Weather Forecasting ‘Game Changer’

November 21, 2016

1371724873_Rain_brad-sharpLight-misty drizzle this Monday morning on California’s north coast, occassional sunshine, though, mostly wet weather expected the next few days.
According to the NWS, we’re to get a wet Thursday: ‘The heaviest rain is expected to fall Thanksgiving day through Friday…‘ At least according to current technology.

Last Saturday night the GOES-R, the most powerful weather satellite ever built, and operated by the US NOAA, was launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Fla.  The weather business will soon get serious.
Greg Mandt, NOAA’s GOES-R program director: ‘“For 40 years, we’ve sort of had the same simple pictures. Meteorologists are calling this a game-changer from their ability to watch what’s going on and warn the nation.”

Camera on the weather in real time…

(Illustration: ‘Rain,’ by Brad Sharp, found here).

Sixteenth in the GOES series dating back to 1975, GOES-R is expected to be at final orbit in two weeks.
The operation a collaborative effort of NASA and the NOAA. When the satellite reaches orbit it will get a new name, GOES-16, and operational within a year.
Details of the GOES-R at NASA, including:

GOES-R carries six scientific payloads and a data relay payload.
Its nadir-pointing — Earth-facing — instruments are mounted on the side of the satellite which will be pointed towards Earth in orbit.
Solar-pointing instruments are located on the arm which holds the satellite’s solar array; to provide power to the spacecraft this arm must track the sun, allowing its instruments to make near-constant observations. Further sensors will allow the satellite to study its surrounding environment.
The primary instrument aboard GOES-R is its Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), built by Harris Corporation of Florida.
Producing images across sixteen spectral bands from visible to infrared, ABI can achieve a spatial resolution of 500 metres (547 yards) at its primary visible-light wavelength of 0.64 nanometres and 2,000 metres (2,187 yards) in the infrared; roughly twice the resolution of the imager aboard the GOES-N series, which only operates in five spectral bands.
The imager can be used to produce full-disc images of the Earth or more targeted regional scans — including of the continental United States or in a mesoscale imaging mode that allows it to image a square box with sides of one thousand kilometers (621.4 miles, 540.0 nautical miles).
In normal operation, the spacecraft will take four full-disc images, twelve scans of the continental United States and up to 120 mesoscale images every hour.

Weird, dangerous weather in real time…happy?

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