4.3 Satellites View the World

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 9:00 AM
104A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Steven Ackerman, CIMSS/AOS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Satellite meteorology is a relatively new branch of the atmospheric sciences, yet satellite observations have fundamentally transformed how we observe and understand the Earth. From the earliest days of the satellite era, observations have been used to make quantitative measurements of Earth’s atmosphere. The modern satellite atmospheric data record includes temperature and moisture soundings, wind fields, trace gas concentrations, cloud and aerosol properties, precipitation patterns, and radiative budgets The field emerged in the late 1950s during the Cold War and built on the advances in rocketry after World War II. In less than 70 years, satellite observations have transformed the way scientists observe and study Earth. This presentation will discuss some of the key advances in our understanding of the energy and water cycles, weather forecasting, and atmospheric composition enabled by satellite observations. While progress truly has been an international achievement, in accord with a session observing the centennial of the American Meteorological Society, as well as limited space, the emphasis of this chapter is on the U.S. satellite effort.
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