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March 16, 2015 Top 5 Reasons Why NOAA’s GOES-R Satellite Matters

Editor’s note, November 10, 2016: GOES-R is now scheduled to launch on November 19, 2016.

One year from now, NOAA’s GOES-R weather satellite will be launched into space. So what does that mean for you? We’ve got 5 reasons to be excited about this launch:

  1. What's the weather going to be?

    Perhaps you turn on the TV or radio, or check your favorite weather website or smartphone weather app to get the latest forecast. No matter the platform of your weather forecast, the data and information for those forecasts come from NOAA's National Weather Service.

    Weather satellites, like the GOES satellites, are the backbone of NWS weather forecasts. Satellite data travels to the NWS where supercomputers and expert meteorologists run models that turn out a sophisticated forecast. The next generation GOES satellite, GOES-R, will be more advanced than any other weather satellite of its kind and could make the answer to the question "What's the weather going to be?" more detailed and accurate both in the near term and further out into the future.

  2. More, better, faster!

     Do you live in an inland state, a state with a coastline or a state with a mountain range? Great, that’s all of you! Data from the GOES-R satellite will be a game changer for forecasters in your area. Here’s why: satellites are fitted with instruments that observe weather and collect measurements. The primary instrument on the new GOES-R satellite will collect three times more data and provide four times better resolution and more than five times faster coverage than current satellites. This means the satellite will scan Earth’s Western Hemisphere every five minutes and as often as every 30 seconds in areas where severe weather forms, as compared to approximately every 30 minutes with the current GOES satellites. Pretty cool.
  3. A REAL life-saver

    . This expedited data means that forecasts will be timelier, with more “real-time” information in them, allowing NWS to make those warnings and alerts that much faster, thereby potentially saving lives.

    And a faster forecast is a big deal for our economy. Commercial shipping and aviation are just two examples of industries that rely on up-to-date weather data for critical decisions about how to route ships and safely divert planes around storms. Other potentially dangerous phenomena can also be observed by satellites, including volcanic ash clouds, dangerous fog and changing hurricane intensity. And, GOES-R will be part of the satellite search and rescue system called SARSAT. In 2014, the system helped saved 240 lives in the U.S. alone.

    Want to know how to improve your own weather intel? Check out NOAA's "Weather-Ready Nation" initiative here, aimed at helping citizens prepare for severe weather events, or follow them on Twitter @NWS and on Facebook.

  4. Having and keeping electricity flowing is a big deal

    . We all depend on a power grid for virtually every aspect of modern life. But power grids are vulnerable to bursts of energy from the sun that can affect us on Earth. Luckily, GOES-R will be sitting 22,000 miles above us, and in addition to measuring weather on Earth, it will monitor incoming space weather.

    Geomagnetic storms, or space weather, occur when a solar wind shock wave or stream of magnetic particles from the sun affects Earth's magnetic field. These storms have the potential to bring significant disruptions to every major public infrastructure system, including power grids, telecommunications and GPS. Space weather observations from GOES-R will complement those from the DSCOVR mission, providing a comprehensive look at incoming solar storms. 

    Check out this video to learn more about how GOES-R will help protect us in the face of stormy space weather.

    To access to current space weather conditions and alerts, visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center and follow them on Facebook.    

  5. Satisfying the inner-geek

    . Did you know the GOES-R satellite will produce 3.5 terabytes of data per day? And if you want a daily fix of gorgeous views of our planet, every day, they are right at your fingertips in the NOAA View portal.

    You can also check out great videos on our YouTube channel, follow GOES-R's progress on Facebook and learn more about the science behind the satellites on our website, www.goes-r.gov.

    So go ahead, geek out, and be fan of NOAA's GOES-R weather satellite, coming in T-minus 12 months and counting down…