Spring brings the promise of warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and more people getting outside after being cooped up all winter. Thanks to NOAA satellites, we can see how Earth sheds its winter coat from space this time of year. From melting snow to greening vegetation, signs of spring are becoming apparent. Satellites also monitor the changing weather patterns that come with the transition from winter to spring. The potential for severe thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, dangerous lightning, and flooding increases in the spring months. According to NOAA’s 2020 Spring Flood and Climate Outlook, released on March 19, much of the country is looking at above-normal precipitation and an enhanced risk of flooding this spring. GOES-16 (GOES-East) and GOES-17 (GOES-West) are equipped to provide detailed information about the atmosphere and clouds in near real-time to help forecasters provide early warnings of hazardous weather.
This year’s vernal equinox is the earliest in 124 Years. The last time the vernal equinox occurred this early was in 1896, so it is the earliest spring anyone alive today has ever experienced—and it will occur even earlier in the future. Why did it occur so early this year? It has to do with leap years. This year, the equinox will occur at 11:49 p.m. EDT, March 19, signifying the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. During the precise moment of the equinox, daytime and nighttime will be nearly equal across the entire planet. From that point on, the Northern Hemisphere will experience earlier sunrises and longer daytimes, and the Southern Hemisphere will experience later sunrises and earlier sunsets.
GOES-16 and GOES-17, also known as GOES-East and GOES-West respectively, provide beautiful images of Earth. However, what you see on your television, computer, and mobile device are digital representations of the data these satellites capture, not actual photographs or videos. A new feature story explains how satellite data is translated into imagery. A lot goes on behind the scenes to create and deliver this colorful imagery, but these enhancements result in more than just a pretty picture. This vivid imagery conveys complex environmental information from large satellite datasets to highlight the presence and evolution of important meteorological phenomena.
Hurricanes are growing more powerful more quickly, according to a study of intensification rates by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and research partners. And these powerful storms cause public health crises that disproportionately impact socioeconomically disadvantaged nations—an instance of “environmental injustice”—described in a Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine co-authored by an NCEI scientist.
Uncovering never-before-seen deep sea coral habitat, applying machine learning to severe weather warnings and fish survey data, and upgrading the U.S. global weather forecast model — these are just a few of NOAA’s scientific achievements in 2019. The newly-released NOAA Science Report highlights the ways these accomplishments — and many more — provide the foundation for vital services that Americans use every day. The report celebrates NOAA’s vital ocean, weather, Great Lakes, and atmospheric research, and how it works to protect lives and property, support a vibrant economy, and strengthen national security. GOES-16 and GOES-17 data contribute to many NOAA science applications.
Students from grades 6-14 are invited to participate in the GOES-R Education Proving Ground GOES-16/17 2020 Virtual Science Fair. Students will use data from the GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites to investigate weather and natural hazards. There will one winning team in each of three categories: middle school, high school and grades 13/14 (community college or university). Each team will consist of 2-4 students and 1 teacher/coach per entry. Entries will be accepted March 1 – May 22, 2020.
Students from the winning teams will receive $25 gift cards and official GOES-T launch viewing invitations to Kennedy Space Center (but no travel support). Teachers coaching the winning teams will garner GOES-T launch invites (no travel support) and conference travel support to attend and present at the 2021 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Centennial meeting in New Orleans.
The NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations commenced operational implementation of the GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) mode 3 cooling timeline on February 26 to mitigate the number of saturated images resulting from the loop heat pipe (LHP) temperature regulation anomaly. This cooling timeline will remain in effect until March 1. The timeline occurs for 6 hours, centered on spacecraft midnight from 0600 UTC to 1200 UTC each day. In this timeline, the GOES-17 ABI generates a single full disk once per 15 minutes and generates one mesoscale domain sector (MDS) each minute. Alternating MDS domains are collected one time each per two-minute period. The contiguous United States (CONUS) domain is not scanned during the timeline, as those periods are used for cooling.
The same timeline will occur seasonally in operations for four periods each year. Below are the next three full periods, which will repeat each year with minor adjustments based on future GOES-17 ABI thermal models:
Dates for 2021 are yet to be determined, but will be shared prior to January 2021.
NOAA has completed a review of the many responses from two Broad Agency Announcements, or BAAs, seeking fresh ideas for new instrument technologies and concepts for future use on its next-generation geostationary, extended orbit, and polar-orbiting weather satellites. NOAA will begin to distribute directed Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to selected entities this week. RFP notifications will continue on a rolling basis for several weeks. As the proposals are received and evaluated, NOAA will determine which companies will receive contracts to conduct short-term, focused studies intended to advance the agency's satellite architecture beyond GOES-R and JPSS.
