Image from TERRA
Tue, 01 Jun 2021 14:00 EDT

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season starts today, June 1. At NASA, we’re developing new technology and missions to study storm formation and impacts, including ways to understand Earth as a system.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 06 May 2021 10:00 EDT

Valley fever is a dangerous threat to human health – and cases are on the rise in the arid southwestern United States, as wind from increasing dust storms can transport the fungal spores that cause the disease. Valley fever is caused by the Coccidioides fungus, which grows in dirt and fields and can cause fever, rash and coughing. Using NASA resear

Image from TERRA
Fri, 23 Apr 2021 11:00 EDT

In a decade filled by record-breaking events including raging wildfires, numerous hurricanes, unseasonal flooding and historically cold temperatures, NASA has continued to learn more about how the planet is changing and the effect it has on Earth’s systems.

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