GOES Satellites and Their Uses


GOES is an acronym for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. This program consists of 14 geostationary satellites that orbit the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit. These orbits are close to the equator, the’sweet spot’ for meteorological satellites. GOES satellites are used to measure weather conditions in the Western Hemisphere, gathering information every 30 seconds. They also monitor atmospheric triggers that lead to severe weather conditions.

GOES data products are crucial to weather monitoring and short-term forecasting. Data products produced by GOES are used by the National Weather Service, commercial weather services, the Department of Defense, and the research community worldwide. The accuracy and precision of GOES data are critical to reducing aircraft accidents resulting from ash plumes. And, with the development of hyperspectral infrared sounders, GOES satellites are more sensitive than ever.

The visible light from GOES satellites is reflected off cloud tops. This sunlight helps meteorologists to distinguish between different types of clouds and track their movement. These images also help forecasters predict severe weather, as they provide early warning to impacted areas. They also allow meteorologists to see portions of Earth that are not cloud covered. Snow, ice, and light colored sand reflect the most visible light. But what are the uses of GOES imagery?

The first geostationary weather satellite was launched on October 16, 1975. The GOES satellites quickly became an essential part of the National Weather Service’s operations. Today, environmental service agencies have stated a need for continuous and timely observation of earth conditions. The new generation of GOES satellites measure Earth-emitted and reflected radiation and atmospheric temperature. The data is then processed using SPEDAS software. This makes GOES data a vital tool for forecasters and environmental scientists.

The GOES-R series satellites provide meteorological and space weather data and images for scientists. Their high-altitude orbits allow them to capture full-disc views of Earth. GOES-R satellites help forecasters forecast hazardous weather conditions. They also help monitor natural disasters. By monitoring storms and their development, GOES satellites can help save lives. The next generation of GOES satellites is scheduled to launch on March 1, 2022.

GOES-R satellites are the most advanced weather observing systems in the Western Hemisphere. The GOES-R series will include GOES-T, which will offer real-time mapping of lightning activity. This satellite will replace the GOES-M satellites, which launched in 2011. Once GOES-R reaches geostationary orbit, GOES-T will be renamed GOES-T and put into operational service.