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NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)

2019 Joint Satellite Conference



The Joint Satellite Conference (JSC) merges three unique satellite conferences into one major event in Boston, from Sept. 30–Oct. 4, 2019. This first-ever joint conference is co-organized by NOAA, EUMETSAT and the AMS Committee on Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography, and Climatology, and is hosted by the American Meteorological Society.  

The theme for the 2019 JSC is: Shaping the Future Together – Providing Observations for the Coupled Earth System and it ties together important areas of research, engineering, and operations in meteorological and Earth environmental fields. Panel discussions and other presentations are covering a range of topics, including how an international fleet of next-generation satellites is:

  • Better predicting severe weather and flooding
  • Providing more accurate hurricane forecasts
  • Detecting and tracking wildfires across the globe
  • Monitoring climate trends in the Arctic and Antarctic
  • Mapping lightning strikes around the world
  • Guiding drought forecasts and assisting food security

We will be live-tweeting throughout each day of the event. Follow @NOAAsatellitePA for Twitter updates, as well as the official conference hashtag, #2019JointSatelliteConf.

This webpage will also serve as a daily summary of some of the JSC talks, presentations and panels from a NOAA Satellites perspective, and will highlight the interesting and innovative ways a myriad of international Earth-observing satellites are shaping our future, together.


October 3, 2019











October 2, 2019





Lastly, the afternoon had one of the day’s more interesting presentations given by high school student Alex Xie of Gilman School in Baltimore, Md. He, along with three of his school friends, recently created a smartphone application called DustWatch, which taps into NOAA NWS forecasts, satellite data, and other resources to provide public alerts for potentially deadly dust storms in the American Southwest. This is definitely something we will follow-up with Alex and his team about for a web story down the road. Great work, Alex and team!

We’ll have another JSC Daily Debrief update tomorrow afternoon. Once again, there are many sessions, talks, and presentations planned about how satellites are shaping our future. Some topics on Thursday will touch upon how satellites are helping monitor climate change in the polar regions, as well as how satellites are assisting drought forecasting and food security around the globe. 

For a full look at the day of talks at the JSC, click here



October 1, 2019







Day 2 of the JSC started on a cool, cloudy and drizzly note. NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite caught this socked-in image of New England early this morning—can you see Massachusetts under all those clouds? After a jammed-packed day of plenary talks, events, and poster sessions yesterday, today had many smaller, more-focused sessions on satellite science and technology. 


The morning began with a session chaired by our JSC co-sponsor, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The session and its panelists provided innovative examples of how space-based observations (aka, satellites and their instruments) are helping track global carbon emissions and their role in climate change. 

A mid-morning session focused on the recent capabilities of new satellite systems and instruments. Here is where NOAA’s next-generation series of Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellites (GOES-R) and Joint Polar Satellite Systems (JPSS) took the spotlight.


Several presentations highlighted the new capabilities of GOES-R satellites and their instruments, which is helping scientists and forecasters improve their understanding of Earth and its weather and climate. NOAA’s GOES-R System Program Director, Pam Sullivan, spoke about the operations and applications of both GOES-16 and GOES-17.  A few examples:

  • Both GOES-16 and -17 are now allowing for better wildfire detection across the United States
  • GOES-17 allows the north coast of Alaska to track sea ice movement from space
  • GOES-17 enabled the National Weather Service Office in Juneau, Alaska, to issue its first-ever severe thunderstorm warning based on satellite imagery this past summer


Following that GOES talk, NOAA Deputy Program Director, Tim Walsh, highlighted the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), in particular, the NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP satellite. Both satellites orbit around the Earth’s poles 14 times a day, providing a complete, global image twice a day. 


They are both critical for numerical weather forecasting, operational weather data for the polar regions, and supporting environmental monitoring.  Tim Walsh estimated that 85 percent of the data in global weather models comes from polar-orbiting satellites.


In the early afternoon, Matt Cadwallader from Woods Hole Group, Inc., explained how Earth-observing satellites are helping to improve forecasts for the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico from an end-user’s point of view.  Better forecasts mean less disruptions to production; and therefore, save time, money and resources.  Several satellites, including Jason-3, were highlighted in this talk.

It’s hard to believe we’ll be more than half-way done by tomorrow, but it will be another full day. Wednesday will feature how new satellites and sensors are improving hurricane research and forecasting. There will be a session on the NOAA GOES’ Geostationary Lightning Mapper, and how it is improving scientists’ understanding of lightning on a global scale. There also will be a presentation explaining how NOAA satellite data helped a group of high-school students create a mobile phone app for alerting the public about hazardous dust storms in the American Southwest.  

For a full look at the day of talks at the JSC, click here.



September 30, 2019





It was a pleasantly cool fall day for the kickoff of the 2019 JSC in Boston this morning. Today was an all-day plenary—which is a meeting attended by all participants at a conference. With more than 700 people registered to attend the JSC, the plenary was a standing room only affair.


The morning started off with a warm welcome from the leadership of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). After welcoming attendees early in the day, the assistant administrator of NOAA NESDIS, Dr. Steve Volz, gave a talk on the future of international collaboration for observing the Earth as a complete system.


During a late morning panel, NOAA’s acting Administrator, Dr. Neil Jacobs, addressed the attendees and emphasized how a robust global observing system of high-quality and timely data is critical for understanding our dynamic planet. 


Later in the afternoon, the director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, Dr. Louis Uccellini, along with other national and international satellite users, provided an overview of how important satellite data and imagery are for their individual missions.



A formal poster session came at the end of the afternoon where more than 200 posters from collaborators and partners to scientists and students displayed fascinating examples of satellite data and imagery being used in interesting and innovative ways across the globe.

As we kick off the month of October tomorrow, it will be another full day of satellite scientists and collaborators highlighting how satellites are shaping the world’s future, including NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). There will also be a panel on how satellites are supporting safe and efficient operations in the offshore industry.  For a full look at the day of talks at the JSC, click here.