GOES-16 Satellite to Move into Place

It has been just over a year since the GOES-R satellite launched near the end of last year. On November 19, 2016, the satellite took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

After many tests and running in a preliminary and non-operational mode, things are about to change for what is now known as GOES-16.

Beginning on November 30, 2017, most of the tools used to collect data on the satellite will temporarily cease to collect or send out data. This will be done so that the entire system can move into its operational location. This date also marks exactly one year since GOES-R became GOES-16.

GOES-16 will move to 75° west longitude and take over the GOES-East position. The current satellite in the east position, GOES-13, will be moved into “orbital storage”. GOES-14 is currently in storage and both of these satellites will be available for use if needed. GOES-13 will be used to collect data while GOES-16 is down.

GOES-16 will be able to see and thus collect data for the entire United States once it is in its new position. Normal operation for GOES-16 (soon to be known GOES-East) is anticipated to return December 20, 2017.

For more information on the move, click here.

For more on the launch of GOES-16 from 2016, click here.


Posted under GOES-16, GOES16, NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 20, 2017

Third Time’s The Charm for JPSS-1

The new polar orbiting satellite, JPSS-1, successfully launched Saturday morning.

After two previous attempts, the satellite took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 3:47 am CST.

To view the liftoff video, click here.

For more information on JPSS-1, click here.


Posted under NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 18, 2017

New Polar Orbiting Satellite





Posted under NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on November 15, 2017

La Niña Advisory

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued a La Niña Advisory in early November. There is a 65-75% chance of La Niña conditions this winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

So…what is La Niña?

La Niña occurs when surface temperatures near the equator, in the Pacific Ocean, become cooler than normal.


Sea surface temperature anomaly (difference from normal temperatures) for the week centered on November 1, 2017


The deeper blue shades near the equator in the photo above indicate cooler than normal temperatures.

Sea surface temperatures fluctuate from year to year in a natural cycle, with some years cooler and some warmer. This year, CPC expects a weak La Niña to influence the North American weather pattern.

In general, a La Niña pattern brings cooler and wetter conditions to northern parts of the United States. This winter’s La Niña is forecast to continue through early 2018.

For the current sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, click here.

For NOAA’s winter outlook, click here.


Posted under Climate, NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 15, 2017

Gravity Waves

A variety of gravity waves propagate through the stratocumulus deck off South America. Click on the image below to play the movie.


Posted under Clouds, NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on November 14, 2017

Smallest Antarctic Ozone Hole in Decades

According to NASA, the ozone hole in the Antarctic saw its lowest peak level since the late 1980s. The ozone hole reached a maximum size of over 7 million square miles on September 11 of this year. That is more than twice the size of the United States.

This decline in the ozone hole size is due to “natural variability” and not a sign of healing, according to NASA and NOAA scientists. While yes, the size of the ozone hole is smaller than it has been, it is still larger than in the 1980s.

The ozone hole on September 11, 2017. Purple and blue colors indicate the least amount of ozone.

Antarctic weather conditions played a major role in the size of the ozone hole this year. The Antarctic vortex, a low pressure system above Antarctica (which rotates clockwise due to its location in the Southern Hemisphere), was warmer and unstable and that decreased polar stratospheric cloud formation. Having those clouds in the stratosphere promote chemical reactions that lead to ozone destruction.

The ozone hole over the Antarctic was first identified in 1985. It forms during winter in the Southern Hemisphere as the sun’s rays force reactions that deplete ozone molecules.

For more information, visit NASA’s site by clicking here.


Posted under Climate, NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 5, 2017

New Weather Satellite Coming November 2017

The National Weather Service will launch a new weather satellite this month. The new satellite, JPSS-1 or “Joint Polar Satellite System”, is currently set to launch the first in a series of satellites on Friday, November 10.

JPSS will orbit the earth from pole-to-pole in a “polar orbit” as the planet rotates. It will create full global data twice per day.

During its trips around the planet, JPSS will increase the accuracy and timeliness of forecasts, especially severe weather forecasts, up to seven days in advance. This aids emergency personnel prepare for large-scale events like hurricanes.  The JPSS also plans to document other atmospheric conditions, as well as ocean and land conditions.

The new satellite system will also house a set of instruments to assist in its mission:

  1. Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)
  2. Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)
  3. Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
  4. Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)
  5. An instrument to measure the Earth’s radiation budget (not visible above).

Once in orbit, JPSS-1 will be known as NOAA-20.

For more information on JPSS, click here.

Click here for a video overview on JPSS.

Click here for a kid-friendly video explaining JPSS.


Posted under NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 1, 2017

Weekend Weather Radar Outage

 UPDATE October 20, 2017

The previously scheduled outage of the Des Moines Radar has been postponed due to the potential of severe weather on Saturday. The upgrade will be rescheduled at a later date.


Starting Saturday, October 21, 2017, the National Weather Service radar for the Des Moines office will be out of service. The outage is set to last five days.


This outage is planned in order to upgrade certain technological features. The National Weather Service is currently progressing through its Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, to update radar stations across the country. During the process, obsolete technology is set to be replaced which will increase radar function. These updates will keep the radar system functional through the 2030s.

Nearby radar locations for eastern Iowa to be utilized during the outage include the Quad Cities and La Crosse, Wisconsin offices.

The radar in the Quad Cities is next in line for upgrades after the Des Moines radar.

For more information about the planned radar updates, visit the Radar Operations Center SLEP page here.




Posted under NOAA

This post was written by Rachael Peart on October 18, 2017

Not this cold since May


The high temp of 49° at Waterloo on Tuesday was the coldest high temp since May 1st when it was 49.



The National Weather Service radar in Des Moines is getting an upgrade/maintenance later this month.  The radar will be down from Oct 21 to about the 26, depending on how fast the technicians can do the upgrade.


National High and Low Temperature Wednesday, October 11, 2017

98 at Phoenix, AZ

3 at Hohnholz Ranch, CO




Posted under NOAA, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Schnack on October 11, 2017

Radar Down

Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico causing significant wind and flooding damage across much of the island. Winds in excess of 100 mph destroyed the National Weather Service Radar at San Juan, Puerto Rico. The radar is expected to be down for at least a few months. Hopefully there will not be any storms in this area anytime soon. Here is a look at what the radar looks like after the hurricane.

Here is a where the radar is positioned on the island.

A closer shot of the location.


Here is a map to show how much rain fall on the island.




Posted under NOAA, Precipitation Totals, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on September 25, 2017