GOES Satellites and Their Uses


GOES satellites are used by meteorologists around the world to provide short and long-range weather forecasts. GOES data products are distributed by the National Environmental Satellite and Information Service to various operational and research centers. The National Weather Service, commercial weather services, universities, the Department of Defense, and the global research community all rely on these data products to help them better predict and forecast the weather on Earth. GOES also provides detailed information about the solar environment, including the presence of solar flares.

GOES satellites are geostationary, meaning that they remain over the same place on the Earth’s surface. They use this geostationary position to monitor atmospheric triggers for severe weather. By doing so, GOES scientists can predict the intensity of storms before they form. They are able to do this by analyzing the intensity of sunlight, the direction of winds, and other factors. GOES satellites are also useful in monitoring climate change.

There are two types of GOES satellites. GOES East monitors the Western Hemisphere from a plane that matches the rotation of the Earth. The GOES West satellites have a similar map and scan the entire visible hemisphere. The West instrument has a slightly different orbit, but both satellites provide good information about weather in the Western Hemisphere. The West satellites scan a larger area, including Alaska.

GOES data are used for forecasting, and the data are sent to a processing center referred to as a DRGS. It is a large, dual-computer-based system that continuously monitors all GOES RF channels for incoming DCP messages. The data can be retrieved and analyzed using software called SPEDAS. For further details, see GOES Data

GOES data are collected every thirty seconds in a geostationary orbit. GOES satellites are positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the equator and are therefore in a “sweet spot” for gathering weather data. There are 14 GOES satellites, starting with TIROS-1 in 1960 and ending with NOAA-19 in February 2009.

GOES-R satellites monitor Earth’s surface and provide real-time images of the weather. The data are also used to help emergency response teams prepare for major disasters. The data collected by these satellites can help save countless lives. These satellites are a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA. They are now used to collect and analyze data from over half the globe. But how accurate are they? So what is the GOES-R satellite?

GOES-R is a series of weather satellites launched by NASA. The GOES-R satellites can provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements and even track lightning activity. Its mission is to monitor weather patterns in the Western Hemisphere, as well as space. NASA’s Launch Services Program manages the mission. They will also help detect meteorological hazards. But before they can do that, GOES-T will reach geostationary orbit.