State of the art weather satellite launched over the weekend promises huge gains in many areas

NOAA’s GOES-R satellite launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida this weekend at 6;42pm on November 19, 2016.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R). Liftoff was at 6:42 p.m. EST.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R). Liftoff was at 6:42 p.m. EST.

Click here to read more about the launch of GOES-R.

But what’s next for the nation’s most advanced weather satellite to-date?

The GOES-R team has confirmed satellite communication and power. Over the next several days, team members will perform a series of maneuvers to bring the satellite into geostationary orbit. This is expected to occur approximately 16 days after launch.

Once GOES-R — now GOES-16 — is placed in geostationary orbit, it will undergo an extended checkout and validation phase lasting approximately one year. The satellite will transition to operations immediately afterward. Whether it will serve as GOES East or GOES West has yet to be determined. The final decision will be based on the health and performance of the NOAA GOES constellation.

GOES-R’s New Imager is Faster and Clearer than Ever

GOES-R is NOAA’s most advanced geostationary weather satellite to-date. But how different can it really be?
Imagine going from a black and white TV to high definition overnight. GOES-R is faster and clearer than current GOES satellites, providing forecasters with more detail and more information than ever before.

Using a powerful new instrument, called the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, GOES-R will provide data and imagery about weather over the entire Western Hemisphere in real-time– it can even do it as frequently as every 30 seconds! This enables NOAA to gather data using three times more channels, four times the resolution, at five times faster than before. This faster, more accurate data means better observations of developing storms. The ABI will be used for a wide range of applications related to weather, oceans, land, climate and hazards.

This video from Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite, which uses a nearly identical imager to the one that will be aboard GOES-R, shows the incredible detail and clarity that will be available from NOAA’s new satellite. Located over the Asia-Pacific region, Himawari-8 provides geostationary Earth observations over the Eastern Hemisphere. This data, along with other geostationary satellites around the globe, help provide a more complete understanding of Earth from 22,000 miles away.


Learn more about the ABI.

GOES-R’s Revolutionary Lightning Mapper

Did you know that NOAA’s GOES-R satellite will carry the first operational lightning mapper ever flown in space?

Based on years of research, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, or GLM, is a revolutionary new instrument that will measure total lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground) activity continuously over the Americas and adjacent ocean regions with near-uniform spatial resolution.

Severe weather often exhibits a significant increase in lightning activity many minutes before radar can detect a potential storm. This data visualization shows actual lightning measurements captured by an array of ground-based lightning detectors capable of tracing how lightning propagates through the atmosphere. It simulates how the GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper will monitor atmospheric flashes in and around potentially severe weather. This technology could provide critical minutes of valuable warning time in advance of approaching severe storms.

GOES-R: Monitoring Space Weather

GOES-R will be a game changer for forecasting across the United States, but did you know Earth’s weather is not the only weather the satellite will monitor?

In today’s digital world, space weather is no joke. Geomagnetic storms, caused by eruptions on the surface of the sun, can interfere with communications and navigation systems on Earth, threaten power utilities, damage satellites, and cause risk to astronauts. GOES-R has a suite of instruments that play a critical role in monitoring space weather.

Check out this video to learn more about how GOES-R’s instruments will support NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

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66 thoughts on “State of the art weather satellite launched over the weekend promises huge gains in many areas

  1. Too bad NASA doesn’t have a satellite to measure the earth’s temperature. Instead they have to rely on the thermometer data from airports and ships from all sorts of countries, no matter how inept or corrupt, and then try and fill in the missing data in sparsely populated areas.

    You would think that a satellite would be ideal to measure the earth’s temperature. It could cover the whole planet and would be immune to the “human factor” that all too often can corrupt data. How does anyone know for sure that the 100 years of temperature data from Fumbuckistan weren’t simply the odds sheets from the local goat races? Where is the quality control?

    • There are satellites that measure Earth’s temperature, or aren’t you familiar with the UAH temperature data set?

