I wanted to share the image below for a couple of reasons. If you aren't familiar with it, this is a "full disk" satellite image. GOES (or geo-synchronous orbiting satellites) orbit the Earth in one spot (hence their orbits are synchronized with the rotation of the Earth) at an altitude of 22,500 miles. They not only take sectorized images of portions of the Earth on routine basis, but every 3 hours (typically), they take one gigantic picture of the entire Earth - a full disk image.
The full-disk image below was taken by GOES-14 at 12:45pm CDT today. Why is this important? Because ordinarily it wouldn't have taken it. The satellite that would normally take this picture, GOES-13 (or GOES-East, covering the eastern U.S. and Atlantic), went belly-up yesterday! For over 18 hours, meteorologists were left scrounging for occasional and partial images of the eastern U.S. from other satellites.
Finally, at 12:45pm, GOES-14 was awaken out of "standby" mode by NOAA satellite engineers in the U.S. to provide backup (mutual aid as firefighters might call it) so they could figure out what was going on with GOES-13. The image below was the first provided by the backup satellite.
The other interesting thing about this picture is circled and labelled. If you ever wondered how minuscule we and our local weather are compared to, well, the entire globe, look closely at this image. A little speck of white (circled in red) was our morning cloud cover and showers and thunderstorms that passed by just to our southwest, from east-central AR into northwest MS. In the grand scheme of this image, they're nothing. To those in AR who received hail, lightning and thunder, and heavy rain, they were disruptive. Now pretend you're a computer model and this is one of your inputs. What forecast do you produce for Memphis, TN? Typically a very accurate one, which I find simply stunning!
Click the image for a large view and check out the detail - again, from 22,500 miles in the sky!
|GOES-14 first full disk image out of standby mode - September 24, 2012, 12:45pm CDT (17:45 UTC)|
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