What we know today as NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) was founded 150 years ago on February 9, 1870 – that’s 15 decades of science and service to the country. Since then, weather forecasting has become far more accurate and timely. As NWS celebrates its 150th birthday, NOAA takes a look at 7 tech advancements that changed the way we do weather forecasting, including weather satellites like GOES-16 and GOES-17.
Although the U.S. saw 14 billion-dollar disasters in 2019, many less-extreme weather and climate events occur regularly. No matter how large or small, NOAA’s satellite imagery and data, including that from GOES-16 and GOES-17, were the foundation of 2019’s forecasts. For federal, state, and local emergency managers, those same satellites provided critical, up-to-the-minute information as well. A new feature story highlights how NOAA satellites bring better data for weather prediction and provide a more comprehensive scope of disasters after they happen.
GOES-15 supplemental operations to GOES-17 will be extended to March 2, 2020 (previously scheduled to end January 31, 2020). After that date, the GOES-15 spacecraft will be placed in standby. GOES-17 will continue operating in the GOES-West role at 137.2 degrees west with all instruments operating nominally. Additionally, GOES-14 supplemental space weather instrument operations will end on March 2, 2020. GOES-14 space weather instruments will be powered off at that time. See December 18, 2019 news item for additional information.
2019 was a busy year for NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). NOAA’s exceptional team of experts helped us understand our dynamic planet. GOES-16 and GOES-17 contributed to a successful 2019 by providing access to secure and timely environmental data. GOES-17 became NOAA’s operational GOES West satellite, providing high-resolution real-time visible and infrared imagery of the west coast of the contiguous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and much of the Pacific Ocean. GOES-16 and GOES-17 monitored extreme weather events from hurricanes to wildfires, and kept an eye on the sun during eclipses, solar flares, and the Mercury transit.
The same NOAA satellites that helped forecasters track weather and wildfires were also critical in rescuing a record 421 people from potentially life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its surrounding waters in 2019. NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites are part of the global Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking System, or COSPAS-SARSAT, which uses a network of U.S. and international spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons aboard aircraft, boats and from handheld Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) anywhere in the world. In addition to carrying instruments for monitoring our atmosphere, land and oceans for severe weather and other hazards, GOES-16 and GOES-17 also carry SARSAT transponders to help locate people in distress.
Weather refers to the short-term conditions of the atmosphere at any given time. Climate refers to the long-term patterns of weather that occur in a specific place over many years, decades and centuries. This poster explains the factors that drive weather and climate.
Earth’s warming trend continued in 2019, making it the second-hottest year in NOAA’s 140-year climate record just behind 2016. The world’s five warmest years have all occurred since 2015 with nine of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2005, according to scientists from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). It was also the 43rd consecutive year with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above average. NASA scientists, who conducted a separate but similar analysis, concurred with NOAA’s ranking. NASA also found that 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded.
Guess who’s turning 50 this year? Throughout 2020, NOAA is celebrating 50 years of science, service and stewardship. Since its inception on October 3, 1970, NOAA has become one of the world’s premier science agencies with a mission that spans from the surface of the sun to the floor of the ocean. Our science has never been more important for our lives and our planet. See where we’ve been and where we’re going.
NOAA’s year-end climate analysis was released on January 8, 2019. It was another year of record-making weather and climate for the U.S. in 2019, which was the second wettest behind 1973. The nation also experienced 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. The extreme weather with the most widespread impact was the historically persistent and destructive U.S. flooding across more than 15 states. The combined cost of just the Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi River basin flooding ($20 billion) was almost half of the U.S. cost total in 2019.
The GOES-R Series Program quarterly newsletter for October – December 2019 is now available. The GOES-R Program ended 2019 on a high note. GOES-16 and GOES-17 continue operational service, providing critical weather data for the nation. Our team continues to make great progress building GOES-T and U and upgrading our ground system. The Geostationary and Extended Orbits (GEO-XO) program is officially underway, authorized to move into the conceptual phase of the mission. The team looks forward to presenting our work and connecting with colleagues at the upcoming 100th American Meteorological Society Meeting in Boston. Here’s to a productive and successful 2020 for the GOES-R and GEO-XO Programs!
Jet streams are bands of strong wind that generally blow from west to east all across the globe. They impact weather, air travel and many other things that take place in our atmosphere. Learn more about the jet stream and how the GOES-R Series monitors jet streams in a new video and article.