Image from TERRA
Thu, 10 Sep 2020 10:46 EDT

The year 2020 will be remembered for being a very trying year and western wildfires have just added to the year's woes.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 03 Sep 2020 11:00 EDT

While scientists around the world are confined to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Earth observing satellites continue to orbit and send back images that reveal connections between the pandemic and the environment.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 01 Sep 2020 16:23 EDT

Earth-observing instruments on satellites and aircraft are mapping the current fires, providing data products to agencies on the ground that are responding to the emergency.

Weather

Weather–day-to-day temperature and rainfall–plays an important role in human activities. Weather controls crop growth. It can impact transportation infrastructure and destroy homes and other structures. Accurate weather predictions can help decision makers save lives and property.

NASA develops new technologies that offer unique insight into weather and the processes that generate it. NASA scientists study weather processes to gain a more complete understanding of the Earth system. Advanced technology and greater scientific understanding of weather processes together improve weather forecasts made by operational agencies like the NOAA National Weather Service.

Terra and Weather

Terra data contribute to understanding and predicting weather phenomena. MODIS and MISR provide observations of water vapor, winds and cloud movement that are used to track motion in the atmosphere (atmospheric motion vectors) and improve weather forecasts.

Polar Winds

MODIS provides the only high-resolution satellite measurement of water vapor, which can be used with MODIS infrared measurements to observe winds in polar regions. Since Terra is in a polar orbit, MODIS collects observations over the poles every 100 minutes. By tracking how water vapor and clouds move between orbits, scientists can determine wind speed and direction. Such measurements increase the accuracy of numerical weather models used to make 10-day forecasts.

See Polar wind data blow new life into forecasts.

Wind Fields

MISR’s multi-angle stereo view can be used to track cloud motion and deduce wind speed and direction. In particular, MISR measurements provide insight into how wind speeds vary inside hurricanes of different sizes.

Terra Science on Weather in the News