Weather Forecasting Current Affairs

NASA launches Joint Polar Satellite System-1

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched a next-generation satellite called the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) into space. JPSS-1 is a joint venture between NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was launched into orbit atop United Launch Alliance-built Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will be renamed NOAA-20 when it reaches its final orbit.

Key Facts

JPSS-1 is first multi-day weather forecasts satellite in NOAA’s series of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites representing major advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring. It is designed to monitor weather around world and help improve forecasts.

It is highly advanced polar-orbiting satellite that will orbit Earth 14 times each day from one pole to other at 824 kms above planet, providing scientists full global coverage twice a day. JPSS-1 carries a suite of five advanced instruments designed to take global measurements of atmospheric, land and sea conditions from sea surface temperatures, volcanic ash, hurricane intensity and many more.

The satellite will improve weather forecastings, such as predicting hurricane’s track and will help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages. Its data will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.

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Scientists develop new tool to improve monsoon forecast

Scientists from Florida State University in the US have developed new tool for objectively defining onset and demise of Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) . The new method uses rainfall rates to mark span of ISM at any given location throughout affected region.

Significance

For generations, scientists have struggled to produce model for reliably defining duration of monsoon. No existing system has allowed researchers to reliably define parameters of season at fine scale as seen in this new model. Current weather forecasting and monitoring protocols focus attention on monsoon onset at one location, specifically in Kerala, and extrapolate for rest of region.

The new model takes into consideration specific locations by covering whole country, and objectively defines onset and demise dates for any given year. The new system ties onset of monsoon to location-specific rainfall thresholds and can work to allay confusion and frustration due to lack of clear, granular and objective benchmark for ISM onset and demise for all areas of country.

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