MARACOOS receives satellite data from the NOAA, NASA and EUMETSAT (Europe) agencies. The global operational weather satellite system is composed of two types of satellites: geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES) for short-range warning and “now-casting” and polar-orbiting satellites for longer-term forecasting. Both types of satellite are necessary for providing a complete global weather monitoring system.

GOES satellites hover continuously over one position on the surface approximately. The 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above the Earth. They provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric “triggers” for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes. They are regularly animated on television weather forecasts and websites.

Complementing the geostationary satellites are polar-orbiting satellites. MARACOOS acquires data from the NOAA Polar Orbiters (TIROS-N), NASA Aqua & Terra, Suomi NPP and MetOp satellites. These satellites typically orbit the earth approximately 500 miles above the surface and are constantly circling the Earth in an almost north-south orbit, passing close to both poles. Though they only pass over a given location ever 12 hours, they typically provide higher resolution imagery.

Typical products of satellites include: Sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, sediment, and cloud cover.

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