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Satellite Imagery

Contents:
Positions of geostationary satellites GOES-West (GOES-17, scheduled to be replaced by GOES-18 in January 2023), GOES-East (GOES-16), Meteosat 0 degree (Meteosat-11), Meteosat IODC for Indian Ocean Data Coverage (Meteosat-9) and Himawari-8. While this is not a complete listing of geostationary satellites, these are the ones this page mainly focuses on.
This page focuses mostly on visible and infrared satellite imagery. Additional satellite-derived data is available on our Wind Data page (upper level wind, surface wind imagery and satellite-derived intensity estimate techniques) and our Ocean Data page (sea surface temperature and waves).

GOES-East and GOES-West Imagery

Example of GOES-R Series home page
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) "latest generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES), known as the GOES-R Series, is the nation's most advanced fleet of geostationary weather satellites. Geostationary satellites circle the Earth in geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the Earth's equatorial plane at a speed matching the Earth's rotation. This allows them to stay in a fixed position in the sky, remaining stationary with respect to a point on the ground. GOES satellites continually view the Western Hemisphere from approximately 22,300 miles above Earth. GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch and renamed with a number once they reach geostationary orbit." GOES-R Mission Overview | Wikipedia article about GOES satellites

GOES-East (GOES-16; Wikipedia article) is a geostationary satellite located above 0°N 75.2°W and provides views of most of North and South America, including most of the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

GOES-West (GOES-17; Wikipedia article) is a geostationary satellite located above 0°N 137.3°W and provides views of most of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, including parts of North America. In January 2023, GOES-18 (GOES-18; Wikipedia article) is scheduled to replace GOES-17 as GOES-West. You can learn more here.

These satellites are part of the GOES-R series of satellites.

"The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument on the GOES-R Series for imaging Earth's weather, oceans and environment. ABI views the Earth with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on the previous generation of GOES), including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels." You can learn more here, where you can download an in-depth PDF fact sheet for each band. Imagery is available for the full disk (usually every 15 minutes), Contiguous U.S. (CONUS, usually every 5 minutes) and two mesoscale regions (usually every minute) that change. You can learn more about that here. You can view the GOES-R series FAQ here.

Tropical Cyclone Imagery

Overlays for Google Earth

If you have the desktop version of Google Earth, a free program, you can download and open the files below to view various overlays.

Saharan Air Layer (SAL) Analysis

Meteosat Imagery

Meteosat Series home page from EUMETSAT
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) "currently operates Meteosat-9, -10 and -11" satellites in a "geostationary orbit (36,000km) over Europe and Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The Meteosat satellites are operated as a two-satellite system providing detailed full disc imagery over Europe and Africa every 15 minutes and rapid scan imagery over Europe, every five minutes. Meteosat imagery is crucial for nowcasting, which is about detecting rapidly developing high impact weather and predicting its evolution a few hours ahead, in support of the safety of life and property. Observations are also used for weather forecasting (as input to numerical weather prediction models), and for climate monitoring." "Meteosat satellites have been providing crucial data for weather forecasting since 1977." You can learn more about the Meteosat Series of satellites from EUMETSAT here. You can also find some information through Wikipedia here.

EUMETSAT has a wide variety of image types from their Meteosat satellites on their site. You can view information guides on some of their imagery here. The layers in their interactive viewer are available for other sites to use as WMS layers. You can click here for the WMS GetCapabilities request that you can use.

You can view an introduction to the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) channels (bands) here. You can also view information in the PDF document here. In the "Other Sites" sections below we include links to some sites that have each specific channel. Some sites have eleven channels and some sites also include the twelfth channel (HRV, high resolution visible).

For status information on data from their satellites, as well as GOES-East, GOES-West and Himawari-8, visit their Operational Service Status Indicator (OSSI) page here.

The "CIMSS Satellite Blog" sometimes includes imagery from Meteosat satellites. You can view the "Meteosat" category on their blog here.

Himawari Imagery

JMA's Meteorological Satellite Center home page
"The Himawari series of geostationary meteorological satellites", operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), "provides constant and uniform coverage of the earth from around 35,800 km above the equator with an orbit corresponding to the period of the earth's rotation. This allows them to perform uninterrupted observation of meteorological phenomena such as typhoons, depressions and fronts." You can learn more here from the JMA. You can also find some information through Wikipedia here.

For the operational status of their satellites, click here. Himawari-8, launched in October 2014, is currently their operational spacecraft. Himawari-9, launched in November 2016, is on standby in-orbit. (and appears to be near the same position as Himawari-8 based on their website) Himawari-9 is scheduled to become operational in 2022 when it will take over for Himawari-8, which would then go on standby. You can view information about that here.

Both Himawari-8 and Himawari-9 contain the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI). "Himawari-8/9's AHIs have 16 observation bands (3 for visible, 3 for near-infrared and 10 for infrared)." You can view more information about the Himawari-8/9 satellites in the PDF file here.

Like the GOES geostationary satellites, Himawari also has a mesoscale floater. They have a single one, when available, and it may be referred to as a "Target Area" on some sites. It might be used for such things as tropical cyclones and volcanic ash.

Other Satellites

This section contains imagery from other satellites. While there are other satellites with data, this page focuses on some of the ones that have a lot of data available online.

Miscellaneous Imagery

Other Information on NOAA's GOES Satellites

Page last modified on September 15, 2022