Initially a product of the partnership between NASA and NOAA, Suomi NPP provides scientists with extensive environmental data on the ozone layer, land cover, atmospheric temperatures and ice cover.
According to Michael Freilich, the director of the Earth Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, the satellite will provide valuable data to researchers and weather forecasters. Louis Uccellini, the director of NOAA’s Weather Service, adds that satellites of this type have the potential to provide information for near-real time prediction and warnings.
The data could also serve as an input to climate change models, and improve not only short term forecasts, but also long-term climate predictions. Some scientists are already benefiting from it, helping emergency response services to monitor and react much faster and more effectively to natural events.
The ground-breaking instruments on the board of Soumi NPP provide information for key attributes of the Earth, such as cloud cover, vegetation cover, ocean color and surface temperatures, which can improve the accuracy of meteorological predictions.
The satellite collects data twice per day- at daylight and at night, it has a polar orbit, flying at 824km, and the data are sent to a ground station in Svalbard Norway. NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md, receives the information via a fiber optic cable and the data is processed and archived at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Ashville, N.C..