Contractor building the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS). This JPSS instrument tracks the health of the ozone layer and measures the concentration of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Contractor for the Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership and JPSS-1 (now called NOAA-20) spacecraft. Ball Aerospace was responsible for the design, production and integration of the first two spacecraft in the JPSS series, full satellite environmental testing, and support to launch/early orbit checkout.
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder. CIRES’s areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. The institute’s vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)
CIRA serves NOAA in the areas of satellite remote sensing; science algorithm and application development; education and training; weather-climate processes; regional to global scale modeling systems; and data assimilation, and data distribution technology. CIRA research is building prototype products and developing training, based on the new sensor technology, to assure maximum use of JPSS data. Cooperative Institutes (CIs) are academic and non-profit research institutions supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) that provide resources that support NOAA mission goals and strategic plans.
NOAA-20 Sees Storm that Produced Largest Hailstone on Record for Colorado
NOAA-20’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument provided visible and infrared images showing thunderstorms along the Kansas/Colorado border just over an hour before they produced potentially record-breaking 5-inch hailstones in August 2019. The hailstone in question was nearly the size of a softball. Previously, a 4.5-inch hailstone held the record. JPSS instruments provide invaluable data for understanding storms and making forecasts up to five to seven days in advance of a severe weather event.
NOAA-20 Spots Rapidly Expanding Fire and Fire Clouds in Colorado
Between Oct. 21 and 22, 2020, the East Troublesome Fire in Colorado spread significantly – increasing by about 87,000 acres in less than 24 hours, according to Inciweb. The rapidly growing wildfire produced a series of pyrocumulonimbus clouds, which are a type of towering vertical cloud that forms above a source of heat, like a wildfire or a volcano. These clouds may reach as high as the upper troposphere or lower stratosphere, and may cause precipitation, hail, lightning, winds, and even tornadoes. The combined effects of these clouds can increase the spread of the fire and cause dangers on the ground.
For this reason, it’s very important for incident meteorologists and fire fighters to be aware of possible instances of pyrocumulonimbus clouds.
NOAA-20 flew over the fire on Oct. 21 at about 1:30 p.m. and its NOAA Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS) profiles diagnosed the stability of the upper troposphere, finding it to be very weak around the fire location. This meant that not much would impede the growth of these powerful and dangerous vertical clouds.
The VIIRS instrument on NOAA-20 provided a high-resolution view of the heat associated with the fire, highlighting a particularly active zone over the northeast part of the fire. In this image, the associated smoke plume and developing pyrocumulonimbus cloud are visible in true color near the hotspot.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Contractor for the JPSS Common Ground System (CGS). CGS is a global common ground system that currently supports several domestic and international weather and environmental sensing satellite missions.