Image from TERRA
Wed, 10 Oct 2018 13:03 EDT

More than 400 miles above Earth, a satellite the size of a school bus is earning its frequent flyer miles. On Oct. 6, NASA’s Terra completed 100,000 orbits around Earth. Terra, which launched Dec. 18, 1999, is projected to continue operation into the 2020s.

Image from TERRA
Fri, 14 Sep 2018 01:33 EDT

NASA's MISR instrument captures Hurricane Florence just off the East Coast. Data from two of its nine cameras is combined to show the storm in 3D

Image from TERRA
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:33 EDT

For the first time ever, measurements from NASA Earth-observing research satellites are being used to help combat a potential outbreak of life-threatening cholera. Humanitarian teams in Yemen are targeting areas identified by a NASA-supported project that precisely forecasts high-risk regions based on environmental conditions observed from space.

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