30th anniversary of the Florida landfall of Hurricane Andrew

August 24th, 2022 |

GOES-7 Infrared (11.35 um) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-7 Infrared (11.35 um) images (above) showed Hurricane Andrew making landfall along the southeast coast of Florida — as a Category 5 storm — around 0831 UTC  on 24 August 1992. At that time, the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of the eyewall region were around -75ºC. These images were created using archived data from SSEC Satellite Data Services.

More information on Andrew can be found in this video produced by NWS Miami for the 25th anniversary of the storm.

GOES-2 Launch Anniversary; GOES Timelines

June 16th, 2022 |

With the help of NASA, private industry and others, NOAA’s GOES-2 (as GOES-B) was launched on June 16, 1977. Similar to SMS-1/2 and GOES-1/3, there were 2 spectral bands: one visible and one longwave infrared.

GOES-2 Visible (left) and Infrared (right) spectral bands from June 16, 1978 over the Eastern portion of the U.S.

A still image with a map overlay is also available to provide geo-referencing for the images in the above animation. Or a similar loop is also available with the map overlay The images in the loop (mp4 | animated gif) were taken just one year after GOES-B was launched.

A timeline of the GOES, from GOES-1 to GOES-U. Figure credit: GOES-R Program Office. (Click to show larger image.)
A timeline of the U.S. geo imaging, from ATS/SMS to GOES-U. Figure credit: GOES-R Program Office. (Click to show larger image.)

The timelines show the periods when the satellites were operational. Yet, there were other times when they might have been operating. For example, when an on-orbit spacecraft comes out of storage once a year, often in August, for a routine check-out of several weeks. Another example was GOES-14, as it provided over 5 months of 1 min data (SRSOR) data to better prepare for the meso-scale sectors on the ABI. These campaigns were in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Some of these times were:

Start DateEnd Date
GOES-14 times (as start/end pairs) of being operated, though not operational. All dates are approximate.

In addition, GOES-15 was operated several times to supplement GOES-17 operations:

Start DateEnd Date
GOES-15 times (as start/end pairs) of being operated, though not operational. All dates are approximate.

The second timeline above includes not only the U.S. GOES imagers, but also their precursors: ATS-1, 3 (including the Spin Scan Cloud Cameras) and 6 (with the 2-channel GVHRR; including an infrared band) and SMS-1/2. The GOES-R Program Office also has a more simple GOES timeline.

UW/SSEC has an interactive timeline (opens in new tab) that covers more satellites. The SSEC library (Schwerdtfeger) also has more information on the Spin-Scan Cloud Cameras on ATS-1/3.

Snapshot of the UW/SSEC timeline, the orange line relates to the geostationary orbit. (Click to better show image.)
A GOES-2 Full Disk image from June 16, 1978. The visible band is shown, along with cold IR values. (Click to show larger image.)

The above image shows a color-coded transparency for cold clouds over the gray-scale visible image.

After GOES-U, NOAA is planning on the next generation U.S. geostationary imager as part of the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program.


Thanks to the many who made the GOES (and the precursors) possible. McIDAS-X software was used in generating these satellite images. The data (and many dates) was accessed by the UW/SSEC Data Services. More about GOES-16 and GOES-17 and GOES-18 (preliminary, non-operational).

“Adrift” 1983 Hurricane (Raymond)

October 12th, 2021 |


GOES-6 was NOAA‘s operational satellite during the 1983 Hurricane Raymond, which was a Cat 4. This incredibly powerful storm was made famous in the 1998 book “Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea” written by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart, and also by the 2018 movie “Adrift”.

“[October 12, 1983]… About 1000 the seas arched into skyscrapers, looming over our boat. The anemometer– the wind speed gauge — now read a steady sixty knots [69 mph or 31 m/s] and we were forced to take down all sails and maintain our position under bare poles with the engine running … The wind sounded like jet engines being thrown in reverse. I looked at the anemometer and gasped when I read 140 knots [161 mph or 72 m/s] … I looked up at the ship’s clock: It was 1300 hours. My eyes dropped to the barometer: It was terrifyingly low — below twenty-eight-inch mark [948 hPa]. Dread engulfed me. I hugged the musty blanket to my chest as I was flung side to side in the hammock. No sooner had I closed my eyes when all motion stopped. Something felt very wrong, it became too quiet — this trough too deep. “OHMIGOD!” I heard Richard scream. My eyes popped open. WHOMP! I covered my head as I sailed into oblivion.”

From the book: Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea
GOES-6 IR loop from 13:15 UTC on October 11th, to 02:45 UTC on October 13th, 1983 in the eastern Pacific. The locations of the boat (Hazana) are approximate.

