New satellite to orbit the poles, not equator – promises improved weather forecasts for Alaska

New satellite expected to increase weather data for forecasters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – A satellite will be launched later this month that NASA hopes will improve the weather forecasts, particularly in places like Alaska.

The Joint Polar Satellite System, or JPSS-1, should have more data and a better camera angle for polar regions.

Most of the weather information available now comes from geo-stationary satellites, which fly directly over the equator. Alaska is so far north that these satellites don’t get a good angle, and in some cases, can’t even see the Arctic Ocean.

NASA’s polar orbiting satellite will circle the earth from pole to pole 14 times a day.

It has a more powerful camera that will fly directly over Alaska.

“That imager is actually good enough to actually show sea ice that would be around the shore lines of the Alaska area for forecasting, for safety of marine transportation, for fisheries, et cetera,” said Joe Pica, the Director of Observations for NOAA and the National Weather Service.

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