U.S. Polar Environmental satellites such as Suomi NPP provide complete global coverage twice daily, while NOAA/NASA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites offer imagery over a fixed area. To improve the ability to better find and track hurricanes, NOAA scientists are finding ways to incorporate data from Suomi NPP's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS sensor, that allows observations of Earth's atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours and offers enhanced capability to see through clouds.
VIIRS provides many advances over previous operational imagers and advances compared to its research predecessor, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers currently operating on NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. It is these advances in polar imagery that will give forecasters a new tool to improve their predictions.
..."This is a new source for gathering temperature and moisture structure within and around the storm, showing us what is steering the storm, and affecting changes in the storm intensity," said Mark DeMaria, technology and science branch chief of NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami.
...NOAA's National Weather Service uses large-scale global models to calculate a storm's projected path, size and intensity. The path and intensity of storms, and storms that could become hurricanes, are updated every six hours through the hurricane season. That information is relayed to the National Hurricane Center which zooms in to looks at the storm area in greater detail with its NOAA's Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting System....