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Polar Operational Environmental Satellites

The Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) satellite system makes 14 nearly polar orbits per day approximately 520 miles above Earth. The Earth's rotation allows the satellite to see a different view with each orbit, and each satellite provides two complete views of weather around the world each day. NOAA partners with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) to operate two polar-orbiting satellites – one POES and one European polar-orbiting satellite called MetOp.

The POES instruments include the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, the Advanced TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (ATOVS), and the Microwave Humidity Sounder provided by EUMETSAT. These instruments provide visible, infrared, and microwave data which is used for a variety of applications such as to monitor cloud and precipitation, determine surface properties, and profile humidity.

Data from the POES supports a broad range of environmental monitoring applications including weather analysis and forecasting, climate research and prediction, global sea surface temperature measurements, atmospheric soundings of temperature and humidity, ocean dynamics research, volcanic eruption monitoring, forest fire detection, global vegetation analysis, and search and rescue.