January 17 2018

NOAA-20’s ATMS Instrument Shows Temperature Change over North America

Created by the Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MiRS) with data from the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder on the recently launched NOAA-20 satellite, these maps show atmospheric temperatures at 700 millibars, at approximately 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) around the globe and over North American on January 11 and January 16, 2018.

In this first map dated January 16, 2018, the most notable feature over North America is the contrast between the extremely warm temperatures in northwestern Canada with the extreme cold, associated with a sharp dip in the jet stream over the U.S. Midwest on January 16. The difference in temperature between the two features is more than 30° Celsius (54° Fahrenheit). Surface temperature observations confirm this extreme contrast: In Calgary, Alberta the afternoon high temperature was 45° F, while in Nashville, Tennessee the high was a mere 17° F (location of both cities shown with circles).

In this second map, dated January 11 — just 5 days earlier — the afternoon high temperatures in Calgary and Nashville were -15° F and 69° F, respectively. This pattern reversal is indicated in the last of the images which clearly show the warmth focused in the eastern U.S., and sharply colder arctic air moving south into west central Canada.

Mapping the global patterns of temperature from NOAA-20 will help in a range of efforts, from identifying regional climate changes, to locating areas of extreme cold in the upper atmosphere which can pose hazards to commercial aviation. Global observations from ATMS and other microwave sounders provide the critical data source needed by weather forecast models to predict these weather patterns out to 7 days.

NOAA-20’s ATMS features 22 microwave channels that provide sounding profiles of atmospheric temperature and moisture. The data it collects are critical for accurate weather forecasts out to seven days and can be used to create maps of global precipitation, snow and ice cover.

The Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MiRS) produces maps of temperature, water vapor, precipitation and snow and ice cover each day. It is the official microwave-only satellite retrieval system for NOAA running ATMS data from NOAA-20. MiRS products are preliminary, and non-operational.

To learn more about NOAA-20 and ATMS, visit the JPSS website's mission and instruments page.