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Weather Satellites Facts

Satellites that record weather data are called weather satellites. Scientists and researchers can access weather data from them constantly. 

Vanguard 2 was the first weather satellite launched in 1959. However. Its lack of an axis of rotation and poor orbit restricted its ability to collect useful data. 

NASA first launched a low-Earth orbital weather satellite in 1960 called TIROS-1 that lasted 78 days, but it showed the potential of tracking our weather patterns from space.

The satellites got bigger and now orbit on polar orbits, or geostationary.

Weather Satellites Facts for Kids

  • Using weather satellites has improved forecasting capabilities.
  • Countries such as the United States, Japan, China, and Europe have weather satellites.
  • Satellite images are easy to interpret.
  • Satellites can monitor crops, droughts, and deforestation.
  • We can monitor snow and ice movements by using satellites
  • They also collect data from ocean buoys, earthquake measuring stations, and weather stations.

Two Types of Weather Satellites

The two types of weather satellites are polar-orbiting and geostationary. 

They both produce highly different images and information and have unique characteristics.

Each satellite views the same spot on the Earth twice daily, in its north-south orbit. 

Pole-orbiting satellites provide images and atmospheric soundings of temperature and moisture across the entire Earth. 

Geostationary orbit 22,000 miles above the equator, rotate at the same rate as the Earth, and follow the same path. 

This allows satellites to take photos of the Earth every 30 minutes at the same location. 

A geostationary satellite can be used to monitor how weather conditions including storms develop and change over time.

Through computer modeling, forecasters make “movie loops” from the data that they use as a real-time “bird’s-eye view” from space.

What is GOES

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), operated by the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service division, help with meteorological research and forecasting

Weather satellites help meteorologists observe, predict and assess local weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, hurricanes, and flash floods. A lot of data from GOES is also useful for detecting dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires.

What is Meteosat

Meteosat launched by European Space Agency. It provides infrared and visible light imaging of the Earth’s weather. 

It has an orbit 35,000 km above the equator and Greenwich Meridian.

It sends half-hourly images in infrared and visible light, digitally encoded and high resolution, to its operational ground base station in Germany. These images are processed here and sent out around the world.

How many weather satellites are there

9 satellites are currently flying in space to help monitor the ever changing weather

More Interesting Weather Satellite Facts

Scientists can use satellites to measure the amount of radiation released by the earth’s surface.

Meteorological satellites can tell fishermen the weather, give them a sense of the ocean’s temperature, and whether it’s OK to venture out in the ocean.

Using satellites, a weather forecaster can determine the amount of snow and ice. They can also figure out how fast the melting ice will increase water levels throughout the world.

They are able to monitor crops, droughts, and areas where deforestation occurs.