Science & Tech

NOAA seeks input on new satellite sensors and digital twin

by Debra Werner

The European Space Agency demonstrated the flexibility to look at international winds with a Doppler wind lidar on Aeolus, a satellite tv for pc constructed by Airbus Defence and Space and launched in 2018. Credit: European Space Agency

SAN FRANCISCO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is holding a collection of conferences subsequent week with potential authorities, tutorial and trade companions to debate the company’s plan to judge rising satellite tv for pc and floor structure applied sciences.

NOAA launched three Broad Agency Announcements April 29. Two of the BAAs concentrate on satellite tv for pc sensors: one to measure atmospheric winds in three dimensions and a second for hyperspectral microwave distant sensing observations. In addition, NOAA is looking for data on a digital twin system for Earth observations utilizing synthetic intelligence.

“The ultimate goal is to improve the forecast skills of NOAA,“ Sid Boukabara, principal scientist at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning, told SpaceNews. “These technologies have the potential to take us a leap forward in our ability to provide good data to our customers.”

Gathering information within the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is a key ingredient of correct climate forecasts. NOAA at present depends on the Northrop Grumman Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, which gathers information in 22 channels, flying on polar-orbiting climate satellites.

Future microwave sounders might “sample at a much higher spectral resolution and would have potentially hundreds of channels,” Boukabara stated. “By having a lot more channels, we will be able to better measure the temperature and moisture in the atmosphere.”

Measuring the vertical distribution of atmospheric wind from house is one other NOAA purpose. For now, meteorologists decide wind course and depth by observing the movement of moisture within the environment.

“What we are seeking here is to complement that by assessing technologies that will give us the entire vertical profile of the wind in the atmosphere,” Boukabara stated. “Ideally, we would like to see a comparison between the different technologies so that we can learn the pros and cons of each one and see what their impact is on the NOAA mission.”

One doable technological answer is a Doppler wind lidar just like the one the European Space Agency launched in 2018 on Aeolus.

To replace the bottom structure, NOAA officers are desirous to discover the potential of digital twin know-how.

“Digital twin has been applied in other fields,” Boukabara stated. “What we are trying to do is leverage that to apply it to the Earth science.”

NOAA’s present floor system structure acquires information from satellite tv for pc sensors operated by NOAA and its companions world wide. Each sensor produces quite a lot of information merchandise associated to completely different elements of the world and instances of day.

“What we want to do is basically fuse all the data and put it into a digital replica of the Earth environment from ocean to atmosphere to cryosphere all the way to space weather,” Boukabara stated.

With a typical person interface, NOAA might set up a one-stop store the place information prospects can choose the kind of information, the area and the time of the day that they’re fascinated about.

It’s essential for NOAA to start evaluating instruments for fusing information due to the proliferation of climate satellites and sensors.

NOAA’s National Weather Service already gathers information from dozens of satellites. As the company strikes towards reliance on smaller satellites in low Earth orbit and extra industrial information sources, the quantity of climate information is anticipated to surge.

“It’s a good problem to have because it means we have more data,” Boukabara stated.

While NOAA is raring to judge the brand new applied sciences, it’s too quickly to say when or if the company will procure any of them.

“The goal is to collect data and learn from it,” Boukabara stated. “How well does this technology work? What’s the quality of the data? What’s the impact on the NOAA systems?”

Only after answering these questions, will NOAA officers decide how these superior applied sciences might match into the longer term structure.

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