Satellite images are used on a day-to-day basis. Check out this great AQUA satellite image from yesterday! The high resolution picks up the very few clouds across the region.
- NASA Aqua
Not only do these weather satellites show us where clouds are, but they also can track changes in weather patterns, severe weather, tropical systems, and even monitor climate changes. The evolving science and technology in weather satellites has come very far from when the first operational satellite was launched in 1960.
TIROS-1 (Television and Infrared Observation Satellite) was launched 53 years ago on April 1st, 1960. It was a historic day for weather forecasting, since it was the first satellite designed to obtain cloud pictures to observe Earth's weather conditions on a regular basis. TIROS-1 rocketed into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida early that April morning.
The first image captured by TIROS-1 was a fuzzy picture of clouds over the U.S. Just days later, the TIROS-1 captured images of a typhoon about 1,000 miles East of Australia.
NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. stated "TIROS-1 started the satellite observations and interagency collaborations that produced vast improvements in weather forecasts. It also laid the foundation for our current global view of Earth that underlies all of climate research and the field of Earth system science."
More advanced series of TIROS satellites were launched between 1978 and 1981 and were then called POES (Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellites). POES orbit the Earth at an altitutde of about 500 miles and circle the poles once ever 102 minutes. It's incredible to see how much has changed in a span of four decades.
NOAA and NASA are now working together to launch the next generation of satellites, which will only help further the advancements in weather forecasting and research.