Nasa Imager Transmits Data From Japanese Satellite
One of the newest Earth observing instruments, the SeaWinds scatterometer aboard Japan’s Midori 2 satellite, has successfully transmitted radar data to Earth, generating its first high quality images.
The Midori 2, also known as the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite 2, is so named because midori is Japanese for the color green, symbolizing the environment.
Launched December 14, 2002, from Japan, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) instrument was first activated on January 10 and transitioned to its normal science mode on January 28. A four day checkout period was completed on January 31. A six month calibration/validation phase will begin in April, with regular science operations scheduled to begin this October.
“Midori 2, its SeaWinds instrument and associated ground processing systems are functioning very smoothly,” said Moshe Pniel, scatterometer projects manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “Following initial checkout and calibration, we look forward to continuous operations, providing vital data to scientists and weather forecasters around the world.”
From its orbiting position high above Earth, SeaWinds will provide the world’s most accurate, highest resolution and broadest geographic coverage of ocean wind speed and direction, sea ice extent and properties of Earth’s land surfaces, NASA says.
It will complement and eventually replace an identical instrument orbiting since June 1999 on NASA’s Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat) satellite. Its three to five year mission will augment a long term ocean surface wind data series that began in 1996 with launch of the NASA Scatterometer on Japan’s first Advanced Earth Observing Satellite spacecraft.
Climatologists, meteorologists and oceanographers are expected to routinely use data from SeaWinds on Midori 2 to understand and predict severe weather patterns, climate change and global weather abnormalities like El Nino, the warming weather pattern in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.
The data are expected to improve global and regional weather forecasts, ship routing and marine hazard avoidance, measurements of sea ice extent and the tracking of icebergs, among other uses.
“These first images show remarkable detail over land, ice and oceans,” said Dr. Michael Freilich, Ocean Vector Winds Science Team Leader, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. “The combination of SeaWinds data and measurements from other instruments on Midori 2 with data from other international satellites will enable detailed studies of ocean circulation, air-sea interaction and climate variation simply not possible until now.”