An Overview of the GOES Satellite System

GOES is a satellite system that provides high-resolution data for weather monitoring, short-term forecasting, and climate research. The National Environmental Satellite and Information Service distributes GOES data to operational and research centers around the world. A wide range of users rely on GOES data products, including the National Weather Service, commercial weather services, and universities. Other users include the Department of Defense and the global research community. This article provides an overview of GOES.

GOES uses a network of 20,000 direct-readout ground stations (DRGSs) in the western hemisphere to relay data from these satellites. Each DCP has an array of environmental sensors and is programmed to collect and transmit data at specified time-slots. These instruments then send the data back to the SESC, a user-friendly interface for weather forecasting. The data are compiled and analyzed by GOES’s scientific community, which uses the data to make informed decisions on how to manage the environment.

GOES operates in geostationary orbit, allowing it to monitor Earth’s weather and oceans from the air. The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument on GOES-T is able to scan the Earth five times faster than its predecessors. It also features the first-of-its-kind Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GEMSAT-1) instrument, which detects dangerous thunderstorms before they hit the ground.

The GOES satellites can also detect water vapor and clouds, which both emit thermal infrared radiation. Because water vapor is so high in the atmosphere, GOES satellites can detect most of it. This enables meteorologists to predict weather patterns and provide early warnings for potential severe weather. A good GOES image shows what part of Earth is cloud-free and what portions are not. The visible light images show snow, ice, and light-colored sand.

GOES satellites gather data about the Earth and produce a high-resolution image of the Earth. The imagery is produced by GOES-East and GOES-West satellites and combines information from several sources. GOES satellites also superimpose landmasses, state boundaries, and county boundaries onto satellite images. These images are also useful for forecasting hurricanes and other weather conditions. They have been instrumental in predicting severe weather for over fifty years.

Both GOES and POES have long-term image collection legacy. They orbit in the polar regions and complete fourteen orbits a day. Since the satellites are 520 miles above the Earth, they can provide daily coverage of the globe for weather forecasting. The most common instrument on both GOES and POES satellites is the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), which has four channels and five channels. Its telemetry is used by weather forecasters, ice forecasters, and agriculture managers.

GOES satellites are fixed in geostationary orbit, circling the earth at the same speed as the Earth’s rotation. They remain stationary in the sky and do not move relative to the ground. GOES satellites provide continuous, accurate weather images of the entire Western Hemisphere. This allows meteorologists and other meteorologists to better predict the weather. With this information, the United States can adjust accordingly. In addition, the satellites are vital for monitoring climate change and natural disasters.