QuikSCAT replacement funded; NWS fires former NHC director Proenza

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:20 PM GMT on February 04, 2013

In November 2009, one of the greatest success stories in the history of satellite meteorology came to an end when the venerable QuikSCAT satellite failed. Launched in 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite became one of the most useful and controversial meteorological satellites ever to orbit the Earth. It carried a scatterometer--a radar instrument that can measure near-surface wind speed and direction over the ocean. Forecasters world-wide came to rely on QuikSCAT wind data to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El Niño. Originally expected to last just 2 - 3 years, QuikSCAT made it past ten, a testament to the skill of the engineers that designed the satellite. Last week, though, NASA announced that a new QuikSCAT-like instrument called ISS-RapidScat will be launched in 2014 on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, and installed on the International Space Station (ISS.) In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA's QuikScat satellite, the cost of the new instrument will be much lower than any previous scatterometer launched into orbit.


Figure 1. Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset), which will launch to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring. It will be installed on the end of the station's Columbus laboratory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC

Alternatives to QuikSCAT
Three valuable alternatives to QuikSCAT are available, but none are as good as QuikSCAT was. There's the European ASCAT satellite, launched in 2007. Like QuikSCAT, ASCAT can measure global wind speed and direction twice per day. However, ASCAT covers only 60% of the area covered by QuikSCAT, which saw a swath of ocean 1800 km wide. ASCAT sees two parallel swaths 550 km wide, separated by a 720 km gap. I find it frustrating to use ASCAT to monitor tropical storms, since the passes miss the center of circulation of a storm of interest more than half the time. On the plus side, ASCAT has the advantage that the data is not adversely affected by rain, unlike QuikSCAT. The other main alternative is the OSCAT instrument, which was sent into orbit on September 23, 2009, on the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Oceansat-2 satellite. Like QuikSCAT, the OSCAT has a swath 1800 km wide that covers 90% of Earth's area every 24 hours. The winds at the edge of the swath are not as accurate as the ones in the middle. Moderate and heavy rain cause bogus winds that can be up to 45 mph too high. The resolution is not as high--25 km, versus the 12.5 km resolution of QuikSCAT and ASCAT. The third option is the Windsat instrument aboard the Coriolis satellite (launched in 2003), which measures wind speed and wind direction using a different technique. Evaluation of these data at NHC and NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) shown the winds to be unreliable in and around tropical storms.


Figure 2. Bill Proenza, directory of the National Hurricane Center from January 2007 - July 2007.

Former NHC director Bill Proenza fired
Former National Hurricane Center director Bill Proenza, 68, was fired from his position as director of the National Weather Service's Southern Region last week. The reason stated for his firing was his unauthorized transfer of $528,000 from a local forecasting account to pay for new radar equipment in 2012. The issue of moving money without authorization in 2012 also landed the director of NWS, Jack Hayes, in trouble, forcing him to resign.

Proenza laudably made a big push in 2007 for a new QuikSCAT satellite, but unfortunately made claims about the usefulness of QuikSCAT for improving hurricane track forecasts that were not supported by scientific research, an error that may have ultimately led to his downfall as NHC director. Proenza lasted only six months as director of NHC, from January - July 2007. While there is evidence that scatterometer data may improve hurricane track forecasts of some computer models, NHC uses many models to make hurricane track forecasts, and some of these models are not helped by scatterometer data. Scatterometer data is extremely valuable for many other aspects of hurricane forecasting, providing early detection of surface circulations in developing tropical depressions, and helping define gale (34 kts) and storm-force (50 kts) wind radii. The information on wind radii from scatterometers is especially important for tropical storms and hurricanes outside the range of aircraft reconnaissance flights conducted in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins, and for the regions where there are no reconnaissance flights (Central Pacific, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean). Accurate wind radii are critical to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC), and Guam Weather Forecast Office (WFO) watch and warning process, since they affect the size of tropical storm and hurricane watch and warning areas. Between 2003 and 2006, QuikSCAT data were used at NHC 17% of the time to determine the wind radii, 21% of the time for center fixing, and 62% of the time for storm intensity estimates.

References
2007 NOAA QuikSCAT user impact study:

I'll have a new post on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
IRG............Sorry, Am I in trouble?


naa, Lake Worth is already dead. :(
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Quoting indianrivguy:


Fertilizers are the root cause of nearly half of all bodies of water in Florida currently suffering nutrient driven collapses due to algae bloom. None of them have been tested as to their affects on submerged seagrasses. We have lost half of all seagrass meadows in Indian River lagoons north of Vero Beach. Nearly 40 thousand acres gone in two years. Agrochemical has obstructed all efforts to develop water quality standards in Florida, that is why the Feds have been suing us for nearly twenty years. The red tide about to enter Tampa Bay is nutrient driven. Our springs, estuaries, lakes, rivers and ponds all are suffering from nutrient driven algae blooms.

IFAS is corrupt, all their regulations and studies are funded by agrochemical. They come to every County Commission meeting and testify for the fertilizer industry, throwing the water, and all it life under the bus.
IRG............Sorry, Am I in trouble?
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Quoting aspectre:
Sometimes, even wearing a thick woolen sweater still isn't enough to make ya wanna step outside.
Been there, done that....Really sucks
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if it were august id say watch the area north of puerto rico season 2013 any surprises coming?
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Sometimes, even wearing a thick woolen sweater isn't enough to make ya wanna step outside.
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Quoting yonzabam:


Organophosphate, organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticide exposure is also associated with Alzheimer's disease, autism and ADHD. Organophosphates are also used as fire retardants in household furniture and fabrics.


Well, if you could not only remember those words, but, also, how to spell all of those words then I would think that you have never been exposed?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5226
Quoting PedleyCA:


That is weather related. It's whether it hits or not if we have any weather.
That would put your eye out
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Perfect link! You got the art of posting links down fast. :)
LOL
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Quoting Luisport:
45 minRyan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Total Precipitation thru 8-days for Gulf coast & SE shows flooding potential. 4-8'' maximum Link


Perfect link! You got the art of posting links down fast. :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5226
Quoting indianrivguy:


Fertilizers are the root cause of nearly half of all bodies of water in Florida currently suffering nutrient driven collapses due to algae bloom. None of them have been tested as to their affects on submerged seagrasses. We have lost half of all seagrass meadows in Indian River lagoons north of Vero Beach. Nearly 40 thousand acres gone in two years. Agrochemical has obstructed all efforts to develop water quality standards in Florida, that is why the Feds have been suing us for nearly twenty years. The red tide about to enter Tampa Bay is nutrient driven. Our springs, estuaries, lake rivers and ponds all are suffering from nutrient driven algae blooms and they spend.

IFAS is corrupt, all their regulations and studies are funded by agrochemical. They come to every County Commission meeting and testify for the fertilizer industry, throwing the water, and all it life under the bus.


Organophosphate, organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticide exposure is also associated with Alzheimer's disease, autism and ADHD. Organophosphates are also used as fire retardants in household furniture and fabrics.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
45 minRyan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Total Precipitation thru 8-days for Gulf coast & SE shows flooding potential. 4-8'' maximum Link
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Quoting LargoFl:
found this for florida lawns..........Pre-Emergent Herbicides



According to the University of Florida's IFAS Extension Service, around February 15 is the correct application date for pre-emergent herbicides. More specifically, it is around the time that daytime temperatures remain at 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for four or five days a week.



Read more: The Best Time to Weed & Feed the Lawn in Florida | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7923972_time-weed-feed-l awn-florida.html#ixzz2K3st0Vnv


Fertilizers are the root cause of nearly half of all bodies of water in Florida currently suffering nutrient driven collapses due to algae bloom. None of them have been tested as to their affects on submerged seagrasses. We have lost half of all seagrass meadows in Indian River lagoons north of Vero Beach. Nearly 40 thousand acres gone in two years. Agrochemical has obstructed all efforts to develop water quality standards in Florida, that is why the Feds have been suing us for nearly twenty years. The red tide about to enter Tampa Bay is nutrient driven. Our springs, estuaries, lakes, rivers and ponds all are suffering from nutrient driven algae blooms.

IFAS is corrupt, all their regulations and studies are funded by agrochemical. They come to every County Commission meeting and testify for the fertilizer industry, throwing the water, and all it life under the bus.
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372. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


That is weather related. It's whether it hits or not if we have any weather.


Thats a Good point !!
That never crossed my mind ... but is now
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Look at Boston.... wow!

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting JNCali:
I am wearing shorts today. 60+ in Mid TN... This photo is not me, but it might be...


Yes. That kinda looks like my yard. Green around the edges and a bit bare down the middle.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5226
I am wearing shorts today. 60+ in Mid TN... This photo is not me, but it might be...
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Quoting LargoFl:
oh ok sorry lol..real low humidity today, hope no fires start..


