Have you ever been in situation when the weather forecast called for sunny skies yet it ended up raining all day long. And you think – Ah, if I only had my umbrella.
Job of predicting weather accurately is a difficult one, because our atmosphere is constantly changing.
In order to predict the weather accurately for the hours and days ahead weather forecasters must analyze the information they receive from number of sources – including local weather observes, weather balloons, weather stations, and satellites.
Speaking of satellites – NASA has a train of satellites called the Afternoons Constellation, nicknamed the “A”-Train, which are orbiting the Earth and are collecting all sorts of data. This includes data that will help predict weather and climate change.
For example NASA has the Cloudsat satellite for studding the aspect of clouds, and Caplipso for studding the climate change, and how aerosols and particles affect the Earth’s atmosphere.
Many businesses and people rely on accurate weather conditions for different purposes – farmers need to know the best time to plant they crops; airplane takeoffs, landings, and flight paths are scheduled according to local weather conditions. Weather forecast alert people for severe storms that can be danger to personal property. Most people want to know what the weather will be like as they go to and from work, school, or plan outdoor activities.
But do you think weather prediction of forecasts are always correct? What do you think causes errors in the forecast? Weather predictions is very difficult.
The atmosphere is constantly changing and even though the scientist receive weather data from variety of sources – stations, satellites, observers, and balloons – it is still impossible to predict the weather correctly 100% of the time.
One of the ways of improving weather prediction and climate is to develop new technologies that helps scientists understand how the atmosphere works.
One such tech is the NASA’s Cloudsat satellite. This instrument provides a vertical cloud profiling from space improving weather and climate forecast.
Why is important to study the clouds?
Clouds have enormous influence on weather and climate. hey are nature’s way of moving fresh water from place to place on Earth.
Clouds play important part in maintaining Earth’s temperature.
We need to understand how clouds reflects suns energy back into space or trap the Earth’s energy into atmosphere.
That’s by using Cloudsat satellite NASA can measure altitude and properties of the clouds for better weather prediction. The radar will slice through the atmosphere providing vertical cross sectional view of clouds and provide new weather and climate data including:
- cloud layer thickness
- cloud top and base altitude
- cloud water and ice content
Some of the existing space base systems only observe the upper base layer and cannot detect the presence or multiple cloud layers nor return the cloud water and ice content.
With such type of weather technology the prediction will be improved substantially.