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Blog Category: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

50th Anniversary of the Satellite that "Forever Changed Weather Forecasting"

One of the first satellite images. Click for a full version.

Fifty years ago today, the world’s first weather satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and opened a new and exciting dimension in weather forecasting. Top leaders from Commerce’s NOAA and NASA hailed the milestone as an example of their agencies’ strong partnership and commitment to flying the best satellites today and beyond. The first image from the satellite, known as TIROS-1, was a fuzzy picture of thick bands and clusters of clouds over the United States. An image captured a few days later revealed a typhoon about 1,000 miles east of Australia. TIROS-1, a polar-orbiting satellite, weighed 270 pounds and carried two cameras and two video recorders. (More)

NOAA: Sixth-Warmest February in Combined Global Surface Temperature, Fifth-Warmest December-February

Last month’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the sixth-warmest February ever recorded. Additionally, the December 2009-February 2010 period was the fifth-warmest on record averaged for any similar three-month Northern Hemisphere winter-Southern Hemisphere summer season, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to businesses, communities and governments so they may make informed decisions to safeguard their social and economic well-being. (More)

NOAA: Imminent Flood Threat in Midwest, South and East at Risk

Map of U.S. showing areas of flood risk. Click for larger image.

Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual. Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk—with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year. (More)

FEMA and NOAA Renew Partnership to Encourage Flood Safety

NOAA logo. Click to go to Web site.

As one of the snowiest winter seasons in many years yields to warmer weather and the promise of rain and snowmelt, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FloodSmart campaign and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced they are again working together during Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 15-19) to raise awareness of the dangers associated with flooding and steps to protect against damage. (More) (Map)

NOAA: U.S. Winter and February Cooler Than Average

U.S. map graphic with temperature ranges. Click for full-size graphic.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that temperatures were below normal for the contiguous U.S. for the winter season (December through February). The winter season was wetter than normal; however precipitation in February alone was slightly below average. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (More) (Temperature map) (Precipitation map) (State of the Climate Report)

Newest NOAA Geostationary Satellite Reaches Orbit

GOES emblem

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA officials announced a new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), launched tonight, successfully reached its initial orbit, joining four other GOES spacecraft that help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity. “Our geostationary satellites are the nation’s weather sentinels in the sky,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “With more than 35 million Americans living in hurricane prone areas and more than 1,000 tornadoes touching down in the U.S. annually, we need the reliable, accurate data that these satellites provide.” (More) (Launch image)

NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale

Satellite image of Hurricane Ike, 2008. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category. Changes were made to the Saffir-Simpson Scale because storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. (More)

Commerce Department Proposes Establishment of NOAA Climate Service

Department of Commerce seal.

Individuals and decision-makers across widely diverse sectors—from agriculture energy to transportation—increasingly are asking Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses. To meet the rising tide of these requests, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the intent to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s strong climate science and service delivery capabilities. (More) (Announcement) (Climate Web site)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second-Warmest on Record

Image of the world's oceans.

The global ocean surface temperature was the second-warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and based on records going back to 1880. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth-warmest on record for December. For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.) (More)