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  • Dan Powers

COSMIC-2 Satellite Network Ready to Forecast Hurricanes

With predictions for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA forecasters have added meteorological muscle from a new combination of satellite data flowing into its computer models.The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC-2) is a new fleet of six small satellites launched last June. Since May 26, the constellation has begun feeding more than 4,000 vertical sets of measurements of atmospheric temperature and humidity in the tropics and subtropics daily into NOAA's forecast models. Measuring the moisture in and around tropical cyclones is important because it is a key ingredient for their development and intensification.

COSMIC-2 is built on the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)'s COSMIC Program that has been a leader in the retrieval and scientific application of GNSS, e.g. GPS, data since UCAR led the GPS/MET GPS radio occultation (RO) mission in the mid 1990s. It contributed to the design, management, and operation of the FORMOSAT-3 / Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC-1) mission since 2006. The mission is still providing high-quality RO profiles that are having a significant positive impact on weather and space weather forecasting and research.

NOAA is currently involved in a Commercial Weather Data Pilot effort, where NOAA purchases space-based, radio occultation data — as COSMIC-2 provides — from private-sector companies to demonstrate the data's quality and its potential value to NOAA's weather forecasts and warnings. This commercial-sector radio occultation data could augment the data NOAA gets from COSMIC-2.

“COSMIC-2, along with our advanced geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, underscores NOAA’s commitment to putting the best and smartest satellite technologies in orbit to protect lives and property through improved weather prediction,” said Steve Volz, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. READ MORE>>>

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