7 March 2017

Controversy After NOAA Turns Off Real-Time GOES-16 Data Until Mid-May.

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Update: Goes data is back! See this post.

Update at 11 PM EST Tuesday (04 GMT): I’m told that the data was not scheduled to be released publicly on the GOES re-broadcast until May 15. In other words, CIMSS apparently was not supposed to make it available online, but I have a tough time assigning them any blame here. Yes, OK, they jumped the gun, but did they really?

The data is flowing to the NWS offices and even to meteorologists in other countries. In addition, The Weather Company is also getting the data and delivering it to some broadcast meteorologists. I’m (reliably) told that NOAA does not want it out until mid-May because it is non-operational and still undergoing calibration. All of this I can understand, but having looked at the data, I can tell you it was very valuable for getting up to speed and in explaining to the public what they got for their tax money. 

GOES-16 image of severe storms in Oklahoma downloaded from CIMMS before the data was turned off today.

Can we wait 60 days?


Should the data be released to the public sooner 

I say Yes.

(Perhaps however with a large disclaimer that it’s “test data and should not be relied upon for critical weather information”.) 

With proposals floating around to cut the NOAA satellite budget, I would think that having this data out there as soon as possible would be very valuable. The broadcast meteorologists are your champions here NOAA! I understand your point of view but sleep on this one for a few nights. Now, I need to go wash a bad taste from my mouth.

**Previous post below**

Many broadcast meteorologists have been looking at the non-operational GOES-16 (Formerly GOES-R) data that was posted by CIMSS at the University of Wisconsin. The data was amazing and it was handy to have, especially while doing training modules on using the imagery once it becomes operational.

Alas, no more. The data disappeared today, and when I inquired about it, I received this tweet:

I am hoping to find out from someone at NOAA about why they would do this, but I can tell you if this continues, it will not go down well among the broadcast meteorology community. Hopefully, this is temporary. I’ll keep you updated.

Note I originally used CIMMS instead of CIMSS. CIMMS is at OU and also involved in weather! My apologies to my fellow Sooner friends. This is corrected above. Also, I updated the headline after I posted the update from “NOAA Turns off GOES Data to Broadcast Meteorologists” to a more accurate headline after getting more information. I am trying to be very fair to NOAA here. I do understand their position, and I remain their greatest champion.