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University of Nebraska–Lincoln



The GOES Imager is a multi-channel instrument designed to sense radiant and solar-reflected energy from sampled areas of the Earth. The multi-element spectral channels simultaneously sweep east-west and west-east along a north-to-south path . The instrument can produce full-Earth images, sector images that contain the edges of the Earth, and various sizes of area scans. Scan selection permits rapid continuous viewing of local areas for monitoring of regional phenomena and accurate wind determination.

IMAGER CHANNELS AND PRODUCTS

Channel

1

2

3

4

5

Wavelength (m)

0.65

3.9

6.7

11

12

PRODUCT
Clouds
x

x

x

x

x

Water Vapor


x

x

x

Surface Temp.

0


x

0

Winds
x


x

x


Albedo & IR Flux
x


0

x

0

Fires & Smoke
x

x


0

0

KEY: * = new operational data x = primary channel o = secondary channel

The visible imagery represents return signals in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum--similar to what would be seen by the naked eye. Hence, we only have these images updated during the daytime hours. However, dark areas on the early morning images and evening are regions where the sun has yet to rise.

The infrared (IR) imagery represents IR return signals from clouds and also the earth's surface, which are sensed by special instruments aboard the GOES satellites. This allows us to "see" clouds even at night. The coldest returns show up as the brightest whites and warmest temperatures as the darkest blacks with various grayscales in between.

Watch the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. These areas often turn very dark during the afternoon because the land surfaces heat up rapidly when there is little cloud cover, which is typical for these regions. Conversely, thunderstorm tops are very cold because they are so high in the atmosphere and they will appear as the brightest clouds. In general the higher the cloud is in the atmosphere, the colder it will be. Hence, lower clouds will appear darker and may be confused with the earth's surface, when they are at or near the same temperatures.