NOAA’s recently launched GOES-18 weather satellite has begun sending data from its new testing position at 136.8° west longitude over the Pacific Ocean.
GOES-18, which launched on March 1, 2022, was initially delivered to 89.5° west over the Central USA and began post-launch testing and calibration of its instruments and systems in that location. On May 16, GOES-18 began drifting west, arriving at 136.8° west on June 6. Post-launch testing resumed on June 7.
From its new vantage point, GOES-18 can now see Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean all the way to New Zealand. It is ideally located to monitor the northeastern Pacific, where many of the weather systems affecting the continental USA originate, and to keep watch over the eastern Pacific hurricane basin. Once operational, the satellite will also provide critical data for forecasters, emergency managers, first responders and the aviation industry on environmental hazards like turbulence, fires, smoke and dust, coastal fog and volcanic eruptions.
Recently, the GOES-18 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) monitored a number of weather events, meteorological phenomena and environmental hazards. The satellite tracked fire activity in Alaska, snow and the movement of fog and smoke. It monitored a low-pressure system off the West Coast and severe thunderstorms in Colorado. GOES-18 also viewed mesmerizing von Kármán vortices off the coast of Isla Guadalupe and beautiful cloud formations over Hawaii.
During two periods in August and October of this year, GOES West data users will receive GOES-18 ABI data for operational use. The GOES-18 ABI cooling system was redesigned to reduce the likelihood of future cooling system anomalies like those experienced with GOES-17. The new design uses a simpler hardware configuration that eliminates the filters that are susceptible to debris.