      The GOES-R wouldn’t be very useful for that. It’s in a geostationary orbit (hence the “G” in its name), so it’s too far out for that and only looks at the same part of the planet all the time.

      • Satellites don’t measure “temperature”, they measure microwave brightness. Temperature from satellite measurements are the result of running the microwave reading through a “model,”

      • In that respect, a thermometer is also a model…

        Needs regular calibrating and scaling and relies on the expansion of a liquid due to temperature.

        So it isn’t a direct measurement either.

        Very little difference , really

      • @gallopingcamel, the difference is only in the model you use to retrieve the temperatures. A thermistor or other bimetal has a model of something versus “temperature” and the old mercury/alcohol thermometers have a different model of something versus temperature. The model used by the microwave spectrometers is just a different kind of model of black body radiation and spectral absorption, no more, no less. Been there, done that,, retrieved many hundreds of thousands of temperature profiles in my time.

      • MARKW says: “A model that has been tested and proven.”

        If they have been “proven” why have the datasets/models gone through the recent “adjustments?”

      • Camel,

        The adjustments have mostly been due to spacecraft anomalies that get detected then have to be dealt with. If the orbit drifts even a little bit that has to be compensated for. If the equipment shows electronic drift (things like resistors drifting in value over time) that has to be compensated for. Sometimes they make you wonder though when (like RSS) all the adjustments make things warmer.

      • The global daily, weekly, monthly or annual temperature anomalies that, for instance, GISS and HADCRUT provide are not data, they are the output of models. There is no convenient data point where we can insert an instrument and read off global temperature, therefore the agencies must collect data from various points around the world, feed them into their models, and then examine the output.

        Quite a lot of the information they input to these models is the output of previous models, and they quite often alter one or more of the models. It is important to note that changes to the various models don’t just affect today’s or this year’s number, but all the numbers throughout the range.

        For instance, both UAH and HADCRUT recently adopted a new model for global sea level temperatures which altered the output of their global anomaly models to show an increased slope, (again).

        Thus, whatever number these agencies issue as the ‘hottest ever!!” global temperature anomaly for 2016, it is safe to assume that this number is incorrect and will be changed by next year’s run of the model, or whenever the model is altered once more.

    • Ferd’s’ point is that they are not NASA satellites.

      AndyG55: not all thermometers work that way, though I’ve yet to see anyone adjust the calibration of a Mercury or thermocouple…

      • … I’ve yet to see anyone adjust the calibration of a Mercury or thermocouple …

        Thermometer calibration is a ‘big deal’, especially in the food industry. A quick google gives many pages of relevant links. You can’t just assume that you can buy a calibrated thermometer and that it will stay that way.

      • My Dad “adjusted” mercury thermometers all the time. He was an MD. Back in his day it was standard procedure to “whip” them to be sure all the mercury was at the bottom before use.
        (Though I never saw him scratch new numbers on the sides.8-)

      • Gunga Din November 21, 2016 at 4:08 pm
        My Dad “adjusted” mercury thermometers all the time. He was an MD. Back in his day it was standard procedure to “whip” them to be sure all the mercury was at the bottom before use.

        That was because those thermometers had a special design that the mercury column broke when the temperature fell below the maximum, thus giving a permanent readout of that temperature. Once you’d read the temperature you cooled it down then did the ‘whip’ to get all the mercury back in the bulb.

      • Steve, just because you’ve never seen something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
        You adjust a mercury thermometer by moving it up or down against the scale. Thermocouples are adjusted by changing the gain and offset on the amplifier. I’ve done both.

    • You can’t measure the kinetic energy of molecules at the surface with an instrument in space

      [technically, you can’t do that with a old style glass thermometer or electronic thermometer on the surface, either. Everything is a proxy for molecular kinetic energy. Some are better than others. -mod]

      • And, more importantly, you can’t measure the global temperature in 1850 to one hundredth of a degree Celsius, as you would like us to believe.

        Complete and udder nonsense.