The above GOES-6 infrared satellite loop has been annotated with two approximate locations of the boat (Hazana), one of October 9th and the other on October 18th, 1983. While the location of the boat (in beige) on October 12th and it’s relationship to Hurricane Raymond is unknown, the boat must have received the brunt of the storm. A similar loop as above, but without the labels or grid lines. Or an image with only the grid lines and boat locations.

Multi-day, large-scale, visible loop of the daytime images from GOES-6 between October 8-13, 1983.

A similar visible loop, but animated twice as fast and as an animated gif. Note the development of the eye, along with the fast forward speed of the storm.

A higher resolution GOES-6 visible loop over the daytime hours of October 10th, 1983.

Similar GOES-6 visible loops (mp4) from October 11th and 12th, 1983 (and as animated gifs: October 11th and 12th).

A full spatial resolution GOES-6 visible loop over the daytime hours of October 10th, 1983.

Similar as above, full spatial resolution GOES-6 visible loops (mp4) views from October 11th and 12th, 1983 (and as animated gifs: October11th and 12th).

Multi-day infrared loop of the daytime images from GOES-6 between October 8-13, 1983.

Infrared (IR) imagery can monitor the storm throughout the day and night. Recall that a smaller hurricane eye can imply a more powerful storm.

…. “A tropical wave, later to become Hurricane Raymond, passed into the Pacific from Nicaragua on 5 October and moved westward at 8 m s-1. At this time, a deep-layer mean high center was over Mexico and a well developed ridge line extended westward toward the Hawaiian Islands. By 0600 GMT 8 October, infrared satellite imagery showed increasing cyclonic shear over the disturbance, and the first advisory on the cyclone was issued with the center near 12.4°N, 104.4°W. The depression moved due west at 2 m s-1, south of the mean ridge line, and over very warm 29-30°C water. Intensification to tropical storm occurred at 0000 GMT 9 October near 12.3°N, 106.4°W. Tropical Storm Raymond continued moving west, accelerated and intensified. By 1200 GMT 10 October, winds had reached 34 m s-1 and the storm was upgraded to a hurricane near· 12.0°N, 114.6°W. Raymond was now moving west at 8 m s-1 and a small but distinct eye had become visible near the center. Raymond then began to intensify rapidly (Fig. 22). Twenty-four hours later, the cyclone reached its maximum intensity of 64 m s-1 [143 mph] near 12.4°N, 121.2°W. Raymond then turned west-northwest, moving at 8 to 9 m s-1. With sea surface temperatures remaining above 27°C, Raymond moved across 140°W longitude with 57 m s-1 winds shortly after 0600 GMT on 14 October.

According to E. B. GUNTHER AND R. L. CROSS (1984) in the AMS MWR (Monthly Weather Review)

GOES-6 Full Disk image from October 10, 1983. This image combines visible imagery and cloud infrared temperatures.

A larger version of the above image. A similar image as above, but as seen by NOAA’s GOES-5, which was then the eastern GOES.

2020 – Hurricane Marie

Another long-lived eastern Pacific category 4 storm was Hurricane Marie in 2020 as detailed by NHC. Of course the more modern GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) was able to acquire images more frequently and at a higher spatial resolution than was possible in 1983, as in shown in this CIMSS Satellite Blog post.

Animation of both visible and IR (cold pixels) bands of Hurricane Marie, 2020.

2021 – Hurricane Linda

GOES-15 band 3 (6.5 mircometer) band in August of 2021 over the Eastern Pacific.

A similar storm in August of 2021, as shown in a GOES-15 water vapor band loop over several days.


NOAA GOES-6 data (and other GOES) are via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services. These images were made using the McIDAS-X software, developed at the UW/SSEC. Thanks for all who have made the entire suite of GOES possible, as well as the experimental satellites that preceded the operational ones. Much progress has been made in the monitoring of tropical cyclones between GOES-5/6 and the current advanced imagers. More GOES-16 and -17 imagery and other information. Scott Bachmeier is thanked for his help with this post.


1985s Hurricane Gloria

September 27th, 2021 |

Late September of 1985, saw the landfalls of Hurricane Gloria. More information. These NOAA GOES-6 animations are in both the infrared (window) and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.


A color-enhanced GOES-6 infrared loop from September 21-27, 1985.

A still infrared image is from September 25, 1985. Note that cold temperatures are colored yellow, red and black.


A GOES-6 visible loop from September 27, 1985.

A similar loop, as an animated gif. Also see this still image.

A combined visible and infrared GOES-6 Full Disk image from September 27, 1985 at 18 UTC.

A larger Full Disk “sandwich” image from the same time as above.


H/T Brian McNoldy for reminding us of “his storm”:

More on Hurricane Gloria via AMS publications.

NOAA GOES-6 data are via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services. McIDAS-X was used the generate the imagery. Of course the current generation of GOES imagers (ABI) provide much improved (spatial, spectral and temporal) imagery. Or see a CIMSS Satellite Blog post on Hurricane Sam.