Earth & Science

New Satellite Deployed to Track Earl as it Rushes Toward North Carolina

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As hurricane Earl gets ready to hit the North Carolina coastline a new weather satellite, similar to the ones monitoring the Earl, is ready to be put to use

For thousands of North Carolinians, news of a new weather satellite may be of little comfort. But with the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season just getting started, a new satellite from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will have plenty of time to prove its worth.

After five months of on-orbit testing the new satellite, the GOES-15, is now fully operational and ready for work.

And it’s in due time. Even though the U.S. might not see any additional landfall hurricanes this year, satellites like the GOES-15 are the main source of data for weather pattern predictions benefiting the lives of many Americans in hurricane-prone zones.

According to an updated 2010 hurricane outlook, there is a 90 percent chance that this year will become an above average hurricane season. While the outlook refrains from making any predictions about the number of landfalling hurricanes (there are too many variables to predict this), it does predict this year’s season to bring at least 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.

The GOES-15 is the third and final weather and environmental satellite in the GOES-R, or Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, Program. The satellites are jointly owned by NOAA and NASA.

Below is a NASA and NOAA animation of the 2009 hurricane season generated from footage by the GOES satellites. Hurricane Bill at 0:34 gives a good impression of the need for satellites to calculate hurricane trajectories.

Written by Earth & Science

September 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

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