WEATHER: NASA satellite technology will help better-detect tornadoes

Posted at 7:15 AM, Apr 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-30 07:54:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A satellite scheduled for launch in late 2015 will carry technology into Space that will help us on Earth better-forecast severe weather events and detect tornadoes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are teaming together to launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R) spacecraft and instrument technology. Scientists that developed the technology say this satellite’s package will lead to more timely and accurate weather forecasts, as well as improve the detection and observation of severe weather events, including tornadoes. In their words, “The GOES-R satellite will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere and space weather monitoring. It will be the primary tool for the detection and tracking of hurricanes and severe weather and provide new and improved applications and products for fulfilling NOAA’s goals of Water and Weather, Climate, Commerce, and Ecosystem.”

NOAA and NASA describe some of the new technology going up on GOES-R:
“The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), a sixteen channel imager with two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels, will provide three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster temporal coverage than the current system. Other advancements over current GOES capabilities include total lightning detection (in-cloud and cloud-to-ground flashes) and mapping from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), and increased dynamic range, resolution, and sensitivity in monitoring solar X-ray flux with the Solar UV Imager (SUVI).”
BONUS: Click here to see the entire instrument package on GOES-R.


Click on the video below to learn more about the instruments that will be used on GOES-R.

Operational forecasters, like us at the CBS 6 Storm Team, will be able to use this crucial data for our forecasts. This means we’ll be better-able to serve the public of central Virginia with our forecasts. Click here to see other users counting on this new data.

Earlier this month, NOAA’s Deputy Administrator and Chief Scientist Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and Severe Storm Chaser and Engineer Tim Samaras hosted a discussion about this important new satellite, GOES-R, that will be able to see tornadoes like never before. This interview occurred April 3, 2012 in the NASA Goddard TV studio in Greenbelt, Md., which you can watch by clicking below.

GOES-R will also supply important space weather information. NOAA and NASA explain why this is a necessary aspect of the mission:
“Communications, transportation, and electrical power systems can be disrupted and damaged by space weather storms. Exposure to radiation can threaten astronauts and commercial air travelers alike, and has affected the evolution of life on Earth. Geomagnetic storms and other space weather phenomena pose a serious threat to all space operations, and can result in total mission failure.”

Once the satellite is launched (expected no earlier than October 2015), it is expected to have a lifespan utility until December 2027.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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