Weather forecasts get boost in accuracy with new satellite

Weather forecasts get boost in accuracy with new satellite

It will also lend to higher quality data for weather models and climate models.

Polar satellites like the JPSS-1, which orbit the globe from pole-to-pole 14 times a day, are considered the backbone of the global observing system.

The JPSS-1 is the first in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation of four polar-orbiting satellites that provide the majority of data streamed into weather forecasting models.

Scott Asbury, program director at Ball Aerospace and formerly the JPSS-1 program manager, is among the roughly 10 Ball personnel who will be at the launch site, while about another 10 from Ball plan to be at the NASA satellite operations facility in Suitland, Md. Several duplicate satellites are in the pipeline in the decades ahead, he said.

Satellites like JPSS-1 are not responsible for the images typically shown on your nightly weather forecast or your phone's weather app, since most weather imagery comes from geostationary satellites, which orbit above a fixed point on the planet.

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The new satellite will also deliver critical observations during severe weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards and is created to help improve forecasts three-to-seven days ahead of a severe weather event. "JPSS will continue this trend", he added. Sensors aboard the spacecraft will collect measurements of air, ocean, and ground conditions, as well as fire locations, temperatures and water vapor throughout the atmosphere. A polar orbiting Satellite, like the JPSS-1, instead circles the poles.

For years, policy makers and scientists anxious about a looming polar-orbiting satellite gap that could come once one satellite blinked out from old age, prior to the next one launching. "We have luckily avoided any gaps".

Maue said that without data from polar satellites, "weather forecasts would noticeably suffer leading to more forecast busts, wayward hurricane tracks and more difficulty in preparing for severe weather". The launch is now scheduled for 4:47 a.m. EST, or 1:47 a.m. PST, Tuesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Three more satellites are planned for the group, with launches in 2021, 2026, and 2031.

Ball also built one of the five instruments on the spacecraft, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite. Instruments on board were designed by Ball, along with Raytheon, Harris and Northrop Grumman.

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