Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI)

The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument on GOES-R for imaging Earth’s weather, oceans and environment. ABI will view the Earth with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on current GOES), including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels.

It will provide three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster temporal coverage than the current system.

ABI is a mission critical payload on GOES-R, providing more than 65 percent of all mission data products currently defined.

ABI is a multi-channel passive imaging radiometer designed to observe the western hemisphere and provide variable area imagery and radiometric information of Earth’s surface, atmosphere and cloud cover. ABI will be used for a wide range of applications related to weather, oceans, land, climate, and hazards. The instrument has two scan modes. It will have the ability to continuously take an image of the entire planet, or a full disk image, every five minutes. It also has a flex mode, which will concurrently take a full disk image every 15 minutes, an image of the continental U.S. every five minutes, and smaller, more detailed images of areas where storm activity is present, as often as every 30 seconds. All the ABI bands will have on-orbit calibration.

ABI will be used for a wide range of applications related to weather, oceans, land, climate and hazards (fires, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes and storms that spawn tornadoes).

ABI will improve every product from the current GOES imager and will introduce a host of new products.

It will track and monitor cloud formation, atmospheric motion, convection, land surface temperature, ocean dynamics, flow of water, fire, smoke, volcanic ash plumes, aerosols and air quality, and vegetative health. ABI’s data will enable meteorologists to pinpoint and track developing storms in much greater detail. Future products will also help the aviation industry with aircraft icing threat detection and turbulent flight condition predictions.

Benefits from the ABI include improved tropical cyclone forecasts, fewer weather-related flight delays and airline incidences with volcanic plumes, improved production and distribution of electricity and natural gas, increased efficiency in irrigated water usage in agriculture, and higher protection rates for recreational boats in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane.

ABI Modes of Operation
Full Disk: Hemispheric Coverage of 83° local zenith angle, temporal resolution of 5-15 minutes, and spatial resolution of 0.5 to 2km.
Mesoscale: Provides coverage over a 1000x1000km box with a temporal resolution of 30 seconds, and spatial resolution of 0.5 to 2km.
Continental US: The CONUS scan is performed every 5 minutes, providing coverage of the 5000km (E/W) and 3000km (N/S) rectangle over the United States. The spatial resolution is 0.5 to 2km.
Flex Mode: The flex mode of scanning will provide a FD scan every 15 minutes, a CONUS every 5 minutes, and a Mesoscale every 30 seconds.
Continuous Full Disk: Continuous full disk mode will provide uninterrupted scans of the full disk every 5 minutes.
Exelis Scan Mode Demo

Related Links

For a technical summary of ABI Imager bands click here
ABI Google Earth Simulated Data
ABI Related Weighting Function Links
CIMSS ABI Related Links
GOES-R Proving Ground NSSL-WRF Simulated ABI Bands 8 -16
NWA Professional Development: The ABI on GOES-R
Comparison GOES-R Series ABI vs Current GOES
Attribute : ABI Current GOES Imager
Spectral Coverage 16 bands 5 bands
Spatial Resolution    
0.64 µm Visible
Other visible/near-IR
Bands (>2 µm)
0.5 km
1.0 km
2 km
~ 1 km
~ 4 km
Spatial Coverage    
Full Disk
4 per hour
12 per hour
Every 30 sec
Scheduled (3 hrly)
~4 per hour
Visible (reflective bands)    
    On-orbit calibration Yes No
View Video in New Window

The increased temporal resolution of the ABI will allow forecasters to monitor the interactions between air masses, outflow boundaries and storms, leading to increased situational awareness and confidence.

Contractor: Harris Corporation, Fort Wayne, Indiana