Monthly Archives: January 2017

GOES-16 Preview

The first next generation US Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) was recently launched by the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) on November 19th of 2016, designated as GOES-R.  This new series of satellites will provide 34 meteorological, solar and space weather products.  They orbit above a fixed point at the earth’s equator at a distance of about 22,300 miles out in space.   As with all US meteorological satellites, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has taken over operation of the satellite and designated it GOES-16.  Below is a link to a visible composite color high resolution full-disk test image from midday January 15th of 2017 provided by NOAA.  To see the image in full resolution, click on the reduced image below which will take you to NOAA’s web site to view the full resolution image (use scroll bars or browser magnification tool to navigate) and you can return here by using your browser back button.

Additional test images can be seen here:
GOES-16 Image Gallery

Here is an animation showing the 16 different imagery channels available:

Below is a description of the satellite and its uses.

In May 2017, NOAA will announce the new location for GOES-16.  It will replace either GOES-East or GOES-West and will become operational in November 2017.  The next satellite in the series, GOES-S, is scheduled for launch in spring 2018 and should be operational by a year later.

Information about data access can be found here:
GOES-R User Systems

NASA also has a useful web page for viewing real-time and archived high resolution imagery from three polar orbiting satellites here:
NASA Worldview


2016 Precipitable Water Animation

I ran into this animation on the interwebs.  It’s a great visualization of atmospheric water vapor in the atmosphere and how it moves from the tropics to the poles.  Water in its various forms, including oceans, lakes, water vapor, clouds, rain, snow, ice, and glaciers, is a major player in weather and thus climate.  It is perhaps the most dominant player besides incoming solar radiation which is the main driver of the weather-climate heat engine.

Keep in mind that this animation does not show liquid water, as in clouds and fog, which are also very important in the weather-climate energy budget.  The air typically has very low water vapor content in the polar regions, allowing other greenhouse gases to have more of an effect than where water vapor is much more abundant, as in the tropics.  However, because of the very cold polar temperatures, clouds, fog, and precipitation still occur there, which somewhat limits the effect of other greenhouse gases in the polar regions.

The Earth web site where this video originated is also a great visualization tool for looking at current, past, and forecast weather conditions, as well as some ocean conditions.  Click on the link below for an example showing the current wind flow and temperature.


When you visit the above link, click on the “earth” label in the bottom left corner to pop up a menu with many options to select.  Also, the J and K keys will step the selected display forward or backward one time step (3 hours).  The weather data displayed is from the Global Forecast System (GFS).  Be sure to give the globe a spin by clicking and dragging.  If you have a mouse, use the mouse roller bar to zoom in and out.