New satellite expected to increase weather data for forecasters

 An image of the joint polar satellite system
An image of the joint polar satellite system (KTUU)
Published: Nov. 6, 2017 at 3:39 PM AKST
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A satellite will be launched later this month that NASA hopes will improve the weather forecasts, particularly in places like Alaska.

The Joint Polar Satellite System, or JPSS-1, should have more data and a better camera angle for polar regions.

Most of the weather information available now comes from geo-stationary satellites, which fly directly over the equator. Alaska is so far north that these satellites don’t get a good angle, and in some cases, can’t even see the Arctic Ocean.

NASA’s polar orbiting satellite will circle the earth from pole to pole 14 times a day.

It has a more powerful camera that will fly directly over Alaska.

“That imager is actually good enough to actually show sea ice that would be around the shore lines of the Alaska area for forecasting, for safety of marine transportation, for fisheries, et cetera,” said Joe Pica, the Director of Observations for NOAA and the National Weather Service.

The information will be downloaded twice a day, which means forecasters will have twice as much data as what is currently received. For meteorologists, more data means more accurate forecasts.

The launch, originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10, has now been delayed due to a faulty battery on the rocket carrying the satellite. It will now launch sometime after November 14.