The Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS 1 and 2) and the
Geostationary Operational Environmental Systems (GOES 1, 2, and 3)
have provided continuous cloud-cover observations over the United
States since the early 1970's. Originally designed to support the
Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP), the satellites were
positioned at 75W and 135W over the equator in a normal two-satellite ... coverage, and at 107W in a one-satellite coverage. During the First
GARP Global Experiment (FGGE) in 1978-1979, GOES 1 was moved to 55E to
provide coverage over the Indian Ocean.
On board the SMS/GOES spacecraft is a visible and infrared spin-scan
radiometer (VISSR) that measured radiance temperatures at visible
(0.55 to 0.70 micrometer) and IR (10.5 to 12.6 micrometers)
wavelengths with spatial resolutions of 0.9 and 8 km, respectively.
Data are processed for some periods of special interest and are
available in four different formats.
The Experimenter History Tapes (EHT) contain, in image sections,
radiances, time, location, orbit, attitude, and telemetry information.
Two other sets of digital imagery were produced at Goddard Space
Flight Center: the Image Display And Manipulation System (IDAMS)
format tapes and the Atmospheric and Oceanographic Image Processing
System (AOIPS) format tapes.
Each IDAMS tape contains up to 4000 image records in brightness
temperatures, and each has orbital/telemetry information also. The
tapes were used to generate 70-mm film products, but were subsequently
replaced by the AOIPS format data.
Each AOIPS tape contains up to 4 data files: a visible image data
file, an IR image data file, an IR grid data file, and a calibration
From the digital tapes, Visible and infrared images were produced on
70-mm film. Each picture contains a title on the top boundary and a
33-level gray scale on the right boundary that represents brightness
temperatures. It may have a combination of the following options: a)
contrast enhancement, b) image sectorization, and c) 1/16-size
imagery. The maximum effective size covers 500 sq km, represented by
4000 by 3904 pixels. Each element has a maximum resolution of 3.7 km.
The title contains the satellite identification, picture number,
picture type, coordinate numbers of the top left pixel relative to the
visible sensor, start time of sectorized image, and pixel scaling and
sector size identification. Sectorized images may be requested by
date, time, and geographic area.
Additional GOES imagery data held elsewhere will be identified herein