US: In a joint partnership, NASA and NOAA will put a weather satellite into space this weekend. The mission will replace the GOES program, i.e., “Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.”
The GOES has been under operation for more than 40 years and provided continuous pictures and data to help forecasters. WCCO Director of Meteorology Mike Augustyniak is at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to cover the launch. The new satellite is called GOES-R, and it will be launched using an AtlasV rocket Thursday night.
WCCO Director of Meteorology Mike Augustyniak is at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to cover the launch.
“It’s like going from a black-and-white TV to high definition,” said Laura K. Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service.
NOAA’s current fleet of three GOES satellites are all outfitted with 1990s technology. The launch of GOES-R — and three other similar satellites — will bring the U.S. fleet back up to the state-of-the-art, and extend the life of the GOES program through December 2036.
“It’s three times as many channels, or spectral bands, and so that gives us 15 channels to look at, from visible imagery to infrared imagery,” Furgione said.
“Five times faster we will receive this information,” Furgione said. “We’ll be able to see the continental United States every five minutes. And then you can do a superscan on two different areas. For example, Hurricane Matthew, we can do a superscan and receive satellite imagery every 30 seconds.”
That is a capability Japan’s weather satellite has had for two years now. It is huge help in forecasting Midwestern tornadoes and floods.
“But when nine out of 10 fatalities are associated with flooding, it’s really important that we have an understanding of where the greatest amount of rainfall is,” Furgione said.