Mitigating the loss of satellite data by using CubeSat remote sensing technology

March 19, 2019

Advanced infrared and microwave sounding systems, usually onboard traditional polar-orbiting satellites, provide atmospheric sounding information critical for nowcasting and weather forecasting through data assimilation in numerical weather prediction models. This means weather forecasts have become increasingly dependent on satellite observations. But what if we lose one or more of these instruments? How do we mitigate the data gap?

Dr. Jun Li, a distinguished scientist at the Cooperative Institute of Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin - Madison, led a study to answer these questions. The findings were recently published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters.

Satellites are expensive to develop, build, and launch, due to the complexity of the systems involved. "We are talking about hundreds of millions to billions of US dollars", says Dr Li. "It is impossible to quickly build another satellite to replace the faulty one if anything goes wrong in space or during the launch."

Li and his team used a so-called 'observing system simulation experiment' to study the potential of two types of remote sensing technologies using CubeSats--the Micro-sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite-2 (MicroMAS-2) and the CubeSat Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (CIRAS), with costs measured in millions of US dollars, far fewer than those needed to replace a traditional satellite--to mitigate the data gap (should one occur) of the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), onboard the Suomi NPP and the Joint Polar Satellite System satellites. The results showed that a single CubeSat was able to provide added value in terms of the forecasting of local severe storms, and more CubeSats with increased data coverage yielded larger additional positive impacts, indicating that CubeSats may be used to mitigate data gaps left by the loss of traditional weather satellites.

"This study provides a possible cost-saving approach to temporarily mitigate data gap problems. More investigations are still needed, however, on the utilization of CubeSat-based remote sensing technology for weather forecasting," concludes Li.
-end-


Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Satellite Articles from Brightsurf:

NASA satellite gives a hello to tropical storm Dolly
During the morning of June 23, the fourth system in the Northern Atlantic Ocean was a subtropical depression.

Observing phytoplankton via satellite
Thanks to a new algorithm, researchers at the AWI can now use satellite data to determine in which parts of the ocean certain types of phytoplankton are dominant.

The Internet of Things by satellite will become increasingly accessible
Thanks to the implementation of advanced random access schemes using efficient, low complexity algorithms.

Satellite broken? Smart satellites to the rescue
The University of Cincinnati is developing robotic networks that can work independently but collaboratively on a common task.

Satellite images reveal global poverty
How far have we come in achieving the UN's sustainable development goals that we are committed to nationally and internationally?

Satellite data exposes looting
Globally archaeological heritage is under threat by looting. The destruction of archaeological sites obliterates the basis for our understanding of ancient cultures and we lose our shared human past.

NASA satellite finds 16W now subtropical
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite found 16W was still being battered by wind shear after transitioning into an extra-tropical cyclone.

How far to go for satellite cloud image forecasting into operation
Simulated satellite cloud images not only have the visualization of cloud imagery, but also can reflect more information about the model.

NASA confirms re-discovered IMAGE satellite
The identity of the satellite re-discovered on Jan. 20, 2018, has been confirmed as NASA's IMAGE satellite.

Satellite keeps an eye on US holiday travel weather
A satellite view of the US on Dec. 22 revealed holiday travelers on both coasts are running into wet weather.

Read More: Satellite News and Satellite Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.