National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce



GOES-R 1-Minute Imagery Evaluation


In preparation for the launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R Series, the Operations Proving Ground (OPG) hosted six week-long evaluations of 1-minute satellite imagery in the first part of 2015. 17 National Weather Service (NWS) operational forecasters from four regions (Central, Southern, Western, and Eastern) completed eight simulations that were developed using imagery from the 2013 and 2014 GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSOR) with the primary purpose of assessing the value and usefulness of integrating high temporal resolution satellite imagery into various analysis and forecast applications.  Six additional forecasters participated in a follow-up assessment using live 2015 SRSOR imagery. 

During the simulations, forecasters evaluated 1-min and 5-min satellite imagery scanning modes while completing tasks ranging from aviation forecasting and wildfire decision support services to monitoring where convective initiation would occur and integrating the imagery into the convective warning decision-making process. Each week, feedback was gathered to assess whether the satellite imagery had influence on forecaster decision making, if the satellite imagery provided forecasters with more confidence in making those decisions, to what extent they could effectively assimilate the data into operational practices, and whether forecaster workload was adversely impacted. 

Participating NWS forecasters overwhelming felt that 1-min satellite imagery improved their environmental analysis and increased their confidence to make effective forecast and warning decisions in a variety of simulations. Many forecasters found that animating the satellite imagery while integrating it with other decision aids revealed important insight on how the atmosphere was evolving, which allowed them to anticipate and predict short-term trends. During most simulations, participants expressed that they were able to internally assimilate the imagery with ease. However, when forecasters were asked how easy the imagery was to use in convective warning operations, the feedback was mixed. Some forecasters felt that it was difficult to incorporate the satellite imagery with radar data while issuing convective warnings, while others believed that with sufficient training and experience the satellite imagery would be invaluable in warning operations. Participants unanimously agreed that in order for forecasters to understand how to accurately interpret atmospheric processes using 1-min satellite imagery, the development and delivery of timely, effective training resources is essential.