Saturday, November 19, 2016

Satellite brings advanced imagery to forcasts.


This is a snow bird who works out of a condo she bought in Florida. She comes to Central Florida to get away from the North East snow storms. Her work station is a white table from IKEA set in front of her sliding glass doors. Three different computers sit in the work space. She works 9am to 5pm for Atmospheric and Environmental Research writing code that interprets data from a new high resolution weather satellite. This coding represented seven years of work on her part so far. Part of each day is spent on phone conference calls so she can stay in touch with the team of coders in the northeast.

The satellite successfully launched on Saturday, November 19 at 6:42pm from Cape Canaveral. After a series of maneuvers, conducted using the satellite's thrusters. It has placed itself in its designated 89.5 degree West longitude checkout location where it will undergo an extended checkout and validation phase for approximately one year. This month the first high resolution images from the satellite have returned to earth. This next-generation geostationary satellite offers a glimpse of the future of weather forecasting. These incredibly sharp images from the Advanced Baseline Imager will enable scientists to explore the Earth's atmosphere and weather like never before, and usher in an era of new weather forecasting possibilities.

The satellite will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere, total lightning data, and space weather monitoring to provide critical atmospheric, hydrologic, oceanic, climatic, solar and space data.

This is a game changer. Here is why!
  • Improved hurricane track and intensity forecasts
  • Increased thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time
  • Improved aviation flight route planning
  • Improved air quality warnings
  • Improved solar flare warnings for communications and navigation disruptions
  • More accurate monitoring of energetic particles responsible for radiation hazards to humans and spacecraft
  • Better monitoring of space weather to improve geomagnetic storm forecasting

The environmental data products will support short-term 1-2 day forecasts and severe storm watches and warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, drought outlooks and space weather predictions.

Although years have gone into writing the code for this satellite, the real work has just begun now that the data is flowing. Usually code doesn't work as expected when first written. There is usually a need for many tests and tweaks. Once this snowbird wrote code for 6 months while another coder wrote the second half of the code over the same six month period. When the two codes were run together, they miraculous ran perfectly. That almost never happens.

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