      • You can’t measure the temperature at the surface on the 40%plus of the world land surface that doesn’t have thermometers, either, Mosh

        You just have to FABRICATE it.. Ask Muller.. he will explain in small words for you.

        He might even use the words “regional expectation” ;-)

      • “AndyG55 November 21, 2016 at 7:47 pm”

        Which excludes ~70% of the over sea surface. And they claim they know what a global average is?

    • Coincidentally, NASA’s latest ISS re-supply mission is also deploying four microsats from Spire Global that derive temperature and humidity profiles from SatNav signals. Another deluge of data.

  2. I was at the launch. We had just debarked from the Turner Classic Movies cruise. Had a hotel booked for the day and arrived too early to check in. Hotel clerk asked if we were doing anything that day and I responded that I’d like to complete my long desired pilgrimage to Kennedy. She said, “Good idea, there’s a launch tonight.”

    My heart skipped a beat. So I was at KSC and watched this one go up. I can now die a happy man.

    • There won’t be any adjustments necessary. The onboard software already contains the required Karlizing Al-Gore-ithms for the desired output

    • ****
      “From Figure 3 we can also see that because of this sun-earth geometry, the geostationary orbit is usually outside the cone of the earth’s shadow. That is, until around the times of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (the beginning of spring and fall). At these times, geostationary satellites enter their eclipse season, when they can spend as much as 70 minutes of every day in shadow. These seasons run from the end of February through the middle of April and the beginning of September through the middle of October.”
      https://celestrak.com/columns/v04n09/
      ****

      According to the video, they use EPIC/DSCVR as a second warning. Presumable, that covers the gaps during eclipse season.

      • Thank-you.

        The scale of that figure properly conveyed the fact that the satellite is way out in the GS orbit. Gotcha.

  3. definitely makes one wonder if actual data will be available or only massaged and coerced data?

    Cheers!
    Joe

  4. Goes-R the Traveler, Goes-R the Destructor, Volgiuus Zildrohar and Lord of the Seboullia, Hopefully this time it won’t turn into a giant Sloar. Pity the poor Shubs and Zuuls if it does.

  5. I understand that NOAA and NASA are prone to ignore satellite data that they don’t like. I hope this time it will be different.

    • Its all gone quiet about the data from the orbiting carbon observatory-2 (OCO-2). But apparently OCO-3 is in the works. I’ve read that it is going to be a sort of franken-satellite, made up of left over parts from OCO 1 & OCO-2. I really do want NASA to be able to continue collecting data that serves humanity, but I’m still not feeling the warmth from this series.

      • The whole business about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory has the feel of a made up scam thing cobbled together for political reasons without any real planning or direction ie what exactly are we supposed to measure, for how long are we supposed to measure it, what do we measure it with, to what accuracy and what reliability, and do we have the time to development the instruments that will really do the job?
        I believe the answer to these questions is obvious.

  6. Both the NOAA Director and the GOES-R Program Director were at KSC and gave presentations about the mission. Very interesting talks and neither of them said anything about climate change.

    There was a great static display of mock-ups of the instrument packages on the satellite and the guys and gals that designed them were on hand to explain them and how they were such a significant improvement on previous instruments.

    The launch window was from 5:42 to 6:42, there was a “glitch” but they got it worked out and launched at the very end of their available window. Our cab driver back to the hotel said we were really lucky. Most launches go off at or near their planned time or not at all. He said launching at the very end of the window is rare. Tons of people have planned trips to KSC to watch a launch only to have it scrubbed, then scrubbed again – and they never get to see it. I feel privileged and happy to have stumbled into the opportunity.

    Couple of things – visiting KSC is EXPENSIVE! Even if you keep it bare bones, it’s not a cheap trip. I hadn’t expected that.

    Also, there’s an IMAX theater. Shows a 3D IMAX movie of the ISS and the views are spectacular. Narrated by Jennifer Laurence, it wastes about 15 minutes of a 40 minute show on the horrors of climate change – with all the usual inaccuracies and glossing over of inconvenient facts.

