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Why NASA is launching a brand new polar satellite tv for pc

Why NASA is launching a brand new polar satellite tv for pc

A brand new Earth-observing satellite tv for pc will likely be launched into area this Thursday, the place it is going to assist scientists forecast the climate and monitor more and more frequent excessive climate occasions. The satellite tv for pc, known as the Joint Polar Satellite tv for pc System-2 (JPSS-2), is a part of the International Observing System and the product of a partnership between NASA and the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“NOAA’s climate satellites have by no means been extra essential as excessive climate occasions proceed to happen extra often attributable to local weather change,” stated Irene Parker, deputy assistant administrator for methods at NOAA’s Nationwide Environmental Satellite tv for pc Service, Information and Providers, at a pre-launch briefing. “From 2017 to September 2022, there have been 104 separate incidents within the US billion greenback catastrophe. For comparability, from 1987 to 1991 there have been solely 15.”

JPSS-2 will launch on the morning of Nov. 10 at 4:25 a.m. ET aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Vandenberg Area Pressure Base in California. Additionally on board will likely be a check of an inflatable warmth protect known as AIR TIME it might assist land heavier payloads on Earth and even different planets like Mars.

four people in white suits stand in a clean room around the satellite

JPSS-2 superimposed on the LOFTID know-how demonstration.
Picture: USSF thirtieth Area Wing/Aaron M. Ta

NASA and NOAA have an entire community of satellites geared toward Earth to look at the surroundings, together with the predecessors of JPSS-2, Suomi NPP and NOAA-20. JPSS-2 will be part of these two satellites in a polar orbit, that means they circle the globe from pole to pole, circling your complete planet twice a day.

“As a way to predict native climate, we have to observe the climate from a worldwide perspective,” stated Tim Walsh, director of NOAA’s JPSS program workplace. “A mud storm in Africa might have an effect on the event of a possible hurricane that might have an effect on the east coast. The storm in Japan might deliver heavy rainfall right here in California in a couple of days.”

The JPSS-2 satellite tv for pc will take measurements with 4 devices, together with the Seen Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, which acts because the satellite tv for pc’s “eyes.” It takes visible-light and infrared photos with a spatial decision of a few quarter of a mile, permitting researchers to see options resembling cloud domes known as overhangs, which may point out how robust a storm is. The Superior Expertise Microwave Sounder, or ATMS, can look by means of clouds to see storm depth, whereas the Cross-track Infrared Sounder, or CrIS, creates a 3D view of the environment, and the Ozone Mapping and Profiling Package deal, or OMPS, research ozone within the environment .

Mixed, the info from these devices will assist predict the climate, notably by monitoring the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There are a lot of climate stations on land that acquire information. However measurements within the oceans have to be carried out with the assistance of meteorological buoys, that are comparatively few, so these information have to be supplemented with satellite tv for pc information. Information from the JPSS program was beforehand used to forecast Hurricane Ian’s landfall on the Florida coast, and is now getting used to observe Tropical Storm Nicole.

“JPSS information are an essential contribution to the US and worldwide digital climate forecasting modeling methods,” Jordan Gert, a meteorologist and scientist at NOAA’s Nationwide Climate Service, stated at a science briefing. “Observations are world, forecasts are native. With JPSS, the standard of native three- to seven-day forecasts is extraordinary.”

“Though the satellite tv for pc is designed to foretell the climate, that isn’t the one cause for launching the satellite tv for pc”

NOAA does have one other set of Earth monitoring satellites utilized in climate forecasting known as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or GOING. However the GOES satellites are in a really completely different orbit than JPSS, in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth’s floor. Which means every GOES satellite tv for pc is at all times pointed on the identical location on the globe, in comparison with the JPSS satellites, which circle your complete globe and are a lot nearer, solely 500 miles from the floor.

“As a result of JPSS is a lot nearer to the Earth’s floor, we are able to get many various kinds of observations,” Gert defined. “For instance, if we wish to decide the temperature construction of the environment or the quantity of water vapor, we are able to use the JPSS collection of devices to assist us with that. JPSS additionally offers us details about particulars beneath the cloud cover that may be simply translated into storm depth info and assist with storm forecasting.”

Along with its climate forecasting duties, JPSS-2 information may also be helpful in learning different local weather circumstances. “Though the satellite tv for pc is designed for climate forecasting, that is not the one cause the satellite tv for pc is launched,” stated Satya Kaluri, NOAA JPSS program scientist. “The satellite tv for pc takes photos of the Earth twice a day, and with these photos we are able to have a look at drought circumstances, that are essential for predicting meals productiveness.”

Different makes use of of satellite tv for pc information embrace measuring ocean shade, which might help monitor the well being of ocean ecosystems and detect dangerous algal blooms. It will possibly additionally measure air high quality by detecting smog or smoke from wildfires, in addition to monitoring modifications within the polar ice caps and the opening within the ozone layer.

Constant measurements of those elements over many years are key to sustaining data that permit us to know the long-term impacts of local weather change, along with JPSS-2’s function in predicting short-term climate occasions.

“We’re very completely happy to see this launch of JPSS-2 due to its world assortment of observations,” Gert stated. “As a way to have good native climate forecasts, we have to have these world observations to tell our meteorologists.”


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