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

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

A brand new Earth-observing satellite tv for pc shall be launched into house this Thursday, the place it would assist scientists predict the climate and monitor 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 World Observing System and a collaboration between NASA and the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“NOAA’s climate satellites have by no means been extra important as excessive climate occasions proceed to change into extra frequent as a consequence of local weather change,” mentioned Irene Parker, NOAA’s deputy administrator for Nationwide Environmental Satellite tv for pc, Knowledge and Providers Methods, in a preliminary briefing. “From 2017 to September 2022, the US had 104 separate billion dollar disasters. For comparability, let’s notice that from 1987 to 1991 there have been solely 15.

JPSS-2 will raise off early on November 10 at 4:25 a.m. ET from Vandenberg Area Pressure Base in California on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket. The ship can even be testing an inflatable warmth defend known as TIME OF DAY which might assist land heavier payloads on Earth and even different planets like Mars.

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

JPSS-2 is about to exhibit LOFTID know-how.
Picture: USSF thirtieth Area Wing/Aaron M. Ta

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

“To foretell native climate, we’ve to take a look at climate from this international perspective,” mentioned Tim Walsh, director of NOAA’s JPSS program workplace. “A mud storm in Africa might have an effect on the event of a possible storm that would have an effect on the east coast. A storm in Japan might result in heavy rain right here in California in a number of days.”

The JPSS-2 satellite tv for pc will take measurements with its 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 photographs with a spatial decision of a few quarter-mile, permitting researchers to see options corresponding to cloud domes known as overshooting tops, which might point out how sturdy a thunderstorm is. The Superior Applied sciences Microwave Sounder, or ATMS, can look by clouds to see the depth of a storm, whereas the Cross-track Infrared Sounder, or CrIS, creates a 3D view of the Ambiance and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite, or OMPS. research atmospheric ozone.

Mixed, knowledge from these devices will help in climate forecasting, significantly by monitoring the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There are numerous climate stations on land that accumulate knowledge. However measurements from the oceans have to be made utilizing climate buoys, of which there are comparatively few, so these knowledge have to be supplemented by satellite tv for pc knowledge. Knowledge from the JPSS program was beforehand used to foretell the landfall of Hurricane Ian on the Florida coast and is presently getting used to observe Tropical Storm Nicole.

“JPSS knowledge is a key enter to US and worldwide international digital climate prediction modeling techniques,” mentioned Jordan Gert, a meteorologist and satellite tv for pc scientist at NOAA’s Nationwide Climate Service in a science briefing. “Observations are international, forecasts are native. The standard of native three- to seven-day forecasts with JPSS is excellent.”

“Though the satellite tv for pc is designed for climate forecasting, that is not the one motive a satellite tv for pc is launched.”

NOAA has one other collection of Earth monitoring satellites utilized in climate forecasting known as the Earthquake Operational Environmental Satellites or GOING. However the GOES satellites are in a really completely different orbit than JPSS, a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth’s floor. Meaning every GOES satellite tv for pc is at all times pointed on the similar spot on Earth, in comparison with the JPSS satellites, which orbit 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 will get completely different sorts of observations,” Gerth defined. “For instance, if we wish to decide the temperature construction of the ambiance or the quantity of water vapor, we will use the JPSS collection of devices to assist us with that. JPSS additionally supplies us with details about particulars under the cloud cowl, which might simply be translated into storm depth data and assist with storm forecasting.”

Along with its climate forecasting duties, JPSS-2 knowledge can even be helpful for finding out different local weather situations. “Though the satellite tv for pc is designed for climate forecasting, that is not the one motive the satellite tv for pc is launched,” mentioned Satya Kalluri, program scientist for the NOAA JPSS program. “The satellite tv for pc takes photos from Earth twice a day, and with these photos we will take a look at drought situations, that are crucial for predicting meals productiveness.”

Different makes use of of satellite tv for pc knowledge 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 haze or smoke from wildfires, in addition to observing modifications within the polar ice caps and the outlet within the ozone layer.

Constant measurements of those elements over a long time are important to keep up a report that enables us to grasp the long-term results of local weather change, along with JPSS-2’s position in predicting short-term climate occasions.

“We’re very happy to have the ability to see this launch of JPSS-2 due to its assortment of world observations,” Gert mentioned. “With a purpose to have good native climate forecasts, we have to have these international observations to tell our meteorologists.”

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