How Weather Prediction Just got Better

In November of 2016 Nasa launched the latest in its weather forecasting satellites. The Goes-16 (though still named the Goes-R on Nasa’s website) promises to “provide atmospheric and surface measurements … for weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, space weather monitoring, and meteorological research.” Outfitted with the latest in microchip technology and set for a 15-year mission, it is predicted that the Goes-16 will be able to provide up to five times faster coverage compared to previous satellites. Goes-16 will also improve, amongst other things,  tornado and hurricane predicting lead time.

The Goes-r.gov site allows you to check in on the satellites most recent photos of earth in multiple formats including infrared and water vapor imagery. The availability of this data will enable amateur and professional meteorologists alike to predict future weather patterns more accurately. The aim is to enable private institutions, individuals, and of course the National Weather Service to be able to use this imagery to enhance their capabilities. It is also the first geostationary orbiting satellite to be able to map lightning, useful in more accurate storm tracking and pattern recognition.

The satellite will not just increase our knowledge of what is happening on Earth, however. The GOES-R is packed with many advanced instruments that will be used to enhance our capability of detecting space weather and solar events. The Magnetometer aboard will be used to help determine if dangers (based on charged particle dynamics) to spacecraft and other space-based devices are present -this data is some of the most widely used by the global space research community.

All in all, the Goes-16 has significantly increased the capability of meteorological predictions as well as the collection of data in space -along with a whole slew of other uses that would require much more time, and perhaps a more intelligent writer, to explain.