The countdown is down to a week to send off America’s newest weather satellite into orbit.
While the newest weather satellite was set to launch November 10, NOAA says that it has been delayed due to a faulty battery. The new launch is expected for no earlier than Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
“We’re going to be launching NOAA’s JPSS-1, the first in the series of four highly advanced polar orbiting satellites that will improve the accuracy and timeliness of NOAA’s numerical prediction models and ultimately weather forecasts,” said Ajay Mehta, acting deputy director for systems of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.
JPSS, or Joint Polar Satellite System, will be one of two types of satellites operated by NOAA.
“Geostationary, which stay in a fixed position about 22,000 miles above the equator and polar orbiting, which circle the globe at the poles in a much lower orbit, about 500 miles above the surface,” Mehta explained.
Satellites are used by meteorologists when making a forecast, sending back pictures that help tell the current and future weather story.
“[They provide] more precise and timely observations of the Earth’s atmosphere, land and waters,” Mehta said.
JPSS-1 will be equipped with tools that will significantly improve the accuracy of observations throughout the environment.
“Instruments so precise that they can measure temperatures to better than one tenth of a degree in the entire atmosphere from the Earth’s surface up to the edge of space,” said Greg Mandt, director of the Joint Polar Satellite System.
Each tool will be monitoring something different, working together to make increased advancements in forecasts up to a week out.
“All of these instruments work in tandem,” Mandt said. “For example, the VIIRS can tell us the location of a fire and track a smoke plume while the CrIS instrument can measure the carbon monoxide and methane emanating from the fire allowing us to see where the air quality is affected.”
This will help add more time to prepare for severe weather and approaching tropical systems as we saw with Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
“These well-coordinated preparedness decisions for these storms were based on forecasts that rely on global numerical prediction systems which absolutely need global observer systems, such as polar orbiting satellites, to make these forecasts,” said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.
These new and improved satellites will be aiding not just meteorologists but community leaders as well.
“It will enable decision makers, emergency managers, and the public to prepare and preposition resources that are necessary steps to save lives and protect property,” Uccellini said.
The satellite will be named NOAA 20 once it’s in orbit.
For WeatherNation, I’m Meredith Garofalo