NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SATELLITE PRODUCTS
NOAA's operational weather satellite system is composed of two types of
satellites: geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES) for
short-range warning and "now-casting" and polar-orbiting satellites for
longer-term forecasting. Both kinds of satellite are necessary for providing
a complete global weather monitoring system. The
NOAA Satellite Information System (NOAASIS) weather satellites webpage
has extensive information on both types of satellite.
NOAA GOES Satellites
GOES satellite provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for
intensive data analysis. They circle the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which means
they orbit the equatorial plane of the Earth at a speed matching the Earth's rotation.
This allows them to hover continuously over one position on the surface. GOES satellites
provide visible and infrared radiometer data that are used for imaging purposes, radiation
measurements, and temperature profiles. GOES satellite imagery is used to estimate
rainfall amounts, snow accumulation, and overall extent of snow cover.
In addition, satellite sensors detect ice fields and map the movement of sea and lake ice.
NOAA Polar Orbiting Satellites
Polar-orbiting satellites serve a different purpose than GOES satellites. Two polar-orbiting
satellites constantly circle the Earth in an almost north-south orbit, passing close to the
poles. The orbits are circular and sun synchronous. This pair of satellite ensures that
data for any region on the Earth are no more than six hours old. The polar-orbiting
satellite supply similar products as the GOES satellites. Although the polar-orbitors cover much
more of the Earth, the measurements for a particular region are not updated continuously like the
NOAA satellite imagery is received and distributed by NOAA's National
Environmental Satellite Information Service (NESDIS). Visit the GOES
webpage to learn more about NOAA weather satellites. The Worldwide
Radiofacsimile webpage contains listings of vendors who supply satellite
receiving systems for shipboard applications as well as technical information
on satellite reception.
During this decade, through 2010, substantial changes will be made to the NOAA constellation of polar orbiting and geostationary
satellites. These changes are being implemented to take advantage of new technologies, the requirements for additional and different
data, and the need to achieve a cost effective United States environmental satellite program.
Read about Future NOAA Polar Orbiting and Geostationary Satellite Systems.