National Weather Association held its annual weather conference September 16 - 21 in Anaheim, CA. I attended the 5-day event as a part of my continuing education requirements for my Seal of Approval.
Around 500 meteorologists from the government, private, and broadcasting sectors got together to learn about the latest advances in weather technology, research and forecasting. Presentations went from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day on a wide range of topics from tropical to severe weather, as well as winter weather and fire weather.
One of the more interesting presentations involved the new GOES 16 satellite. The satellite was launched late last year and is still in preliminary non-operational mode but all the data is available to the weather community and the public to analyze. The image above is showing day-night cloud imagery but it also inadvertently shows little clusters of light from larger cities, which makes for a cool image.
GOES 16 is a much higher resolution satellite that provides twice as much detail regarding cloud cover at various frequencies on the RF (radio frequency) spectrum. There are also many more channels to view giving meteorologists much more data to analyze and make decisions. The image above shows a portion of the U.S. spectrum. Radio, TV, mobile and weather data are all transmitted via some frequency on the spectrum by either short or long wave.
This new information will help improve day-to-day forecasting in every area, especially severe and tropical weather. It's some of the most exciting new technology in decades and many advances in weather will likely come out of it.