NOAA 2002-127
Contact: Patricia Viets
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NOAA Administrator Says New NOAA Systems Will Deliver Data Faster, Friendlier

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has scheduled a conference for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data users on October 1-3 in Boulder, Colo. A keynote speech from retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, will highlight how the next generation of environmental satellites will offer more data in a faster, more user friendly fashion. The conference is a step towards collecting specific user wishes as the new system is planned. NOAA is the nation’s civilian operational satellite agency.

GOES satellites are a mainstay of weather forecasting in the United States. Their images of the clouds are seen daily on television weather forecasts. The third generation of GOES satellites will provide new data in the next decade unlike anything seen before in the history of Earth observations. With its first launch planned for 2012, this new GOES will scan the Earth nearly five times faster than the current GOES. The satellites will provide the user community, including television meteorologists, foreign governments and private weather companies, with about 10 times the amount of data currently provided.

“Advanced planning is taking place for the development of the future GOES,” said NOAA’s James Gurka, who is organizing the conference. “So now is the time for the user community to assist NOAA in fine-tuning the details of GOES requirements, products, communications and distribution of data. NOAA is also interested in user needs for education, training and outreach.”

The conference is designed to provide two-way communication between NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA Satellite and Information Services) and the GOES user community; to inform GOES data users of plans for the next generation of satellites; provide information on potential applications; determine user needs for new products; and assess potential user and societal benefits of GOES capabilities.

The conference will consist of two days of invited presentations, including several panel discussions, followed by one day of breakout sessions with professional facilitators. The keynote address by Lautenbacher is slated for Thursday, Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Lautenbacher will outline how NOAA is improving its process for collecting, validating, and documenting the requirements for new satellite systems based on its many cross cutting environmental stewardship missions and how customers use the environmental data. The new end-to-end look will start from a required observational perspective, rather than by NOAA program requirement technique. Lautenbacher will also point out the need for a larger, coordinated global observing system.

“We must remember that operational environmental satellites are a critical part of a Global Observing System, along with the in-situ observing systems. And as I have been saying now for some months, we need to bridge the gap and get these communities together with the Users, with our partners, and with other nations to move to the next phase and build this Global Observing System."

Other speakers include Greg Withee, NOAA assistant administrator for satellite and information services; Brig. Gen. John (Jack) J. Kelly Jr., USAF, ret., director, National Weather Service; Michel Jarraud, deputy director of the World Meteorological Organization; James Purdom, of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere; and Jim Block of the Commercial Weather Services Association.

The conference is sponsored by NOAA, in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the World Meteorological Organization.

NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA Satellite and Information Services) is the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. NOAA Satellite and Information Services operates the nation's environmental satellites, which are used for weather forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications such as fire detection, ozone monitoring and sea surface temperature measurements.

NOAA Satellite and Information Services also operates three data centers, which house global data bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

To learn more about NOAA Satellite and Information Services, please visit

For more information about the conference, see: