GOES-R – The Next Generation of Geostationary Weather Satellites

GOES is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s geostationary weather satellite system that provides continuous high-resolution, multi-spectral images of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment. This information is used to support the Nation’s weather forecasting, observation and emergency response operations.

Founded in 1977, the GOES series is a revolutionary advance in geostationary weather technology that offers an unprecedented level of resolution and accuracy. It’s a new way to view and monitor weather systems on the Earth’s surface, including severe storms, cyclones, fires and volcanic eruptions that affect our lives every day.

The GOES constellation is made up of eight satellites that orbit at a height of about 520 miles above the Earth’s surface. Each GOES satellite completes about 14 orbits a day, allowing GOES to cover the entire planet in just one day.

Each GOES satellite has an Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) that uses 16 spectral bands to view the Earth. It also has a Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) that measures when and where lightning occurs.

This sensor can detect both sporadic and persistent lightning, which can help forecast tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. Other instruments on board the GOES-R series are the Magnetometer, Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors, Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR).

ABI is a key component of the GOES weather satellite system because it provides highly accurate multi-spectral images that allow scientists to make more informed weather predictions. ABI also gives meteorologists the ability to detect clouds that may be forming or deteriorating.

GOES-R is the first GOES satellite to use an enhanced spectral imaging algorithm. This new technology helps increase the sharpness of GOES’s multi-spectral imagery by reducing the time it takes to process the data.

The GOES-R series has also introduced an improved communications system that allows weather officials to receive alerts from the satellite more quickly and accurately than ever before. This new system, called HRIT – High Rate Information Transmission, transmits at a rate of 400Kbps, double the previous 128Kbps service.

HRIT is now available on the GOES-R system, as well as the older GOES-I and GOES-NOP series. The increased bandwidth will enable faster, more detailed information to reach forecasters and other weather experts.

This service can be used by a variety of stakeholders, from the general public to local governments, utilities and commercial organizations. It’s important for the public to have access to timely weather data, particularly during severe weather events.

GOES-R combines the existing LRIT and EMWIN services into a single service. This new service will transmit at a higher bandwidth and is more cost-effective for NOAA to operate.

It also reduces the amount of data transferred to and from NOAA headquarters, allowing NOAA to provide a better service to the public. The higher data rates are a critical tool for NOAA’s efforts to improve disaster preparedness and response.

GOES-R will be an invaluable tool for NOAA and other weather professionals in the coming decades. As the world’s most powerful and sophisticated polar-orbiting satellite, it will have the capability to monitor the most severe storms in the world, helping to improve forecasts for everyone.