In this video, meteorologist Dave Snider interviews Eric Stevens of The Geographic Information Network of Alaska at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on the crucial role polar-orbiting satellites like NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP, play in forecasting the weather in Alaska. According to Stevens, "The imagery from polar-orbiting satellites like Suomi NPP allows forecasters to see where the storms are, where the (sea) ice is, where the clear areas are. You need to know where the weather is now if you're going to forecast it into the future."
Polar orbiting satellites such as Suomi NPP have such a good view of Alaska because they fly right over it, as opposed to geostationary satellites which are in a fixed position. In addition, polar-orbiting satellites also offering soundings--vertical profiles of temperature and moisture in the atmosphere. These data from these soundings are incorporated into the numerical weather prediction models the produce the weather forecasts on which we all depend.