NASA is soon launching a new satellite that will help computers predict future environmental conditions and produce more accurate weather forecasts and warnings.
The National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, slated for launch on Oct. 27, is the first mission designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts and increase understanding of climate change.
The data will be useful for emergency responders in anticipating, monitoring and reacting to many types of natural disasters.
Using data from instruments, including four new state-of-the-art sensors, scientists will be able to correlate the 30 key data records that have previously been collected by several Earth-observing satellites, such as ozone layer, land and sea ice coverage and atmospheric temperatures, to understand and predict changes in global climate.
According to Jim Gleason, project scientist, data from the satellite will give scientists a bigger picture of global changes. This will in turn help them improve the computer models that predict future environmental conditions.
"Better predictions will let us make better decisions, whether it is as simple as taking an umbrella to work today or as complex as responding to a changing climate," Gleason said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will use the data to produce forecasts and warnings that will help emergency responders to anticipate and plan for natural disaster.
Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction said that with the many weather disasters this year, the launch could hardly be more timely.
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