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due to launch November 2016
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Operational Environmental Satellite
Polar Orbiting Satellites
The POES satellite system offers the advantage of daily global coverage, by making nearly polar orbits roughly 14.1 times daily. Since the number of orbits per day is not an integer the sub orbital tracks do not repeat on a daily basis, although the local solar time of each satellite's passage is essentially unchanged for any latitude. Currently in orbit we have a morning and afternoon satellite, which provide global coverage four times daily. The POES system includes the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Tiros Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS).
Because of the polar orbiting nature of the POES series satellites, these satellites are able to collect global data on a daily basis for a variety of land, ocean, and atmospheric applications. Data from the POES series supports a broad range of environmental monitoring applications including weather analysis and forecasting, climate research and prediction, global sea surface temperature measurements, atmospheric soundings of temperature and humidity, ocean dynamics research, volcanic eruption monitoring, forest fire detection, global vegetation analysis, search and rescue, and many other applications.
GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. They circle the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the equatorial plane of the Earth at a speed matching the Earth's rotation. This allows them to hover continuously over one position on the surface. The geosynchronous plane is about 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above the Earth, high enough to allow the satellites a full-disc view of the Earth. Because they stay above a fixed spot on the surface, they provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes. When these conditions develop the GOES satellites are able to monitor storm development and track their movements.
GOES satellite imagery is also used to estimate rainfall during the thunderstorms and hurricanes for flash flood warnings, as well as estimates snowfall accumulations and overall extent of snow cover. Such data help meteorologists issue winter storm warnings and spring snow melt advisories. Satellite sensors also detect ice fields and map the movements of sea and lake ice.