Capturing tomorrow's satellite data with today's instruments

Sep 17, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A satellite that won't be launched into orbit until 2015 is already paying dividends for an advanced weather research project.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) are participating in a project designed to bridge the gap between current satellite capabilities and the advanced technology that will be part of the next generation of geostationary satellites.

Previously, satellite data could not be utilized until the spacecraft was actually in orbit. Once the craft was in place, scientists had to play "catch-up," hurrying to learn what they could do with the new technology and how best to do it. This delay wasted valuable satellite "life-time" and resulted in a lag in delivering useful products to forecasters and other users.

With the upcoming , the GOES-R, things will be different.

In a project known as the "GOES-R Proving Ground," scientists are taking advantage of currently available weather studies capabilities (via satellite, terrestrial, and computer models) to accurately preview various aspects of future GOES-R capabilities. Their goal is for both developers and users of GOES-R observing systems to have a firm grasp of the satellite's capabilities even before it is launched. In addition, they seek to introduce upcoming GOES-R research products to weather forecasters and the environmental community.

Tim Schmit, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist located at CIMSS, says, "You can create proxy data using actual data from existing polar satellites. Or you can use a series of high-resolution numerical models, using current data to emulate what the future satellite will see. We can use a situation from the past, collate the data collected back then, and show how it will look with the expanded measurement capabilities that will be available on GOES-R."

Once it is fully operational the GOES-R satellite will provide 68 separate data streams, providing vital weather and climate information, including cloud formation, volcanic ash distribution, turbulence, and sulfur dioxide concentrations.

Using knowledge and techniques perfected in the GOES-R Proving Ground, sophisticated simulations of most of these data streams will have been created by the time the satellite is actually in orbit. Researchers and forecasters can become accustomed to using data from a that has not yet been launched.

Thirty-five of these simulations are being developed at the UW-Madison by CIMSS and NOAA scientists.

Some groups are already benefiting from the GOES-R's capabilities. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center saw a need for quicker identification of Convective Initiation, the rapid upward growth of cumulus clouds that can signify a coming severe weather event.

CIMSS scientist Wayne Feltz says, "Using currently available data, we re-quantified the Convective Initiation process so we could signal that initiation was occurring. The Proving Ground gave us the opportunity not just to develop the algorithms, not just to do basic research into the algorithms, but to improve the product by working with the end users. We've actually designed new applications, like Convective Initiation — products that have never really existed before — in anticipation of the instruments that will be on GOES-R. We've found that we can use the data right now."

Using the new system, the Convective Initiation product indicates some severe weather can be reliably detected up to 45 minutes before significant radar echoes of the storm.

Provided by UW-Madison

Explore further: Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Beating the radar: Getting a jump on storm prediction

Jun 16, 2009

Satellite observation of cloud temperatures may be able to accurately predict severe thunderstorms up to 45 minutes earlier than relying on traditional radar alone, say researchers at UW-Madison's Space Science ...

NASA, NOAA set to launch new environmental satellite

May 04, 2005

NASA is set to launch the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES), another critical link in the development of a global Earth-observation program. The spa ...

NASA, NOAA set to launch NOAA-N Prime satellite

Jan 22, 2009

NASA is preparing to launch NOAA'S latest polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite, called NOAA-N Prime, providing an essential resource for NOAA's weather forecasts and improving the U.S. search ...

New Environmental Satellite Successfully Launched

Feb 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new environmental satellite that will improve weather forecasting and monitor environmental events around the world soared into space this morning after a picture-perfect launch from Vandenberg ...

Sophisticated weather satellite rockets into orbit

Jun 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-O, soared into space today after a successful launch from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ...

Recommended for you

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

1 hour ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

How to safely enjoy the October 23 partial solar eclipse

1 hour ago

2014 – a year rich in eclipses. The Moon dutifully slid into Earth's shadow in April and October gifting us with two total lunars. Now it's the Sun's turn. This Thursday October 23 skywatchers across much ...

How to grip an asteroid

1 hour ago

For someone like Edward Fouad, a junior at Caltech who has always been interested in robotics and mechanical engineering, it was an ideal project: help develop robotic technology that could one day fly on ...

Image: Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

4 hours ago

It was 45 years ago when astronomer Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko, one of his researchers, unwittingly began a new chapter in the history of space exploration.

Extreme ultraviolet image of a significant solar flare

4 hours ago

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet ...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

23 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

User comments : 0