How GOES Satellites Monitor Weather


The data provided by GOES satellites is used for weather monitoring and short-term forecasting. The data is collected by the National Environmental Satellite and Information Service and distributed to several operational and research centers. A variety of users use GOES data products, including the National Weather Service, commercial weather services, universities, the Department of Defense, and the global research community. In this article, we will briefly describe how GOES systems work. Let’s begin with the science behind GOES data.

GOES uses high-resolution satellites to monitor Earth’s weather. Its polar-orbiting geostationary position allows it to view the entire continental United States, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. It can also monitor the Earth’s surface temperature and listen for vertical thermal structures. GOES can even monitor tropical cyclones and severe local storms in real time, giving forecasters more information about these potentially dangerous weather events.

The instruments on GOES carry out their primary missions through a series of experiments. The Imager provides data about visible and infrared reflected solar energy, and the Sounder provides data on vertical atmospheric temperature profiles, cloud top and surface temperatures, and ozone distribution. GOES satellite data are used to help forecast severe weather and the development of climate models. Its mission can be viewed from various locations, including satellites, ground stations, and manned aircraft.

GOES satellites operate from two primary locations over Earth. GOES East orbits at 75deg W, and GOES West is at 135deg W. While GOES East monitors most of the U.S., GOES West provides a more detailed view of western states, including Alaska. GOES West monitors a large portion of the Pacific Ocean. Its mission is vital for monitoring weather and preparing for disasters.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, also known as GOES, is a vital part of the National Weather Service’s operations. GOES satellites provide continuous environmental information for weather forecasting, meteorological research, and severe storm tracking. The current GOES system has evolved over decades, making it the essential element of weather monitoring in the U.S. Its satellites communicate with ground-based weather monitoring systems to perform their mission.

GOES satellites are responsible for enhancing operational services, improving numerical weather prediction models, and atmospheric science research. They are managed from a satellite operations control center in Suitland, Maryland. The GOES satellites’ schedules are altered for significant events and are capable of supplying accurate information. Additionally, GOES satellites have provided a platform for the Solar X-Ray Imager and space environment monitoring instruments. With this data, GOES satellites provide the most comprehensive coverage of Earth’s weather.

GOES satellites are placed in geosynchronous orbits to provide continuous monitoring of the earth. This allows the satellites to remain stationary in space, giving them a better view of the Earth’s surface. They are currently orbiting at a height of approximately 35,800 kilometers and 22,300 miles, which enables them to receive information from all regions of the Earth. This allows the GOES satellites to receive DCP messages from as many as five different satellites.