The TIROS series satellites were the first used for weather forecasting.


Low-altitude polar orbiting satellites fly from pole to pole and back while Earth spins beneath them.

The TIROS-1 image taken in 1960 is not nearly as clear and informative as the same image taken from NOAA-15 in 2000.

the Earth. Receiving pictures every 30 minutes, meteorologists looped the pictures on film and saw clouds moving across the planet's face for the first time. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series has provided the United States with continuous photographs that cover all of North America plus the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Other nations (Japan, Russia, India, and China) and Europe also have geostationary satellites. (More information on GOES satellites may be found in the sidebar "GOES-1 Goes Up" in chapter 8.)

By the end of the century, meteorological satellite development had advanced to include a variety of specialized sensors that measured temperature, moisture content, precipitation rates, and winds on Earth and throughout multiple atmospheric layers. Meteorologists today depend on these weather eyes in the sky; without them, meteorology as we know it would not be possible.

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