For sure. Humidity here is 43%. It was scary that the Forestry service was doing some controlled burns yesterday in Charlotte and Hendry counties..
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Model for precip on saturday...........
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA...
NORTHERN AND CENTRAL VIRGINIA...AND CENTRAL AND WESTERN MARYLAND
WITH THE EXCEPTION OF GARRETT COUNTY.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT

LIGHT SNOWFALL IS POSSIBLE IN THE ALLEGHENY HIGHLANDS TONIGHT.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY

A PERIOD OF WINTRY PRECIPITATION IS POSSIBLE THURSDAY NIGHT AND
FRIDAY MORNING...ESPECIALLY FOR LOCATIONS ALONG AND WEST OF THE
BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS AND ALSO NEAR THE MASON-DIXON LINE.
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MA boy...this is up for us...

CONFIDENCE CONTINUES TO INCREASE IN THE POTENTIAL FOR A VERY
SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM FRIDAY INTO EARLY SATURDAY. WHILE LIGHT
SNOW MAY HAVE DEVELOPED FRIDAY MORNING...THE WORST OF THE STORM
LOOKS TO OCCUR FRIDAY AFTERNOON INTO EARLY SATURDAY.

THE EXACT DETAILS OF THE STORM REMAIN UNCERTAIN SINCE THE EVENT IS
STILL 72 HOURS IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER...THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR
A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW IN SOME LOCATIONS. THE MAIN UNCERTAINTY AT
THIS POINT IS HOW FAR WEST THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL REACH INTO THE
DISTANT INTERIOR. THE OTHER CONCERN IS WILL THERE BE ANY MIXING
ALONG THE COASTAL PLAIN THAT WOULD CUT DOWN ON POTENTIAL SNOW
ACCUMULATIONS.

IN ADDITION...THERE IS A MODERATE TO HIGH PROBABILITY THAT A
PERIOD OF STRONG WINDS WILL REQUIRE THE NEED FOR WIND HEADLINES
ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE COASTAL PLAIN LATE FRIDAY INTO EARLY
SATURDAY.

FINALLY...THERE IS A MODERATE TO HIGH PROBABILITY THAT A ROUND OR
TWO OF MINOR TO MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING WILL OCCUR ALONG THE
EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS COASTLINE DURING HIGH TIDE FRIDAY NIGHT
AND AGAIN SATURDAY MORNING.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting FtMyersgal:


LOL Largo was just gonna post that warning.
oh ok sorry lol..real low humidity today, hope no fires start..
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Quoting VR46L:
I guess this is not weather related but is interesting in my opinion ..

asteroidflyby ~ NASA


That is weather related. It's whether it hits or not if we have any weather.
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Quoting LargoFl:
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 PM EST THIS
EVENING FOR...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL HAS
ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO
6 PM EST THIS EVENING.

* AFFECTED AREA...PINELLAS...POLK...LEE.

* WIND...VARIABLE WINDS AT 3 TO 4 MPH.

* HUMIDITY...23 TO 31 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS...ANY FIRES THAT DEVELOP WILL LIKELY SPREAD RAPIDLY.
OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A RED FLAG WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN VERY FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR
THE SPREAD OF WILDFIRE ARE OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL OCCUR WITHIN
24 HOURS.


LOL Largo was just gonna post that warning.
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Quoting MrMixon:


I've often wondered if the Deccan Traps and the Chicxulub impact in the Yucatan are related. Specifically, I've wondered if the Chicxulub impact could've caused antipodal focusing of seismic waves on the opposite side of the globe, causing enough disturbance to trigger an eruption in the Deccan Traps area.



However, it looks like some folks examined this question in this paper (LINK 1 and LINK 2) and they concluded the impact did not have enough force to cause the eruption of the Deccan Traps. Plus, the two locations aren't technically across the globe from eachother (both being in the Northern Hemisphere). Still, the timing of the two seems beyond coincidental. Even if the force of the Chicxulub impact wasn't enough to cause the Deccan Trap eruptions outright, I still wonder if the impact could've knocked loose a system that was already near the bursting point...


I too have wondered this, even messed around with a globe trying to see how it may have worked. Well done Mr. Mixon. I wondered if the antipodal focusing event could be affected by the direction of the collision. Once the shock waves reached the molten mantle, there would be zero compressibility and somehow I think that might affect the focus point, or create a different one aside from the antipodal focus location.
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found this for florida lawns..........Pre-Emergent Herbicides



According to the University of Florida's IFAS Extension Service, around February 15 is the correct application date for pre-emergent herbicides. More specifically, it is around the time that daytime temperatures remain at 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for four or five days a week.



