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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages a fleet of geostationary and polar-orbiting meteorological spacecrafts. These satellites are distributed into operational programs: the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES), and the Polar Operational Environmental Satellite Program (POES). The U.S. Department of Defense operates the satellites of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and NCEI archives and distributes the data under the Shared Processing Program.

Geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites provide raw radiance data that are collected by ground stations and archived by NCEI. These continuous global environmental observations are then derived to produce various geophysical variables that help to describe the Earth's atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial domains.

Geostationary satellites help monitor and predict weather and environmental events including tropical systems, tornadoes, flash floods, dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires. Polar-orbiting satellites collect data for weather, climate, and environmental monitoring applications including precipitation, sea surface temperatures, atmospheric temperature and humidity, sea ice extent, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, global vegetation analysis, as well as search and rescue. NOAA's satellite data improve the Nation's resilience to climate variability, maintain our economic vitality, and improve the security and well-being of the public.