• New satellite imagery helps improve forecasts

    By: Megan McClellan

    Quick Facts:
    • GOES-16 returns preliminary images of earth from space
    • Weather experts say the satellite will help meteorologists in many ways


    A new satellite launched in mid-November is the first of a new generation of satellites.

    NOAA's GOES-R satellite, a revolutionary next-generation geostationary weather satellite, lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Courtesy of NOAA/NASA

    This new satellite, GOES-16,  is designed to provide new imagery, including lightning data and similar information to current satellites, but with more detail.

    NOAA said the new satellite will be able to:

    • Improve track and intensity hurricane forecasts
    • Increase thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time
    • Improve aviation flight route planning
    • Improve air quality warnings

    GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration. (NOAA/NASA)

    The changes to the satellite include more channels to measure things with, four times greater resolution, and it operates five times faster than previous satellites.

    The increased resolution is a benefit to meteorologists and other scientists. It will give them a larger view to look at as they track storms and forecasts. 

    This image was taken on January 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

    GOES-16 can also multi-task, allowing for images of the Continental U.S. every 5 minutes, areas with active or severe weather every 30-60 seconds, and an entire scan of the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes all at the same time.


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