Weather satellite to depart the Pacific
The pattern tracking satellite will be repositioned over the Brazilian Amazon
A geostationary weather satellite about 22,300 miles above the Pacific Ocean will be moved in October to provide coverage for South America.
But Pacific meteorologists will not see any changes when GOES 10 is moved, said Delores Clark, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration public affairs officer in Hawaii.
Two other weather satellites are available to move into GOES 10's place: GOES 12 over the East Coast or GOES 11, which is in storage in orbit, she said.
GOES 10, a nine-year veteran in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series, provides vital data on weather phenomena.
It helped forecasters track storm systems during Hawaii's recent long wet period, Clark said.
"It's critical for day-to-day weather and to track hurricanes," he said.
Forecasters post satellite interpretation messages on the National Weather Service Web site daily: www.prh.noaa.gov/ hnl/pages/sim.php.
The aging GOES 10 "has performed beyond its expected lifetime," Clark said.
When it is repositioned over the Brazilian Amazon, GOES 10 is expected to provide full coverage for South American forecasters, who have had gaps in images during the U.S. hurricane season, according to an Associated Press report.
Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher Jr., NOAA administrator, told AP that shifting the satellite is important for South America because "continuous coverage will help provide warnings in time to save lives and protect property."
Another NOAA spacecraft with advanced environmental monitoring capabilities is due for launch May 18.
Attempts to launch GOES-N (which will be called GOES 13) were aborted last August because of Hurricane Wilma, said Nezette Rydell, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
She said each new satellite in the GOES series has more capabilities. "It's like upgrading a computer -- a little more, little better, little faster.
"Each one is an improvement and carries different things. They do more than look at one picture."
Depending on which satellite is substituted for GOES 10, "we will end up getting more data," Rydell said.
GOES 12, launched in 2001, carried a new instrument called a solar X-ray imager, allowing forecasters to better detect the sun's solar storms and predict how flares might affect power grids and electronic systems on earth.
GOES-N will have advanced instruments, including a new solar X-ray imager, to contribute data and images for weather prediction and remote sensing, according to NOAA.
"GOES-N data will add to the global climate change databases of knowledge, embracing many civil and government environmental forecasting organizations that work to benefit people everywhere and help save lives every day," NOAA said.