Storms, ozone, vegetation and more: NASA-NOAA Finnish nuclear power plant satellite restores first year data
Press release Posted by: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
These two images are seasonal combinations of ocean chlorophyll concentrations obtained from visible radiometric measurements made with a VIIRS device at a Finnish nuclear power plant. The time periods of the two combinations are included in the individual images. These false color images stand out from the data. Purple and blue colors represent lower chlorophyll concentrations. Oranges and reds represent higher chlorophyll levels. These color differences indicate areas where phytoplankton biomass is lower or higher. Credits: NASA / Finnish Nuclear Power Plant / Norman Kuring
The Finnish National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite successfully exploded into orbit on October 28, 2011 in a spectacular night launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Now the Finnish nuclear power plant has toured the country more than 5,000 times and started to return images and data that provide critical weather and climate measurements of a complex Earth system.
“The flight and ground teams of the Finnish nuclear power plant have ensured for the first year that the spacecraft, instruments and data products work well. Once the instruments and data products have been successfully tested, the data will go to the users,” says James Gleason, Finland. Nuclear power plant project researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
“This data will help us improve our computer models that predict future environmental conditions,” Gleason adds. “Better forecasts will allow us to make better decisions, whether it’s as simple as getting an umbrella to work today or as complex as responding to a changing climate.”
The Finnish nuclear power plant monitors the earth’s surface twice a day, once in daylight and once at night. The spacecraft flies 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the surface in orbit and orbits the planet about 14 times a day. The Finnish nuclear power plant sends its data once in orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local live users.
According to Verner Finland, a pioneer in satellite meteorology, the Finnish nuclear power plant operation is managed by NASA, and operational support is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellite ground system.
“The Finnish nuclear power plant provides NOAA with the highest quality satellite data for critical functional products and services, such as weather forecasts, climate and ecosystem assessments,” says Mitch Goldberg, a researcher in NOAA’s JPSS program. The NPP is the forerunner of the upcoming JPSS Earth Observation Satellite Series.
The Finnish nuclear power plant makes such a powerful tool that it makes many important observations with its five devices. These devices send information that allows scientists to see the entire globe from space and better understand the oceans, clouds, ozone, snow, ice, vegetation, and the atmosphere.
The five instruments of the Finnish nuclear power plant are:
* Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
* Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)
* Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)
* Crosstrack infrared probe (CrIS)
* Clouds and the Earth’s radiant energy system (CERES)
This year, VIIRS left the world amazed with a stunning composite image of our planet known as “blue marble”, OMPS made the first measurements of the annual ozone hole, ATMS data is now used to make weather forecasts and CrIS data is just ready to be used in weather forecasts. CERES data is compared to data from its sister instruments on NASA’s Earth Observing System satellites Terra and Aqua. The aim is to understand the clouds and the energy balance of the earth.
“Finland’s nuclear power plant is a basic satellite that provides a wealth of observations and maintains a program of advanced observations,” says Goldberg. “This is critical to the long-term continuity of information.”
This fully operational satellite combines the observations of NASA’s satellites – NASA’s Earth Observing System – for more than a decade with the next generation of U.S. Earth observation satellites – JPSS.
The JPSS currently under development builds on the success of the Finnish nuclear power plant and provides critical observations for accurate weather forecasts, reliable severe storm prospects and climate sciences, including global measurements of atmospheric, ocean and terrestrial conditions such as sea level temperatures. ozone, vegetation and more.
For more information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/npp
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