Feeds

NASA's CloudSat snaps 3-D weather

'Cloud-Profiling Radar' wows the crowd

High performance access to file storage

NASA is pretty pleased with the first pictures beamed back from its CloudSat satellite, which reveal "never-before-seen" 3-D details of clouds, as the press release puts it.

CloudSat - launched on 28 April - carries a millimeter wavelength "Cloud-Profiling Radar" which is "more than 1,000 times more sensitive than typical weather radar" and capable of distinguishing between cloud particles and precipitation. Its main purpose is to "offer new insights into how fresh water is created from water vapor and how much of this water falls to the surface as rain and snow".

The first data from CloudSat was a representation of a "warm front storm over the Norwegian Sea":

CloudSat's first image

The blurb explains:

CloudSat's first image...was obtained on May 20, 2006. In this horizontal cross-section of clouds, warm air is seen rising over colder air as the satellite travels from right to left. The red colors are indicative of highly reflective particles such as water droplets (or rain) or larger ice crystals (or snow), while the blue indicates thinner clouds (such as cirrus). The flat green/blue lines across the bottom represent the ground signal. The vertical scale on the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar image is approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles). The blue line below the Cloud Profiling Radar image indicates that the data were taken over water. The inset image shows the CloudSat track relative to a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) infrared image taken at nearly the same time.

CloudSat principal investigator Dr Graeme Stephens, of Colorado State University, enthused: "CloudSat's radar performed flawlessly, and although the data are still very preliminary, it provided breathtaking new views of the weather on our planet. All major cloud system types were observed, and the radar demonstrated its ability to penetrate through almost all but the heaviest rainfall."

Deborah Vane, CloudSat deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, added: "We're seeing the atmosphere as we've never seen it before. We're no longer looking at clouds like images on a flat piece of paper, but instead we're peering into the clouds and seeing their layered complexity." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.