Software // Information Management
03:17 PM
The Analytics Job and Salary Outlook for 2016
Jan 28, 2016
With data science and big data top-of-mind for all types of organizations, hiring analytics profes ...Read More>>

NASA Receives New Atmospheric Data From Suomi Satellite

Advanced instrument on polar-orbiting satellite is helping scientists better forecast weather and study the climate.

NASA's Next Mission: Deep Space
NASA's Next Mission: Deep Space
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
A new infrared instrument aboard NASA’s newest earth-observing satellite has started sending atmospheric data back to researchers to help them better forecast severe weather and achieve a better overall understanding of the earth’s climate.

The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), flying on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, provides high-vertical-resolution data on the atmosphere’s three-dimensional structure of temperature and water vapor, according to NASA.

With 1,305 spectral channels, the spectrometer is one of the most advanced of its kind, according to NASA. Researchers will use data collected by it for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) weather prediction models, in particular to forecast severe weather days in advance.

[ What technologies are top priority for NASA as it looks to the future? Read more at NRC Identifies High-Priority Technologies For NASA. ]

The CrIS joins Suomi's Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)--which measures temperature and humidity in both clear and cloudy conditions--as the first instruments aboard the satellite to be activated. Researchers will begin using data form them operationally in weather forecasts in the spring, according to NASA.

While NOAA will use the data in the near term for more accurate weather predictions, it will also use it for more far-sighted research on the earth's climate and overall eco-system.

Specifically, it can help researchers understand climate phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina, which periodically have an effect on global weather patterns, said Mitch Goldberg, NOAA's JPSS program scientist in a press statement.

NASA launched Suomi on Oct. 28 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission is a bridge between two current climate satellite missions--the NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) and NASA's Earth Observing System satellites--and the next-generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).

Sensors aboard Suomi transmit data to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, once every time the satellite orbits Earth. That data is then sent via fiber-optic cable to a NOAA facility in Suitland, Md., for its climate and weather research.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight is managing Suomi for the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters, while NOAA provides the CrIS instrument and operational support. The JPSS program is providing the satellite ground system for Suomi.

Climate research has become a particular focus for NASA in the last year as the agency has expanded its focus beyond space exploration to research areas that have more of an impact on Earth.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How to Knock Down Barriers to Effective Risk Management
Risk management today is a hodgepodge of systems, siloed approaches, and poor data collection practices. That isn't how it should be.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.