Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Satellite Data & Its Use in Nighttime Tropical Cyclone Forecasting

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Tyler A. Johnson, University of Maryland, ASRC, College Park, MD

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), a partnership between NASA and NOAA, is a series of polar-orbiting environmental satellites. The JPSS program consists of three satellites, with one already in orbit. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) was successfully launched on October 28th, 2011, and encompasses five instruments (VIIRS, ATMS, CrIS, OMPS, and CERES). While Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites only provide imagery over a fixed area, the Suomi NPP offers entire global coverage twice every day. S-NPP provides numerous scientific advantages in weather and climate monitoring. This results in a variety of users around the world, including the National Hurricane Center, part of the National Weather Service (NWS). One of the most challenging issues in tropical cyclone (TC) prediction is sensing of the storm during nighttime hours. This issue can be addressed using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard S-NPP. Observations and imagery of the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum are greatly limited during the nighttime. The VIIRS day-night band enables scientists and forecasters to observe storm patterns throughout the night in this range. The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) also plays a crucial role in improved TC forecasting and projected paths. The sounder provides unique vertical profiles for temperature and water vapor in the atmosphere. The accuracy of these measurements is greater than ones of instruments aboard previous satellites. This data provides detailed information about temperature and moisture structure within the cyclone. This information can be used to generate projected paths and possible future intensity.