2.1 Five Decades of Meteorological Satellites—Five Decades of Australian and U.S. Collaboration in Satellite Meteorology

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 12:00 AM
212 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
John F. Le Marshall, BoM, Docklands, Australia; and W. L. Smith Sr., G. Kelly, and G. Mills

The first weather satellites, launched in the 1960s provided imagery that allowed synoptic analysis over the data sparse areas of the globe, particularly over the southern oceans. The imagery was used for forecasting and warning services, particularly forecasting significant weather such as tropical cyclones. Later the imagery was used for quantitative analysis and input into numerical weather prediction (NWP), through systematic cloud picture interpretation. This cloud picture interpretation was a scientific development shared by the USA and Australia and was developed through collaborations such as the International Antarctic Meteorological Research Centre. At this time, satellite images were also used for a myriad of meteorological and general scientific applications. From the late 1960s, sequential images from geostationary satellites were used to estimate wind and later, observations taken by polar orbiting satellites were used to estimate wind vectors. Now, wind estimates are produced globally from satellite observations at least hourly and in some centres every 10 minutes. This has been another strong area of Australian and US collaboration. Also from the late 1960s meteorological sounders began to probe the atmosphere for temperature and moisture. From the 1970s onwards collaboration in the sounding area led to strong developments both in the US and Australia. This collaboration extended into the hyperspectral era when again collaboration was involved in the exploitation of the advanced sounder. Here we look at the development of satellite meteorology and in particular highlight the collaboration between the US and Australia in this area and we also describe the many resultant benefits.
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