Visual representations of information and data to help make complicated subjects more easily understandable.
Satellites collect information about Earth using remote sensing. GOES-R satellites carry an instrument called the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), which measures energy at different wavelengths along the electromagnetic spectrum. Each of ABI’s 16 channels measures the amount of reflected or emitted energy in a specific wavelength of light along the electromagnetic spectrum to obtain information about Earth’s atmosphere, land or ocean. ABI collects these particles of light and turns them into a digital signal, which is transmitted to antennas on the ground. The information is then sent to computers at a satellite data processing center. This information is transmitted in binary code, a numeric language that uses only two digits: 0 and 1, arranged in eight-character strings that are understandable by computer software. Computers translate the code into a collection of pixels that form a black and white image. Color is assigned to the light collected by the satellite based on the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum the data represents. Combinations of red, green and blue create a representation of what the human eye would see from space.
The GOES-16 and GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) measures reflected and emitted imagery to obtain information about Earth’s land, atmosphere, and ocean. ABI’s visible channels capture sunlight reflected off Earth and only see during the daytime. ABI’s infrared channels detect energy that is not visible to the human eye. They collect energy that is emitted by objects such as the surface of Earth and clouds. ABI can detect infrared imagery day or night.
The short answer? Time. 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 new infographic explains the factors that drive weather and climate.
The GOES-R Series Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) is the first instrument of its kind in geostationary orbit. It detects total lightning (in-cloud and cloud-to-ground) activity and reveals the spatial extent and distance lightning flashes travel. Rapid increases in total lightning activity often precede severe and tornadic thunderstorms and can be an indication that a hurricane is strengthening. GLM data is critical for a number of public safety applications as well as for predicting changes in climate.
GOES-16 and GOES-17 continuously view the entire Atlantic and Eastern/Central Pacific hurricane basins. New and upgraded instrumentation and data products provide early warning that a hurricane is forming, improve forecasting, tracking and monitoring of storms, and even aid emergency response to flooding from landfalling hurricanes. This vital information can help forecasters better understand and predict the behavior of hurricanes, improving public safety and protecting life and property.
The benefits from GOES-16 and GOES-17 aren’t just seen during a fire but are important in monitoring the entire lifecycle of a fire disaster. Data from the satellites are helping forecasters monitor drought conditions, locate hotspots, detect changes in a fire’s behavior, predict a fire’s motion, monitor smoke and air quality, and monitor the post-fire landscape like never before.
How does a GOES-R Series satellite get to Kennedy Space Center for launch? Learn more about a GOES-R Series satellite’s travels from construction to orbit.
The GOES-R Series imager offers three times more channels, four times better resolution, and five times faster scanning capability than the previous GOES imager for improved severe weather forecasting, fire and smoke monitoring, volcanic ash advisories, and more.
Hurricanes are very large and intense storms. But where do these giant storms come from? Learn how hurricanes form and how GOES-R satellites can help predict a storm's intensity and track it minute-by-minute. This information allows meteorologists to deliver early warnings and help people stay safe.
Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that spread quickly, destroying homes and the environment nearby. Conditions in the weather and environment—such as drought, winds and extreme heat—can cause a fire to spread more quickly. NOAA’s GOES satellites can provide information about these fires and conditions to help us stay safe.
GOES-R Series satellites keep an eye on Earth’s weather as they orbits 22,000 miles above. But how does your local weather forecaster know what the satellites see? Learn how data from satellites in the GOES-R Series are used for your local weather forecast.
The GOES-R Series provides information about lightning to warn of dangerous incoming weather. An instrument on the satellites, called the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), detects both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning, almost as soon as it happens. These lightning observations can help alert people to dangerous and intensifying storms and may lead to new and better ways to predict and prepare for severe weather.
From weather and hazards on Earth to search and rescue and bursts of energy from the sun, GOES-R Series satellites see it all from 22,000 miles above our planet.
NOAA’s geostationary, near-polar and Lagrange Point 1 satellite constellation.
Space weather refers to the variable conditions of the sun and the space environment that can influence the performance and reliability of space-based and ground-based technological systems, as well as endanger life or health. Just like weather on Earth, space weather has seasons, with solar activity rising and falling over an approximate 11-year cycle.
The sun isn’t only a burning ball of immensely hot gas. It’s a burning ball of immensely hot gas with a temper! Learn about space weather and how satellites in the GOES-R Series help monitor it.
All thunderstorms need the same ingredients: moisture, unstable air and lift. Moisture usually comes from oceans. Unstable air forms when warm, moist air is near the ground and cold, dry air is above. Lift comes from differences in air density. It pushes unstable air upward, creating a tall thunderstorm cloud.
When you see rain or snow fall from above, you’re watching precipitation in action! Where does precipitation come from and why does it fall in different forms?
How do satellites stay in orbit? When a satellite is in orbit, it has a perfect balance between its momentum and Earth’s gravity.