The new NOAA weather satellite has returned its first images of Earth, and they’re just as stunning as we’d hoped.
Photographs from the GOES-16 satellite will be cross-referenced with three more weather satellites still set to be launched. The network is promised to usher in a new era of more accurate forecasting.
“This is a quantum leap,” Sandra Cauffman, deputy director of Earth Sciences at NASA, said at a press conference when GOES-16 launched last November. “It will truly revolutionise weather forecasting.”
GOES-16 can capture images in 16 different wavelengths, 11 more than its predecessor, enabling it to differentiate between clouds, water vapour, smoke, ice and volcanic ash.
As well as distinguishing between a range of different particles, the satellite also features a lightning mapper, which tracks strikes between clouds, and clouds and the group, which signals storms of increasing intensity.