Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
CIMSS fosters effective collaboration between NOAA, NASA and UW in atmospheric and Earth science through exploiting satellite technology and coordinating training of scientists and engineers in disciplines involved in the atmospheric and Earth sciences.
JPSS Monitors Total Ice Cover of the Great Lakes
The February 2016 total ice cover on the Great Lakes was much less than the previous two years, with ice concentrated along the shorelines. Understanding the major effect of ice on the Great Lakes is crucial because it impacts a range of societal benefits provided by the lakes, from hydropower generation to commercial shipping to the fishing industry. The amount of ice cover varies from year to year, as well as how long it remains on the lakes. This image was taken by Suomi NPP’s VIIRS instrument on February 17, 2016
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.