(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Meteorologists have a lot of technology at their disposal to make forecasts, including various weather instruments, Doppler radar, and computer models.
On Sunday night, meteorologist lost an important eye in the sky, the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) 13 weather satellite. It floats 22,000 miles away in orbit over a fixed point on Earth supplying meteorologists with frequent pictures of the clouds over the Atlantic Ocean and eastern United States.
The satellite had been getting a lot of "noise" in the data being sent back over the past couple of weeks.
It has been put in stand-by mode by the NOAA while engineers work on fixing the problem.
A back-up satellite, GOES 14, is already up in space and has been put to work. However, that satellite is currently at a different location, so the data is not as high resolution.
If GOES 13 can't be fixed, GOES 14 will be maneuvered into the better location.
Seeing where the storms are is not the only thing meteorologists lose with this satellite out. The satellite also remotely senses the atmosphere and sends that data back to scientists who put the data into computer models. Those models are critical to making weather forecasts, particularly after a few days.
NOAA says the loss of data is relatively small as other surrounding satellites can fill in much of the data void, if not at the same resolution.