    OMG! Greeland is MELTING!!! Uh, maybe – but we won’t have to worry about the results for a few thousand years. I agree that the burning of the Brazilian rain forest is tragic, but that’s what poor people do when they have to survive. Likewise, the view of pollution pouring out of the Ganges into the Indian Ocean is tragic. But, again, that’s what poor people do. They did show the stark dividing line at night between North and South Korea – but neglected to point out just why that was. The constant references to “fossil fuels” and “carbon pollution” were enough to make me gag. If you can turn off your BS detector long enough to sit through it, it’s probably worth it. The views from space are stunning.

  7. I think the PR on the increase in accuracy and time for warnings is a bit overblown, but they have to justify the expense. The older ones needed replacing but at that distance it will be difficult to increase warning time significantly on severe storms

    • @Gerald Machnee: I’m not sure what “distance” you’re referring to; all the other GOES satellites are also in GEO, and as noted in the article this bird’s capability is like going from black & white to HD4K. This thing really is a monster, and I can’t wait for it to come online.

  8. The delay time for a signal from geo-stationary orbit is only a few tenths of a second. Do you believe that will make much of difference one way or the other?
    The time they were refering to was getting updates every minute or two instead of just once every 15 minutes or so.

    • Geostationary orbit is 35,786 km, or, about 22,236 miles. .119369 seconds at light speed in a vacuum , plus a smudge more for the decline in speed in the atmosphere.

  9. I retired this year from the company that made both GLM, and SUVI. Before GLM, my wife, also an engineer, designed the imager for Optical Transit Detector (OTD) which flew on a pegasus, which showed the possibility of detecting lightening from space. It was followed up by Lightening Imaging Sensor (LIS) also designed by my wife, which flew on the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), with TRMM data Dr. Hugh Christian (the Principal Investigator) discovered a pattern in the lightening flashes that fifteen minutes later a tornado touched down. Every time it has been observed. I worked on the prototype for GLM, then moved on to another project. The data from the GOES satellite is down-linked continuously into the ground segment where it’s calibrated, and parsed into the various data products, and shipped to the users.
    GLM won’t make a big difference if you live near a big town with RADAR, and other early warning systems, but to the farmer in middle of nowhere Nebraska, that fifteen minutes of warning will let him get into his shelter and save his life.

  10. Just one simple question: Does either the spacecraft raw data processing software or the ground station final data processing and reporting software incorporate a Karl-ization algorithm?

    • Denis, I had the same thought. F the political BS. The people that are trying ( and succeeding with the launches) are cool and need to be applauded. It is how the results get used is what P’s me O.

  11. Another Earth Imaging Satellite just went up as well;

    https://www.harris.com/events/worldview-4-launch

    The “instruments” inside both were made by Harris Corp.

    All those Google Earth images you see on the net where produced by Earth Imaging Satellites made by Harris (and it’s predecessors including Eastman Kodak, a company that knows a thing or three about imaging).

    GOES-R is pretty high tech stuff. Here’s hoping it makes guesstimating the weather a bit easier.

    Cheers, KevinK

  12. I often see on here references to “lightening” when it’s obvious that what is meant is “lightning”. As far as I know, ‘lightening’ is not an Americanisation of ‘lightning’. This misspelling is even used by people one would think would know better.

    Am I just being too pedantic?

    • Lightening is another word- the opposite of darkening. Use it in the evening, use it in the fall ( by which I mean autumn). Use when the ( wind) ( solar) power’s failing, or don’t use it at all!

    • “Lightening” is an abomination, feel free to correct it when you can’t resist, even though it likely won’t help. :-) I don’t know why people don’t realize it’s wrong.

    • Luc Ozade (@Luc_Ozade)
      November 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      I often see on here references to “lightening” when it’s obvious that what is meant is “lightning”. As far as I know, ‘lightening’ is not an Americanisation of ‘lightning’. This misspelling is even used by people one would think would know better.

