The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-8 (GOES-8), the first in the GOES IM series of advanced meteorological satellites was launched in April 1994 and became operational at 75 W longitude the following year. GOES-8 features numerous improvements over prior GOES platforms such as 1) improved resolution in the infrared (IR) and water vapor bands, 2) reduced instrument noise, 3) 10-bit visible and IR digitization, 4) greater image frequency, 5) more spectral bands, and 6) an independent sounder. A qualitative and quantitative comparison of the imager data from GOES-8 and GOES-7 shows that imagery from the newer spacecraft is superior in most respects. Improvements in resolution and instrument noise on GOES-8 provide sharper, cleaner images that allow easier detection of significant meteorological or oceanographic features. Infrared temperature comparisons between GOES-8 and GOES-7 were within 0.52.0C for all IR bands, indicating consistency between the two spacecraft. Visible band albedos from GOES-8 were at least 50 greater than GOES-7 for a wide range of scenes, suggesting that output from the GOES-7 visible detectors had degraded since its launch in 1987. Products derived from GOES-8 imager data for observing fog at night, fire detection, heavy precipitation estimation, and upper-level winds based on cloud or water vapor motion have been shown to be superior to similar products from GOES-7. Early difficulties with image registration and IR striping were alleviated after the first year. Based on the performance of GOES-8, future spacecraft in the GOES IM series can be expected to provide many years of useful service to meteorologists, oceanographers, and the environmental monitoring community.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 22, 1998
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