NASA Could Predict Next Weather Catastrophe


CPP says that a new program will feature NASA helping with extreme weather prediction and new technology that could predict the next catastrophe. All over the globe, the possibility of typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones, and other troublesome storms are a primary consideration for building design professionals. It is important to know about storms and their behavior, so that these professionals can design appropriate structures that are safe and resilient in such extreme situations. NASA plans to launch a program that will assist in this area. The program is called the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System or CYGNSS.

NASA says that this will improve the ability to predict extreme weather conditions. Super storms, such as hurricanes, can cause up to $1.8 billion in damage for each event according to the article. The CYGNSS is supposed to tap into existing GPS data to measure the speeds of surface winds in the oceans on Earth. Satellites will orbit Earth and compare GPS data from satellites to signals that reflect off of Earth’s surface. This technique is called bistatic scatterometry and it provides scientists with key information needed to tell what the wind speeds are at the surface of the oceans.

The data collected will give information regarding the formation of storms and how strong they are. These results will help forecasters more accurately predict the intensity of storms and track them more effectively.  WGNO said that more efficient modeling and simulation techniques have helped immensely in terms of weather forecasting. There has been an improvement of fifty percent, particularly in the last thirty years. Scientists hope that the CYGNSS mission will add to that improvement. NASA

Scientists are also hopeful according to the article, that the CYGNSS mission will improve the observational data that serves as input to the computer models. Data from the mission is expected to reach scientists by 2017. Mission leaders have been excited over the possibility of making more data available to engineers and architects. These individuals design structures that could be affected by extreme weather, so they would benefit from new accurate information. NASA really wants to help with extreme weather prediction and hopes to be able to help predict the next big weather catastrophe before it occurs.

While improvements have been made, scientists still feel the ability to predict a storm is lackluster. The hope is that the mission will bridge the gap, according to the Weather Channel website. The article added that forecasting ability has been steadily improving over the last twenty-five years in terms of tracking the storm, but the ability to track the intensity has not improved at all. Researchers want to change this.

NASA explained in the article that the CYGNSS will use signals from the GPS to obtain precise readings of wind speeds that are at the eye of a storm. Rain usually interferes with the readings, but NASA swears that it will not obstruct sensors with the new technology. This information will then accurately predict how strong a storm will be, the article said. With this information at their disposal and the ability to track a storm, the next big catastrophe could be prevented and forecasters could be on top of the situation. Lives could be saved and money would not have to be used in cleaning up the damages.

NASA’s new mission, which will launch soon, will help with extreme weather prediction and hopefully will help to prevent catastrophe’s that might occur. NASA hopes that this mission will help forecasters to not only track storms, but also assist in determining the strength as well. The hope is that the forecasting ability will continue to improve.

By Heather Granruth

WGNO: How new GPS technology is helping forecast hurricanes

Weather: Soon-to-Launch NASA Satellites Will Benefit Hurricane Forecasting, Scientists Say

CPP: New NASA program may help with extreme weather prediction

Photo Courtesy of Jorge Santos’ Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

Photo Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

Your Thoughts?