Read more: The Best Time to Weed & Feed the Lawn in Florida | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7923972_time-weed-feed-l awn-florida.html#ixzz2K3st0Vnv
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 PM EST THIS
EVENING FOR...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL HAS
ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO
6 PM EST THIS EVENING.

* AFFECTED AREA...PINELLAS...POLK...LEE.

* WIND...VARIABLE WINDS AT 3 TO 4 MPH.

* HUMIDITY...23 TO 31 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS...ANY FIRES THAT DEVELOP WILL LIKELY SPREAD RAPIDLY.
OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A RED FLAG WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN VERY FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR
THE SPREAD OF WILDFIRE ARE OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL OCCUR WITHIN
24 HOURS.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I hear you. I still have a couple of bare spots that never recovered from the drought yet. I thought I was going to lose my whole yard, but most of is did recover. The strange thing is that the clover never returned. I am not saddened by that.


I used to have a grass lawn. It's turned to moss due to the rain. It's a nightmare to mow.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
My yard sounds like yours rookie...I don't dare put "Weed & Feed" on it...There would be nothing left.


I hear you. I still have a couple of bare spots that never recovered from the drought yet. I thought I was going to lose my whole yard, but most of is did recover. The strange thing is that the clover never returned. I am not saddened by that.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5226
my Mango tree is blooms on every branch, looks like a good crop this year IF we dont get a freeze again..still early
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Quoting LargoFl:
Looks Nasty in the northeast, full winter up there...


That's what I want... big snow deficit up here
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Another big 950 mb low is intensifying well to the southeast of the Kamchatka Peninsula.




Look at the upper left corner..

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Looks Nasty in the northeast, full winter up there...
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
My yard sounds like yours rookie...I don't dare put "Weed & Feed" on it...There would be nothing left.
same here, lawn is ok but the weeds are surely coming..another month or so then i weed and feed
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Winds gusts up to 85 mph are "raking" Labrador with blizzard conditions and dangerous waves..
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I mowed my yard last Sunday. Mostly weed lowering, but the grass was growing as well.
My yard sounds like yours rookie...I don't dare put "Weed & Feed" on it...There would be nothing left.
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A severe weather and tornado outbreak is becoming increasingly likely for the end of this weekend and beginning of next week as a mid- to upper-level area of low pressure enters the western United States. Contrary to past events, this one looks like it will have sufficient instability, but also contrary to past events, this will have a tad bit less of wind shear. Nonetheless, tornadoes are definitely in the cards.

TOR:CON is at 5/10 for southeast Oklahoma, northeast Texas, northwest Louisiana, and southwest Arkansas.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35715
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Who knew this?

February 5 is National Weatherperson's Day

Please let my bf know
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Quoting LargoFl:
Hiya..its strange..i came in here a day or so ago and my web security said there was a virus in here and wouldnt let me in til now, guess its gone


I'm glad to see you back :)
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Quoting yonzabam:


Got 2 inches of snow here today in Scotland. Happy to report a rise in temperature and some rain has melted it. Means I don't have to clear the path.


.... Good for you
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting FtMyersgal:



Good to see you Largo. Missed your posts the last couple of days.

It's warming up nicely here too Currently 81° after a chilley start of 51°
Hiya..its strange..i came in here a day or so ago and my web security said there was a virus in here and wouldnt let me in til now, guess its gone
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I love that post of yours... I want snow sooo bad..


Got 2 inches of snow here today in Scotland. Happy to report a rise in temperature and some rain has melted it. Means I don't have to clear the path.
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Quoting txjac:


Too warm for me for February ...82F right now in west Houston


I mowed my yard last Sunday. Mostly weed lowering, but the grass was growing as well.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5226
Quoting txjac:


Too warm for me for February ...82F right now in west Houston
yeah your body cant get used to the cold when its hot one week,freezing the next..blood dont know which way to go to make you feel comfortable..i know it thickens for cold weather..
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Quoting LargoFl:
warmed up nicely now after a cold morning start around here



Good to see you Largo. Missed your posts the last couple of days.

It's warming up nicely here too Currently 81° after a chilley start of 51°
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Now the GFS is showing it up too... early run btw

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
7-day for Tampa bay area..spring like temps........
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335. txjac
Quoting LargoFl:
warmed up nicely now after a cold morning start around here


Too warm for me for February ...82F right now in west Houston
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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