DISCUSSION: November 13th, 2018 became an important date for the remote sensing community. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 17 on March 1st, 2018, November 13th marked the date that GOES-17 reached its final orbit. It is expected that GOES-17 will be the operational GOES West satellite beginning December 10th, 2018.
This exciting occasion is expected to mark a time where high-definition images will now be relayed to earth of the Pacific region. Previous satellites marked heavy limitations on coverage for OCONUS (Outside Continental United States Overseas-often Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories), wherein GOES-17 comes to play.
GOES-17 will provide a notable improvement in the ability for meteorologists to forecast weather. The satellite offers similar remote sensing tools to that of GOES-16, considered the eastern position of satellite orbit for the Americas. The ABI or Advanced Baseline Imager is expected to, “offer the same high-resolution visible and infrared imagery in GeoColor and 16 different channels, allowing us to track and monitor cloud formation, atmospheric motion, convection, land surface temperatures, fire and smoke, volcanic ash, sea ice and more, according to NESDIS (National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service).
Previously, lower resolution images of Hawaii, and Alaska were being transmitted providing little clarity for forecasters. GOES-17 will contribute a critical mend to the issue of resolution, providing clearer imagery of our OCONUS states. The importance in this is the difference in atmospheric and environmental conditions in those locations that prove to be difficult to analyze. Hawaii being home to 11 of 13 climate zones, volcanoes, and its sheer location in the Pacific, makes understanding the Hawaiian environment a difficult one for atmospheric scientists. Alaska posing some similar forecasting issues with volcanoes (ash), sunlight, sea ice extent, a variety of conditions that GOES-17 is hoping to resolve especially given its capabilities regarding monitoring volcanic ash, sea ice and land surface temperatures. These high-resolution images will allow forecasters to properly determine orographic issues that may not have been previously seen on imagery.
Current images being transmitted from GOES-17 are considered non-operational. December 10th, 2018 will mark the date for GOES-17 operational use, another landmark date for atmospheric scientists as data can be officially transmitted for practical use.
For more information on remote-sensing products visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
“NESDIS News & Articles.” NESDIS NOAA, 15 Nov. 2018, www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/noaa-goes-17-shares-first-images-alaska-hawaii-and-pacific.