It was one year ago, on November 19, 2016, that NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite was launched into space. Though not yet operational, GOES-16 is already proving to be a game-changer for weather forecasting and hazard assessment. From hurricanes to thunderstorms, flooding, fog, fires, blizzards and more, GOES-16 has kept watch from 22,000 miles above the Earth. Known as GOES-R at the time of launch, the satellite became GOES-16 upon reaching geostationary orbit.
GOES-16 is a significant improvement over previous GOES satellites, providing forecasters with near-real time data and imagery on developing weather events. The satellite also has new channels and improved resolution for better discernment of meteorological features. In addition, GOES-16 carries the first lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit. The lightning mapper measures total lighting, including the in-cloud lightning most associated with developing severe storms, allowing forecasters to focus on intensifying storms before they produce damaging wind, hail or even tornadoes.
Now that GOES-16 has had a full year of checkout and validation, it’s almost time for it to take its place as NOAA’s GOES-East operational satellite, watching over the continental United States and Atlantic Ocean. At the end of November, GOES-16 will begin to move to its new location at 75.2 degrees west longitude. By December 20, GOES-16 will start its new job as GOES-East.
Stay tuned for even more amazing imagery and improved forecasts from NOAA’s GOES-16!