First images come in from new weather satellite

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The newest tool in weather forecasting and observation isn’t fully operational yet, but it’s sending back its first pictures from orbit. GOES-16 was launched in November and these new images signal the new “hi-def era of weather observation.

“Seeing these first images from GOES-16 is a foundational moment for the team of scientists and engineers who worked to bring the satellite to launch and are now poised to explore new weather forecasting possibilities with this data and imagery,” said Stephen Volz, Ph.D., NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services. “The incredibly sharp images are everything we hoped for based on our tests before launch. We look forward to exploiting these new images, along with our partners in the meteorology community, to make the most of this fantastic new satellite.”

GOES-16 is the first spacecraft in the GOES-R series of four new NOAA geostationary satellites, capturing higher resolution images of weather patterns and atmospheric phenomena than any of NOAA’s GOES satellites to-date. The higher resolution will allow forecasters to pinpoint the location of severe weather with greater accuracy, ultimately saving lives.

“This image is much more than a pretty picture, it is the future of weather observations and forecasting,” said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. “High resolution imagery from GOES-16 will provide sharper and more detailed views of hazardous weather systems and reveal features that previous instruments might have missed, and the rapid-refresh of these images will allow us to monitor and predict the evolution of these systems more accurately. As a result, forecasters can issue more accurate, timely, and reliable watches and warnings, and provide better information to emergency managers and other decision makers.”

We still don’t know whether this satellite will be oriented for a western or eastern orbit, but it should be fully operational by November of 2017.

For more information about NOAA’s satellites visit: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/.

GOES-16 Image Gallery: https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/goes-16-image-gallery

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