NOAA's JPSS Program Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary of Suomi NPP Launch
This week marks the two-year ago anniversary of the launch of the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The satellite, launched on October 28, 2011, is the bridge to the next generation of U.S. civil polar-orbiting operational environmental satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).
S-NPP hosts the first flight of the four highly-advanced JPSS instruments: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS); Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS); Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS); and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS). These represent substantial advances over NOAA’s legacy Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) building on capabilities pioneered by the NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) Satellites.
"Data from the instruments on board S-NPP are providing the operational and science communities with valuable information to aid in the effective and timely prediction of weather around the world," said Mitch Goldberg, Ph.D., JPSS program scientist. "From severe weather warnings several days ahead for hurricane tracking, to environmental assessments, like droughts, ocean nutrients and polar ice change, users of S-NPP are proving the value of the instrument suite."
The satellite has reached several major milestones and aided in severe weather prediction since launch. Examples of recent achievements include:
In July 2013, the VIIRS instrument was able to detect a change in the path to Tropical Storm Flossie as it approached Hawaii at night. Without VIIRS, NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center would have not been able to see the center of the storm, jeopardizing effective storm warnings.
In August 2013, data from the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) began operational incorporation into National Weather Service (NWS) prediction models. CrIS joins its sister instrument, ATMS, which began incorporation into models in May 2012.
And also in August 2013, VIIRS detected the thermal presence of volcanic activity 14 hours before the eruption of Mount Sakurajima in Japan.
"As this data is included into NWS numerical prediction models, we can become ever more confident in the accuracy and timeliness of forecasts from the three to seven day range," said Harry Cikanek, JPSS program director, NOAA. "Receiving an accurate forecast in this timeframe is critical for emergency managers to effectively prepare in advance of severe weather saving lives, protecting property, and speeding recovery."
The instruments aboard S-NPP pave the way for the next satellite in the JPSS series, the JPSS-1 satellite mission, scheduled for launch in 2017.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.