The next generation GOES satellites (beginning with GOES-R) will include the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) with vastly improved spectral, spatial and temporal resolution relative to the current GOES I-M series satellites. It will also include a lightning mapper which, together with the ABI, offers the potential to significantly improve the analysis and forecasts of tropical storms and severe weather. The GOES-R era will begin early in the next decade, and will be part of a global observing system that includes polar orbiting satellites with comparable spatial and spectral resolution instrumentation.
One of the advantages of GOES-R is the high temporal resolution that is possible from geostationary orbit. The emphasis of work done by CIRA and the RAMMB team is on mesoscale atmospheric phenomena that evolve on time scales faster than that which can be sampled from polar orbiting satellites. These phenomena include tropical cyclones, severe weather and mesoscale aspects of winter weather, as well as the detection of atmospheric hazards such as fog, dust and volcanic ash. We also perform data assimilation experiments in coordination with the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) and are working on expanding a well-developed training component which is being coordinated with the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) program and the Satellite Hydrology and Meteorology (SHyMet) Training Program.
One of RAMMB’s more recent GOES-R3 studies focuses on the positive correlation between lightning and rapid intensification of tropical cyclones. Figure 1 shows an example of lightning strikes associated with Hurricane Rita on 21 September 2005.