Mar 26, 1998

NASA link provides real-time satellite weather images



NASA link provides


real-time satellite weather pictures



March 26, 1998: Weather around the globe and around your block is on call, around the clock, via the Internet from a NASA-university research center.

The site includes an interactive viewer that lets you zoom in on the region of your choice. Major land features are visible when the atmosphere is clear. When it's cloudy, you can see major weather formations from above the cloud tops.The site also allows you to animate satellite views at low-resolution as well as provide image sequences on-demand at your point of interest. The capabilities of this site are analogous to the concept recently proposed by Vice President Al Gore to provide real-time satellite views of the Earth to the public via the web.

Images of the western hemisphere, like the one at right, are broadcast every 30 minutes by the GOES-8 weather satellite and posted to the net within 15 minutes by the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) in Huntsville, Ala.

The URL for the new GOES interactive site is:

The GHCC is a joint endeavor by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Universities Research Association, and the Space Science and Technology Alliance of the State of Alabama (including six state universities).

The GHCC needs access to geostationary satellite data to monitor short-term components of the Earth's water cycle and to develop a long-term data base for regional applications and climate research.

To meet this need, the center recently set up a ground station to gather data from GOES-8, which is positioned 35,680 km (22,300 mi) above the equator at 74.7 deg. W longitude.

Every 15 minutes, GOES transmits a new visible-light image of North America at 1 km (0.6 mi) resolution, like the one above, and infrared and water vapor images at 4 km (2.4 mi) resolution.

While the visible image channel will fade to black at night, the infrared imagers - using heat emitted by the Earth - continue to produce images. In addition, the GHCC provides a mirror site duplicating images provided by the U.S. GOES-9 satellite, Japan's GMS-5 satellite and China's FY-2 satellite over the rest of the globe.

Real-time geostationary satellite data (delayed only 12-14 minutes from collection time) are available to anyone on the Internet in both picture form (gif and jpg files), using an interactive point-and-click viewer, and at full digital resolution via anonymous ftp from real-time GOES Data. This data stream is also be used to generate real-time products - cloud maps, fields of land surface temperature, insolation, winds, and total precipitable water - in support of model assimilation efforts, urban heat island studies, and other project activities to begin later this year.

For more information on the Vice President's proposal, check the CNN story, Gore's satellite would give 24-hour view of Earth


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Author: Dave Dooling
Curator: Bryan Walls
NASA Official: John M. Horack