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GOES-R Preview for Broadcast Meteorologists

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

From June 10-12, broadcast meteorologists gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the American Meteorological Society’s 43rd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology. In conjunction with the conference, the GOES-R program offered a short course on June 9, “GOES-R Preview for Broadcasters,” designed to increase awareness of GOES-R capabilities and how the new satellite data can benefit the viewing public.

Broadcast meteorologists participate in a hands-on demonstration of future GOES-R products. Credit: GOES-R Series Program
Broadcast meteorologists participate in a hands-on demonstration of future GOES-R products. Credit: GOES-R Series Program

The session highlighted the improved instruments that will fly on the GOES-R satellite, including the Advanced Baseline Imager and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), along with the suite of new GOES-R products that will provide improved environmental observations, forecasts and warnings. These new measurements will offer broadcasters unprecedented information to showcase a variety of environmental phenomena to their audiences. 

The course also offered hands-on experience with simulated GOES-R data and the meteorologists were enthusiastic about the new capabilities, including new lightning data. Lightning “jumps” are frequently associated with increasingly severe weather and the GOES-R GLM will detect total lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground) in near-real time. There was widespread agreement that the meteorologists would use this revolutionary new data in their broadcasts. 

Dan Satterfield, chief meteorologist at WBOC TV in Salisbury, Maryland, spoke at the session about his visit to NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) Spring Experiment and what he learned by taking part in the GOES-R Proving Ground, stating, “You have no idea how much forecasting is about to change as we head into the GOES-R era!” he declared. Erica Grow, meteorologist with WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C., concurred, “This program can be a terrific way for broadcast meteorologists to learn about new technology in our field.

GOES-R is slated to launch in 2016. The GOES-R program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between NOAA and NASA. The GOES-R series satellites are the next generation of geostationary Earth-observing systems and will provide significant improvements in the detection and observations of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and prosperity. 

For more information about the GOES-R Series Program and the science behind the satellites, visit Presentations from the conference are also available via the GOES-R website.