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Geostationary Satellite Matches

S’COOL ground observations can also be compared to Geostationary Satellite cloud retrievals. In order to match your ground observation to geostationary data we request that you make your cloud observation 30 minutes after the hour (+/- 15 minutes), so for example 11:30 (between 11:15 and 11:45), 12:30 (12:15-12:45), or 13:30 (1:15-1:45 pm but using the 24 hour clock). You will still need to account for your Time Zone and Daylight Saving Time to determine your Universal Time Offset (UTC). Cloud observations should be reported in UTC so that the data can be comparable around the world.

A satellite in geostationary orbit circles the Earth at the same rate and in the same direction that the Earth is spinning, making it appear stationary above one location. There are multiple Geostationary Satellites, all of which orbit the Earth above the Equator, but which observe different sections of the Earth. Each satellite can see a large part of the Earth below it, covering about 120° of longitude and from 60°S-60°N latitude. Currently, geostationary satellites Met-10, INSAT-3D and Himawari-8 observe the Eastern Hemisphere of the world (37°W-180°E) while GOES-13 and GOES-15 observe the Western Hemisphere (180°W-37°W).

Image of geostationary views

The advantage of geostationary satellites is that they can observe the same region often – as much as every 15 minutes; the disadvantage is that they must do so from far away – geostationary orbit is 35,790 km above the Earth.

You can visit the NASA LaRC Satellite Imagery and Cloud Products Page to compare your ground report with near-real time (within ~3 hours) geostationary satellite data. You can compare your ground observation to satellite data taken the same day! Each satellite (i.e. GOES-WEST, METEOSAT, INSAT) displays its final product a little differently. Explore the links and see which one works best for your observation area. The “Full-Disk Cloud Products” provide a large picture view and captures weather events and patterns well. The second table, “Cloud Products” provides a closer look at certain regions. Explore the different “image options”; Multi-channel RGB provides a good visual of the clouds.

Geostationary Observers keep your eyes peeled! The S’COOL team is working on adding the match email function to ground observations that align with the geosationary satellite retrivals.

Image of geostationary views

The match email function, like with CERES matches, will send you an email containing your ground data directly next to the satellite data. You get to be the scientists, classifying and comparing your match, while contributing to an eighteen-year data set, helping NASA scientists better understand how clouds affect our weather and climate.

Are you and the satellite seeing the same clouds and cloud properties? Check it out, observe today!
If you are a registered S’COOL participant report here:
For individuals observing as S’COOL ROVER Citizen Scientists, report here: