JPSS Satellites Help Understand Ice Formation and Concentration on the Great Lakes
Understanding of ice cover and concentration on the Great Lakes is critical to a number of industries in the region, from water power generation to commercial shipping to fishing. The JPSS satellites provide data that help to forecast and monitor ice formation and concentration on the lakes throughout the winter.
The VIIRS instrument on NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP gathers data that gives scientists and forecasters insight into the surface temperatures on the lakes, helping them understand where and when ice might form.
Additionally, data collected by the ATMS instrument on both satellites is incorporated into a product that shows the amount of area on the lakes covered by ice, also known as lake ice concentration. One of the great benefits of this information is that it isn’t affected by the persistent clouds that are common over the Great Lakes in winter.
The 2020-2021 winter season saw great swings in ice cover on the Great Lakes. Much of the season, from December 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, saw very low ice cover, except in February when a blast of frigid Arctic air resulted in a rapid but short-lived appearance of ice.
The data from multiple instruments on JPSS satellites helps to better understand and predict ice cover on the Great Lakes, which is helpful for multiple industries that affect citizens’ everyday lives.
New Year’s Day Mississippi River Flooding
In late 2015 and early 2016, communities living along Midwest River Basins and the Mississippi River Valley experienced record level flooding after a series of storms brought heavy rains to the region. Using JPSS VIIRS flood detection software, a series of flood maps were generated to reflect the distribution of flooding water along the Mississippi River and its branches. Emergency managers can use this information to direct resources to areas of critical need.