      Am I just being too pedantic?

      Yes I agree, although sometimes it might be a second language to the user. Being English and living in SW France I hate to think how many mistakes I make in my French language forays!

      The example I find truly exasperating is the use of lose and loose which seems endemic. One loosens one’s belt or tie but loses the race. The only thing that surprises me with this is the absence of a z in place of an s somewhere! :-)

      SteveT

  13. State of the art satellite with high resolution and fast cameras to watch weather in real time is not a tool for weather prediction, it is weather watching. This is quite explicit in how NASA views weather prediction. Namely, it is just junk. So get out the fast, multi-spectral cameras to watch the weather in real time and extrapolate more of that will occur in the new hour. Whoa, big scientific advance. Which also means there is no real prediction possible and none envisioned. However we are told they know where this is all leading to for the next 1000 years.

    • @Donald Kaspar: I’m sorry we couldn’t predict the tornado that sucked up your little girl & dropped her into a bad relationship w/Bill Paxton and a red Dodge pickup truck. We’ll try to do better next time.

      =P

    • If there was an archive of high-resolution imagery and video showing the weather & circulation patterns over south-east Australia during the 10 year “permanent” drought at the turn of the century, I could compare those patterns with the contemporary archive of wet weather patterns from the 1 year old Himawari-8.
      That might lead to some explanatory insight that could help with forecasting.

      At this point, I don’t think anyone can predict the next drought, or explain why they occur.
      Even the explanation for the eye wall of a cyclone has the word “mystery” in it:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_%28cyclone%29
      (cntrl+f, mystery)

      A pedestrian view has limits. We didn’t really discover internal waves until the satellite era.
      Sometimes you can learn stuff from watching.

      • “Sometimes you can learn stuff from watching.”

        Indeed! I only wish the legions of climate wanna be scientists heeded your excellent advice and watched the natural world a little bit. Spending time outside is the best cure for the many backwards assumptions that form the backbone of the climate alarm industry.

  14. As usual with the US government, what are the calibrations for the sensors? Who checks, publicly, the calibrations of the sensors? Those that have the keys for the calibrations, govern the results of the sensors.

    • What in the world are you talking about!?!? You obviously haven’t read the documentation of the sensors for *any* of the GOES current or past instruments. They are all passive optical imagers/sounders. The IR calibration is accomplished by looking at a ‘Blackbody’ heat source behind the primary mirror (which has 2 thermistors which send down the actual temperature in instrument/spacecraft telemetry) before each start of frame for the warm side of the thermal curve & they look at space (ultimate cold) every few scan lines during the frame for the cold side of the thermal curve and they keep the focal plane where the detectors are at a constant temperature through passive IR cooling.They know what these readings of hot/cold are supposed to be, they see what the reading actually are by what the instrument reports & they correct for the difference in real time. There is a 14-day history kept of all these hot/cold calibrations for long-term averaging. Very simple & public domain…it’s also my job.

      • One of the great things about WUWT is that there’s generally little point in “appeal to authority” or “dump on the authority” because he or she is often around. :-)

      • +1 JKrob Especially, thanks for describing for the masses (some of whom clearly did not know) what GOES-16’s “on-orbit calibration” capability actually means.

        Folks, the GOES constellation has been providing your local TV weatherperson satellite imagery & remote sensing data to use on the evening news for 40-odd years now; trolls aside, I cannot fathom a legitimate reason why a new & (far!) more capable model is suddenly a cause for derision, suspicion &/or outrage.

  15. TomB, November 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm
    “I was at the launch.”

    Living close to Cape Canaveral one tends to ignore rocket launches but this one took place one hour after sunset. My family loves night launches so we sat on the patio sipping our adult beverages even though it was a little chilly (15 Centigrade) until the rocket disappeared into the cloudless eastern sky.

    Please note that I am the real “Gallopingcamel”. The earlier posts on this thread are by an impostor, although a very smart one. I must say it is flattering to be hacked!

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