and SUVI Animations. GOES imagery is also available in Google Earth, the GEONETCast Americas page, and the CIMSS Tropical page with multiple bands and overlays.

How Do You Define Nice?

Whether nice comes naturally to you or you have to work at it, there’s no denying the positive impact being kind can have on our lives. It’s not only a feeling that makes others feel good but it has been shown to lower our stress levels and even help us live longer. Being nice can also help with social anxiety and boost our self-esteem. But how exactly do you define nice? What is it that makes some people so genuinely kind to everyone they come across?

Unlike narcissists who are only out for themselves, nice people want to put in the extra effort to help those around them. Whether it is opening the door for someone, helping a colleague with their work or just simply listening to friends, they are always thinking about how they can be helpful to others. They also take time to learn about other cultures and viewpoints in order to understand them and not judge.

Being a nice person involves a lot of empathy, which is a sense of understanding and sharing another person’s feelings. Whether it is for a close friend or a stranger, they are always thinking of the needs of others before themselves and putting in the extra work to show that they care.

In addition to putting in the effort to be helpful, being nice often includes being polite and respectful. These are both traits that are easily learned but can be difficult to maintain especially in the face of adversity or rudeness. Politeness is all about setting the tone of a conversation or interaction and it can make a big difference in how the outcome turns out.

If you have ever been a victim of an overly nice person who can’t seem to stop saying how great they are, it may be because they are trying to cover up their true nature for fear of being rejected. Being overly nice can lead to manipulation and actually decrease your self-esteem as it is a form of inauthenticity. This can lead to a “bunny boiler” syndrome where you constantly sacrifice your own needs for those of others, which is dangerously unhealthy.

There is a fine line between being nice and being kind as the two have been linked to a number of different personality traits. Pleasing other people can be considered nice but only if it is done from a place of benevolence, which is why the two are often confused.

Being nice and being kind are both important aspects of living a fulfilling life but they do have their differences. Being nice is about being helpful to others and showing that you are empathetic towards them while kindness is more about displaying compassion. While it might be challenging to stay nice in the face of adversity and rudeness, remember that your actions speak louder than words and by being kind to others you are improving the world, one interaction at a time.