GOES meteorological satellites
The numerous civil and military satellites orbiting around us are currently able to observe practically every point of the planet. All the data collected by the various meteorological satellites converge in a worldwide observation network that enables the exchange of data and integration of the received information. GOES satellites (Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite) belong to a US meteorological observation programme with satellites, that began between the 70s and 80s.
The programme foresees the contemporary presence of two orbiting satellites, GOES-W and GOES-E that are currently of the GOES 8 class of satellites, that keep the western and eastern coasts of the United States, respectively, under control, besides Mexico and Canada.
The first satellites of this series were able to forward images of the Earth’s surface every 40 minutes, due to problems related to the techniques required to stabilize the orbit, however the new GOES can forward data every 10-15 minutes. The satellites can record readings in visible light conditions and infra red band (using 19 different wavelengths), and in this way it is possible to monitor the temperature and air humidity at the different altitudes, to identify and reconstruct the air masses’ movements, to elaborate data on the concentrations of gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane.