PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary A. Hardin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 3, 1996
FIRST WIND DATA FROM SCATTEROMETER CAPTURES PACIFIC TYPHOONS
The first images of winds over the oceans taken by the NASA Scatterometer
(NSCAT) science instrument onboard Japan's Advanced Earth Observing Satellite
(ADEOS) show two typhoons in the northwest Pacific Ocean as they were seen on
Typhoon Violet eventually ran into the coast of Japan, killing
several people and causing severe property damage. Typhoon Tom was observed
in the open ocean east of Japan. The scatterometer measured winds in the storms
at about 90 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour).
"We are very pleased with the quality of these first images,"
said Jim Graf, NSCAT project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"These images are typical of the operational data that will be generated
using NSCAT and then made available to meteorologists all over the world.
NSCAT will provide regular measurements of ocean surface wind speeds from
space, which will enhance the ability of weather forecasters
to predict the behavior of storms such as Typhoon Violet. In addition,
Earth science researchers will use NSCAT data to better understand climate
changes occurring on our planet."
The scatterometer takes 190,000 wind measurements per day,
mapping more than 90 percent of the world's ice-free oceans every two days.
The instrument will provide more than 100 times the amount of ocean wind
information currently available from ship reports. Because the scatterometer
is a radar instrument, it is capable of taking data day or night, regardless
of sunlight or weather conditions.
"This preliminary analysis of the first set of NSCAT data
clearly demonstrates that the high resolution of the NSCAT instrument improves
the monitoring of severe storms, such as typhoons. It also shows that the
repeated global coverage provides a better description of atmospheric
circulation over the ocean, which has not been adequately
sampled in the past, and it contributes to a better understanding of air-sea
interactions," said Dr. W. Timothy Liu, NSCAT project scientist at JPL.
Information gathered by the scatterometer is being used by the
National Weather Service, an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. NOAA processes
the data from the scatterometer and distributes related products to researchers
around the globe. The ocean surface wind
measurements, used in numerical computer models, will help weather forecasters
more accurately predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, winter storms and
other weather systems that form over the oceans.
"These 'first look' images are still uncalibrated, but images like
these will be routinely available on our World Wide Web site after completion
of the calibration validation phase ," Graf explained.
The address for this site is:
ADEOS is an international global change research mission of
the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), which includes
instruments from the United States, Japan and France, with investigators
from many other countries. The satellite is a key part of an international
environmental research effort that includes NASA's Mission to Planet Earth
(MTPE) program, a long-term, coordinated research effort to study the Earth
as a global environmental system. The goal of MTPE is to develop a better
scientific understanding of natural environmental changes and to distinguish
between natural and human-made changes and impacts.
MTPE-related data, which NASA distributes to researchers
worldwide, is essential to helping people make better informed decisions
about the environment. NSCAT data will be distributed by NASA and NASDA.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed, built and manages
the NSCAT instrument for NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth.
NOTE: A NASA Television Video File will feature animation of the scatterometer
wind data showing typhoons Violet and Tom and an interview with Project Manager
Jim Graf on Thursday, October 3 at 9 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Pacific Time. NASA Television is carried on Spacenet 2, transponder 5
(channel 9) C-Band, at 69 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880 MHz.
Polarization is horizontal and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz.