GOES is a system of space and Earth-based environmental sensors used for weather monitoring and forecasting. It is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is composed of two spacecraft and a number of ground-based elements. It is used by the National Weather Service for weather monitoring in the North American region. It also provides information to commercial and university weather services. The system also includes data collected by satellites and insitu stations located near the Earth’s surface. The Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) in Suitland, Maryland, controls the satellites.
The GOES spacecraft are in geostationary orbit at about 135 degrees west. The satellites stay above the surface in a position that allows them to produce full-disk images of the Earth. The satellites also provide continuous views of South America, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft can also image the Earth’s surface, enabling meteorologists to monitor the development of tropical cyclones and local severe storms.
GOES data is crucial to short-term forecasting and the National Weather Service relies on the system for its weather monitoring and forecasting. The satellites provide near-continuous observational information to ground-based user stations, such as the Meteorological Service of Canada and the National Hurricane Center. In addition, the system is used to monitor the effects of atmospheric triggers that can lead to severe weather. GOES data products are also used by the Department of Defense and the international research community for meteorology research.
The GOES satellites have been in service since 1991, and each spacecraft is equipped with a primary payload instrument. The Imager senses the infrared radiant energy of the Sun and provides multispectral imaging. The Imager has 16 spectral bands and four near-infrared channels. The instrument is especially useful for measuring cloud properties and solar irradiance in the upper atmosphere. The GOES spacecraft also has a suite of instruments that are used to detect lightning. These instruments include the Geostationary Lightning Mapper and the Geostationary Search and Rescue (GEOS&R). The GOES-S spacecraft is also designed to be capable of generating 4,000W of power in space.
GOES satellites are controlled from the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) in the Suitland area of Maryland. NOAA has designated each GOES satellite with a letter before it is launched. The Satellite Operations Control Center can modify the schedule of the satellites to provide coverage during major weather events. The GOES system includes a number of ground-based elements, including Data Collection Platforms (DCPs). DCPs are used to collect and transmit data from the satellites. They have an antenna, transmitter, and a recorder.
GOES spacecraft provide real-time coverage of severe local storms. They can also provide more detailed imagery of clouds and hurricanes. GOES satellites are used to improve the accuracy of numerical weather prediction models. The satellites also provide continuous view of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, South America, and southern Canada. This data is used by scientists to better understand the atmosphere and land.