Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA satellite surface wind data improve 2-5 day weather forecasts

15.01.2004


SeaWinds Spots Gabrielle Early
The arrows represent wind speed, color and size indicate the magnitude (larger arrow=stronger wind). The average vorticity, or spin, of the atmosphere is indicated by background color (blue=strongest rotation). This area of low pressure is indicative of the formation of a tropical depression. This depression was spotted using SeaWinds data 10 hours before the National Hurricane Center classified it as a tropical depression at 5 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. Gabrielle later strengthened to Hurricane status at 11 p.m. Sept. 16, after crossing Florida from the Gulf of Mexico into the open Atlantic Ocean.


With the right mix of winds and sea surface temperatures, an ordinary cluster of tropical thunderstorms can explode into a tropical storm. These "ingredients" help scientists forecast movement of these intense phenomena. Data from Hurricane Erin, September 10-15, 2001.


NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite is providing meteorologists with accurate data on surface winds over the global oceans, leading to improved 2- to 5- day forecasts and weather warnings. The increased accuracy, already being used in hurricane forecasts, is bringing economic savings and a reduction in weather-related loss of life, especially at sea, according to a recent NASA study.

Robert Atlas, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., demonstrated the initial beneficial impact of scatterometer data on weather prediction. In a recent experiment, he showed how the combined use of data from two scatterometers can lead to an even larger increase in the accuracy of weather analyses and forecasts, especially at the two to five-day range. One scatterometer is onboard NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite and the other is on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Midori-II (ADEOS-II) satellite. In 2003, the Midori-II instrument became non-operational, but while both instruments worked, they showed the capability to improve forecasting. These findings will be presented on Jan. 14, at the American Meteorological Society’s Annual Meeting in Seattle.

“QuikSCAT has led to marked improvements in daily marine weather analyses, forecasts and warnings issued by the National Weather Service,” said Atlas. He added these improvements are especially beneficial since “Ninety percent of world trade moves over the oceans. Using QuikSCAT data clearly improves economies and saves the lives by giving the shipping industry more accurate warnings.”



The SeaWinds scatterometer is the key instrument aboard QuikSCAT that provides ocean surface wind speed and direction measurements that lead to improved prediction of storms at sea. SeaWinds can acquire hundreds of times more observations of surface wind velocity each day than can ships and buoys, and is the only remote-sensing system able to provide continuous, accurate and high-resolution measurements, regardless of weather conditions. The data is especially valuable where observations are otherwise sparse -- such as the Southern Hemisphere and tropics.

SeaWinds operates by transmitting high-frequency microwave pulses to the ocean surface and measuring the “backscattered” or echoed radar pulse bounced back to the satellite.

Atlas added the satellite “provides better coverage of the Earth’s surface and allows forecasters to detect storms earlier than ever before.” Unlike some other satellites, QuikSCAT’s SeaWinds instrument can “see” through the clouds and scrutinize conditions -- including rainfall and wind at the ocean’s surface.

During the 1999 hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center used QuikSCAT data to identify eight hurricanes. In those cases, QuikSCAT detected circulating winds well before other it could be seen as cloud swirls by other satellites. Additionally, a previous case study of Hurricane Cindy in 2000 found that use of QuikSCAT data lead to substantial reduction in projected storm intensity and movement errors.

Forecasters in the western United States also benefit from QuikSCAT data since most of the weather over the West Coast is produced by storms originating over the Pacific Ocean, where there are relatively few surface observations.

QuikSCAT can aid in determining the location, direction, structure and strength of severe marine storms that often slam into the area during the winter. East coast forecasters also find QuikSCAT data beneficial in the prediction of intense winter storms, including nor’easters, which travel up the Atlantic seaboard and batter coastal areas with gusty winds and heavy precipitation.

Despite the gains made with QuikSCAT, Atlas said “NASA is committed to making further improvements by designing advanced scatterometers to be sure all storm systems are detected in a timely manner.”

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.


Contact Information:

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, Md.
(AMS Press Room: 206-219-4730 or NASA: 301/286-4044)

Rob Gutro | GSFC
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/0114scatterometer.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht More than 100 years of flooding and erosion in 1 event
28.03.2017 | Geological Society of America

nachricht Satellites reveal bird habitat loss in California
28.03.2017 | Duke University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>