Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)


A board game in which two players place stones (black and white) to mark territory, the earliest records of go date back to Japan in the 14th century. The game has long been an important part of traditional Japanese culture and was introduced to the West in the 19th century, although interest waned until the 1960s, when some Westerners received formal training from East Asian professionals. Since then, the number of active go players has grown rapidly worldwide. The highest rank in go is 9 dan.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) system provides continuous imagery of Earth and real-time data that help NOAA weather forecasters provide accurate and timely warnings about severe storms. NOAA’s GOES fleet is a key component of the nation’s space weather system, providing critical information to electric power networks, satellite and terrestrial communications, the International Space Station astronauts and crew members, high altitude aviators, geophysical explorers, and scientific researchers.

GOES consists of five satellites in a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. Each carries an Imager and a Sounder instrument. The Imager detects electromagnetic radiation that is reflected from Earth’s surface and atmosphere, and the Sounder measures vertical atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles.

Both instruments record and transmit telemetry data to a ground station that translates the data into images for display on a map, and the Sounder also records the motion of Earth’s surface and surface water. The GOES-9 satellite, launched in September 2013, has the longest mission to date and will operate for a maximum of ten years.

One of the most useful aspects of GOES imagery is that it can be observed on very short time intervals, such as 10-minute “full disk” images, which allow meteorologists to monitor rapidly developing severe storms and other events, even in observationally limited areas such as over oceans or mountains. These rapid observations are particularly critical in assisting NOAA’s national weather centers and Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in monitoring aircraft hazards associated with volcanic eruptions.

In addition, GOES-16 and -17 are capable of observing lightning activity over a wide area of the Western Hemisphere on very short time intervals—a capability that significantly enhances the utility of lightning and thunderstorm climatology products (Goodman et al., 2012; Stano et al., 2014). GOES-R will extend this capability to a much wider region over the entire Earth and will also monitor the Sun’s solar environment with its suite of instruments. This will allow a better understanding of how the solar cycle affects the Earth’s weather and climate. The GOES-R instrument suite will include the following: