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

News & Articles Archive

NOAA satellites tend to see the ‘big picture’ a lot. Looking at Earth from 22,240 miles back (GOES-16’s home in the sky), allows us to see some really big things to be thankful for all the time. So this Thanksgiving we thought we’d take a much closer look at some of the smallest things we appreciate here at NOAA. This Thanksgiving, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service team wants to thank the little guys.
Wind is a fundamental variable of weather. The heating of Earth’s surface and atmosphere by the sun drives winds that move heat and moisture from one place to another. Variations in large-scale wind circulation patterns are responsible for the daily weather we experience. Indeed, satellite-based wind data are among the most important information contributing to the accuracy of global weather prediction models.
Winter is just around the corner, and NOAA’s U.S. winter outlook for 2019-20 is out.  For meteorological winter, which extends from December through February, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts warmer-than-average temperatures for much of the U.S., with wetter-than-average conditions most likely across the Northern Tier of the U.S.
The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 spacecraft, scheduled to launch in 2022, has been fully assembled and has begun environmental testing.
With the advent of the GOES-R Series, forecasters now have an overwhelming amount of information to sift through. The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument has 16 channels that image Earth’s weather, oceans and environment as often as every 30 seconds. How can meteorologists quickly discern the information they need to issue timely forecasts and warnings? Scientists are working on new ways to combine information from multiple ABI channels to enhance meteorological features of interest. The result is a variety of red-green-blue or “RGB” composite imagery. The stunning, colorful imagery you see from GOES-16 and GOES-17 isn’t just beautiful to look at, it also provides critical information to forecasters for situational awareness and nowcasting rapidly changing weather.
On the morning of September 2, 2019, as a devastating Hurricane Dorian made landfall over three islands in the Bahamas, delivering torrential rain and sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, the VIIRS instruments on the NOAA-20 and NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP (S-NPP) satellites captured infrared pictures from above. These images, caught at 2:13 am ET and 3:03 am ET respectively, showed a circular eye inside a nearly perfectly symmetrical Category-5 storm. 
The new marine heat wave off the Pacific Coast is reminiscent of the early stages of the 2014–2016 “blob” that devastated marine life and is believed to have affected the weather. This year’s expanse of unusually warm water stretches roughly from the Gulf of Alaska south to California and west all the way to Hawaii. 
Utqiaġvik, Alaska, the farthest north point in the U.S., is a critical location for international Arctic research. Its history includes many decades of research by academia, all major U.S. science agencies, and international partners, making it a baseline location for Arctic research in the U.S. However, historically, poor network connectivity has limited the science and operations that can be done in Utqiaġvik.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” said the great detective Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story entitled “A Scandal in Bohemia.” We at NOAA couldn’t agree more and are highlighting the amazing things we can learn from data throughout the month of September during a celebration known as NOAA DataFest. After all, NOAA data are freely available to all who want to learn about the world and its many mysteries.