GOES-R Post Launch Test (PLT) Field Campaign

The GOES-R PLT field campaign was a collaborative mission to validate the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instruments aboard the GOES-R, now GOES-16, satellite. GOES-R is part of NOAA’s geostationary satellite fleet, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites - R series, and provides continual observations of primarily North and South America and the Atlantic. The GOES-R PLT campaign lasted roughly 9 weeks from March 21, 2017 to May 17, 2017, with 105.1 mission flight hours. The goal of the campaign was to provide a collection of coincident airborne, satellite, ground based, and near surface measurements of surface weather phenomena to test, validate, and improve the accuracy of GOES-R ABI and GLM measurements. The campaign was comprised of two phases: the first centered on the U.S. west coast, providing tests primarily for the ABI instrument, and the second focused on the central and eastern U.S. with tests primarily for the GLM instrument. Airborne measurements were taken using NASA’s ER-2 aircraft, equipped with spectrometer, radar, lidar, radiometer, and other atmospheric observation instruments to assist with ABI and GLM validation. The target phenomena for validation observations included land and ocean surfaces, active wildfires, and thunderstorms. This campaign provided a blueprint for the operation of future GOES validation projects.



Scientific Objectives

The primary objectives of GOES-R PLT field campaign included:

  • Provide high altitude validation of spectral radiance measurements for all ABI spectral bands
  • Provide surface and atmospheric geophysical measurements for validation products
  • Validate GLM lightning flash detection efficiency over land and ocean
  • Validate the location and time accuracy of GLM flash detection


Spatial Coverage
[N: 43.573, W: -124.625, E: -72.202, S: 26.449] degrees
Time Range
March 21, 2017 - May 17, 2017
Weather Phenomena
Land Environment
Ocean Environment

Instruments Used

Multiple instruments were utilized during the GOES-R PLT field campaign to observe phenomena such as lightning, thunderstorms, and wildfires. They were carried on the NASA ER-2 aircraft and at various ground stations. The instruments included the Next-Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRISng), the AVIRIS-Classic (AVIRISc), the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS), the Fly’s Eye GLM Simulator (FEGS), the Lightning Instrument Package (LIP), the Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL), the Cloud Radar System (CRS), the ER-2 X-band Doppler Radar (EXRAD), the GeoCAPE Airborne Simulator (GCAS), and Lightning Mapping Arrays (LMAs).








Radar reflectivity

Doppler velocity





Atmospheric temperature profiles

Atmospheric water vapor profiles

Ground based

Ground stations



Note: This table lists instruments whose datasets are currently published at GHRC DAAC and will be updated as additional GOES-R PLT datasets are published.

Events of Interest

This section highlights events within the field campaign of particular scientific interest.

Major Findings

This field campaign made various atmospheric and surface observations over a variety of land and ocean locations that provided extensive validation datasets for the GOES-R ABI and GLM instruments. Over 39.5 hours of airborne lightning observations were collected, including day and night observations of low and high flash rate storms in multiple regions. There were also validation datasets collected for all operational ABI spectral bands. This campaign helped ensure the quality of GOES-R ABI and GLM data and demonstrated functional performance methods for future GOES validation projects.

Related Publication(s)
Field Campaign Publication:
Padula, F., Goodman, S. J., Pearlman, A., & Cao, C. (2017). GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) calibration/validation from a field campaign perspective. Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 301-304. https://doi.org/10.1109/IGARSS.2017.8126955
Background information:
Goodman, S. J., Blakeslee, R. J., Koshak, W. J., Mach, D., Bailey, J., Buechler, D., . . . Stano, G. (2013). The GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). Atmospheric Research, 125-126, 34-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2013.01.006

Lebair, W., Rollins, C., Kline, J., Todirita, M., & Kronenwetter, J. (2016). Post launch calibration and testing of the Advanced Baseline Imager on the GOES-R satellite. Proceedings of the SPIE Asia-Pacific Remote Sensing. Earth Observing Missions and Sensors: Development, Implementation, and Characterization IV, 98810K. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2228556

Padula, F., Pearlman, A. J., Cao, C., & Goodman, S. (2016). Towards post-launch validation of GOES-R ABI SI traceability with high-altitude aircraft, small near surface UAS, and satellite reference measurements. Proceedings of the SPIE Optical + Engineering Applications. Earth Observing Systems XXI, 99720V.  https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238181

Rafal, M., Clarke, J.T., & Cholvibul, R.W. (2016). Post launch calibration and testing of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper on GOES-R satellite. Proceedings of the SPIE Asia-Pacific Remote Sensing. Earth Observing Missions and Sensors: Development, Implementation, and Characterization IV, 98812E. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2228540

Schmit, T.J., Griffith, P., Gunshor, M.M., Daniels, J.M., Goodman, S.J. & Lebair, W.J. (2017). A Closer Look at the ABI on the GOES-R Series. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98, 681–698. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00230.1
May 14th, 2019
Essence Raphael
Geoffrey Stano
Field Campaign

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