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NASA Releases First Images of NOAA GOES-16 Never Before Seen Footage of Lightning in Texas

Mar 08, 2017 06:49 AM EST
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Detecting lightning is now easier, thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its new GOES-16 satellite. Last month, the satellite has recorded a lightning in Texas.

The footage was taken using an innovative instrument in the geostationary orbit. The said instrument aids forecasters in identifying weather disturbances faster than before.

GOES-16 has an Advanced Baseline Imager and it is the instrument responsible for capturing an hour lightning show last Feb. 14. The lightning occurred in the Western Hemisphere, according to NOAA. But the brightest storm system was recorded over the Gulf coast of Texas.

NASA released the image and animation of the first images taken by NOAA GOES-16 new instrument last March 7.

The remarkable data is the first from NOAA GOES-16 satellite. With the new technology, forecasters are now more equipped to pinpoint and predict weather activities and, in turn, alert the public about dangerous disturbances to aid in preparations.

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) is already sending never-before-seen data to Earth. The goal of the instrument is to detect and spot lightning flashes in the world's Western hemisphere. This will give forecasters information to be able to decipher if storms are forming and it they are getting stronger and more hazardous.

One clear indication of a strengthening storm is the rapid increase in lightning. The GLM instrument can also perform lightning monitoring during heavy rains. With the help of this new technology and other existing instruments around the world, NOAA and forecasters can now identify potential flooding and severe weather intensities faster.

But it's not just the lightning that GOES-16 GLM is good for. In areas with hotter temperature, it can help detect forest fires caused by wildfires by lightning.

"The GLM can monitor a given area at 500 frames per second, and can distinguish individual lightning strikes within each flash," a NOAA official said.

In weather forecasting, accuracy and speed are crucial elements and the new GOES-16 and its instruments are indeed rapidly upgrading the capabilities of the agency to predict and detect weather disturbances. NOAA launched the satellite last November 2016.

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