The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide atmospheric measurements for the Western Hemisphere and support weather forecasting. A GOES satellite can help forecast hazardous weather events. This can be used to assist emergency response crews and keep people safe. In addition to providing information for severe weather, the satellite can also help to track natural disasters.
The GOES satellites are used to monitor ozone distribution, solar activity, and cloud tops. These are all important parts of weather forecasting. GOES data products are also distributed to research centers and commercial services. For example, the National Weather Service uses GOES data to provide short-term forecasts. Its data helps to increase the accuracy of numerical weather prediction models. Other users include the Department of Defense and the scientific community.
NOAA’s GOES-R series of satellites has real-time capabilities that can assist with forecasting and monitoring of storms and other hazardous weather events. Their imagery is sharper than the previous model, and they are equipped with the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, which can detect lightning buildup in clouds. They can also predict tornadoes. Depending on the weather conditions, the satellites can change their schedules.
GOES data is processed by the DCS Automated Processing System at the NOAA Command and Data Acquisition facility in Wallops, Virginia. This large dual computer system can process and archive messages from up to 100,000 platforms. There is a variety of environmental data transmitted from GOES systems, including ozone, wind speed, air temperature, water vapor, humidity, and surface heat flux. Each GOES satellite has a radio relay that can send and receive messages to and from other GOES satellites.
To determine the weather, GOES spacecraft collect meteorological information every 30 seconds in the hemisphere. In addition, they continuously view the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and southern Canada. The primary instrument on a GOES spacecraft is the Advanced Baseline Imager. It provides multispectral imaging of the Earth and has four near-infrared channels.
GOES-West is in an orbit that covers the Western United States, North America, and the Pacific Ocean basin. It is controlled by the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOC) in Suitland, Maryland. GOES-West primarily monitors the Western Hemisphere, but can also cover portions of Africa, Central America, and South America.
GOES-R has six advanced on-board instruments. Its launch mass is 2,800kg, and it has a design life of 15 years. During its lifetime, GOES-R will provide better weather and solar imagery. Additionally, GOES-R’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper can forecast tornadoes. It is designed to improve the accuracy of storms, as it can detect lightning from within the cloud tops.
The GOES mission consists of two parts: the space segment, and the ground segment. GOES-R satellites carry the Advanced Baseline Imager. The GOES-R data stream includes relays from METEOSAT and HIMAWARI-8. Also, GOES data is distributed to NOAA National Centers.
GOES satellites are essential for the National Weather Service’s ability to monitor and forecast weather. The GOES-R series of satellites can help save countless lives by helping to prevent natural disasters.