June 4, 2020

3.10.9: NASA teams up with the NWS.

Did you know that rain drops flatten as they fall to Earth? NASA has been putting some of its high tech toys to use, aiding in the battle for accurate and timely local weather prediction. The University of Alabama in Huntsville has paired the National Weather Service with NASA’s Short term Prediction Research and Transition team, or SPoRT, to combat fast evolving weather. Physically co-located in the Nation Space Science and Technology Center, SPoRT provides real time analysis and assessment of the weather situation. This can be critical, from monitoring hurricanes and tornadoes to counting lightning strikes and the intensity of hail storms. For instance, traditional radar can only profile a shower in the horizontal direction. NASA’s Dual Polarimetric Doppler radar, however, can provide a 3D analysis, differentiating hail from rain and measuring water content to warn of potential flooding. Further tools, such as the GOES-R next generation weather satellite will give forecasters a powerful new tool when its launched in 2015. Coupling with NASA will also mean better weather forecasts for a clear night sky near you!