24/01/2017 18:19 GMT | Updated 03/05/2017 12:18 BST

Earth Like You've Never Seen It Before – NOAA Weather Satellite Returns First Images


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.”

This composite color full-disk visible image was created using several of the 16 spectral channels available on the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument. The image shows North and South America and the surrounding oceans.

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.

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the moon for calibration.
NOAAs GOES-16 satellite captures a view of the entire Western Hemisphere including Argentina, South America. Storms are evident in the northeast and mountain wave clouds can be seen in the southwest.
The Saharan Dust Layer can be seen in the far right edge of this image of Earth. This dry air from the coast of Africa can have impacts on tropical cyclone intensity and formation. GOES-16’s ability to observe this phenomenon with its 16 spectral channels will enable forecasters to study related hurricane intensification as storms approach North America.