New weather satellite blasts forecasters

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One of the most advanced weather satellites will soon be orbiting in space, helping forecasters anticipate a host of severe weather events for the western United States and from Alaska to New Zealand.

This is important because many weather systems originate in the Pacific Ocean where, until now, forecasters have been hampered by a lack of high-quality data. Over the next two weeks, the GOES-S (which will be renamed GOES-17) will be in orbit 22,300 miles above the earth and ready for testing.

It took off from Cape Canaveral on March 1.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says its satellite will collect three times the data at four times the resolution and scan the Earth five times faster than previous satellites. GOES-16 is already in place in the eastern United States

Here is what GOES-17 can do:

  • Help forecasters better predict and prepare for extreme weather conditions.
  • Provide reliable storm data when radar can’t, like Hurricane Maria.
  • Watch for lightning from cloud to cloud and from cloud to ground.
  • Locate wildfire hotspots faster with red-green-blue thermal infrared imaging.
  • Predict tornadoes faster.

The data is fed into computer models used by National Weather Service forecasters.

NOAA says the GOES series is the first leap in weather satellite capability in more than 20 years.

“When you think, now, the availability of information from satellites, from the ground, from aircraft, from the whole Internet of Things is going to allow some integration of information in a way that we can understand the earth as a much more holistic system than ever before,” according to Stephen Voltz, NOAA’s acting secretary for environmental observing and prediction.

It also helps your smartphone weather app to be more accurate and faster.

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