What is GOES?

Written by weatherTAP.com

Last updated 11/6/2017, 12:30:58 PM

The next choice we have on our list is GOES East or GOES West visible satellite. We've already talked about the difference between visible and infrared satellite, but what exactly is GOES?

First of all, GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. The satellite is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA that began in 1966. GOES's operational lifetime extends through December of 2036. There are two GOES satellites, one positioned at 75 degrees west longitude (GOES-East) and the other at 135 degrees west longitude (GOES-West) (see pic below). There is also one in the middle for backup, just in case something happens to one of the other two satellites.

As the name implies, these satellites are fixed at certain points above the earth, so we get a continuous picture of the earth below them. And, of course, GOES East gives you a view of the eastern side of North America, while GOES West gives you a view of the western side of North America.

Now, we have GOES-16. GOES-16 is providing incredible images of storms faster than any other satellite data we've ever known. GOES-16 can scan in 15 minute, 5 minute, or 30-60 second intervals, all at the same time! This allows for incredible evaluation of storms in real-time. The satellite also has 4 times greater resolution, while being five times faster than ever. In addition, hurricane tracking, warning lead-times for severe thunderstorms, lightning detection, and solar flare warnings will all be improved with the addition of GOES-16. The addition of GOES-16 will allow us to see the weather like never before. GOES-16 will take the place of GOES East, while another launched satellite will take the place of GOES West next year (2018).

Update: As of 2/12/19, GOES-17 is now operational, effectively replacing GOES-15 as NOAA's GOES West satellite.