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A set of six microsatellites, launched in April 2006, is probing the atmosphere in ways that have been impossible with previous observing systems. COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate) can boost the accuracy of forecasts of hurricane behavior, significantly improve long-range weather forecasts, and monitor climate change with unprecedented accuracy.
These images show how well a computer model was able to simulate the early development of Hurricane Ernesto in the eastern Caribbean. Each image shows a 66-hour forecast of cloud-water concentration (resembling a satellite photo). The forecasts are valid for 8:00 p.m. AST on August 25, 2006. On the left-hand side, the model’s starting-point conditions included 15 COSMIC profiles of atmospheric conditions in and near the Caribbean. On the right-hand side, the profiles were not included, and the model was unable to show Ernesto’s formation. Click on the images to enlarge. (Images courtesy Yongsheng Chen, NCAR.)
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.