Thursday, April 1, 2010

It Changed The Way Weather Was Forecasted

Weather forecasting has come a long way from where it first began. We can now forecast several days to even weeks in advance thanks to all the satellites and super computers.

Before we had satellites, however, no one had good forecasts, and on many occasions, no one would know if there was a tropical storm or hurricane in the Gulf.

Times have changed and today marks the 50th Anniversary of the first satellite to ever go into orbit in outer space.

This satellite is known as TIROS-1 (Television Infrared Observation Satellite). It was launched into outer space from Cape Canaveral, FL, in 1960. It was this TIROS-1 that forever changed the way weather was seen and forecasted.

"Since TIROS-1, meteorologists have far greater information about severe weather and can issue more accurate forecasts and warnings that save lives and protect property," said Jane Lubchenco, P.h.D. and NOAA administrator.

"TIROS-1 started the satellite observations and interagency collaborations that produced vast improvements in weather forecasts," said NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. "It also laid the foundation for our current global view of Earth that underlies all of climate research and the field of Earth system science."

After the TIROS spacecrafts were launched, the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) was launched in 1975. Its ability to orbit in synce with the rotation of the Earth enhanced NOAA's forecasting.

The advances in forecasting has helped us in identifying weather patterns and storm systems across the globe.

The satellites have also enhanced the climate research and the ability to detect sea surface temperatures. It is this capability that allows climatologists to monitor areas of severe drought and predict the onset of climate pattern changes that deal with El Nino and La Nina.

So the next time you see a satellite and radar loop, remember that the imagery is coming from satellites several hundred miles in outer space.

After all, if it was not for satellites, we would not be able to predict the weather in an accurate or timely manner.

For the complete story, you can go to You can also check out NOAA'S Satellite and Information Service at