NASA Release: Suomi NPP Captures Night View of U.S. Before Hurricane Sandy’s Landfall

October 31st, 2012 by Mike Carlowicz

The following is a cross-post of a news release written by our colleagues Rob Gutro and Laura Betz in NASA public affairs and Suomi NPP outreach…

As Hurricane Sandy made a historic landfall on the New Jersey coast during the night of October 29, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NASA/NOAA’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite captured this nighttime view of the storm. This image, provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a composite of several satellite passes over North America taken 18 hours before Sandy’s landfall.

The storm was captured by a special “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as auroras, airglow, gas flares, city lights, fires and reflected moonlight. City lights in the south and mid-section of the United States are visible in the image.

William Straka, associate researcher at Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains that since there was a full moon there was the maximum illumination of the clouds.

“You can see that Sandy is pulling energy both from Canada as well as off in the eastern part of the Atlantic,” Straka said. “Typically forecasters use only the infrared bands at night to look at the structure of the storm. However, using images from the new day/night band sensor in addition to the thermal channels can provide a more complete and unique view of hurricanes at night.”

VIIRS is one of five instruments onboard Suomi NPP. The mission is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

On Monday, Oct. 29, around 8 p.m. EDT, Hurricane Sandy made landfall 5 miles (10 km) south of Atlantic City, N.J., near 39 degrees 24 minutes north latitude and 74 degrees 30 minutes west longitude. At the time of landfall, Sandy’s maximum sustained winds were near 80 mph (130 kph) and it was moving to the west-northwest at 23 mph (37 kph). According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds extended outward to 175 miles (280 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended 485 miles (780 km). Sandy’s minimum central pressure at the time of landfall was 946 millibars or 27.93 inches.

Suomi NPP was launched on Oct. 28, 2011, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. One year later, the satellite has orbited Earth more than 5,000 times and returned images and data that provide critical weather and climate measurements of complex Earth systems. Suomi NPP observes nearly every location on Earth’s surface twice every 24 hours, once in daylight and once at night. NPP flies 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the surface in a polar orbit, circling the planet about 14 times a day. NPP sends its data once an orbit to the ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local, direct-broadcast users.

For storm history, images, and video of Hurricane Sandy, please visit the following websites:

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2012/h2012_Sandy.html

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/event.php?id=79504

One Response to “NASA Release: Suomi NPP Captures Night View of U.S. Before Hurricane Sandy’s Landfall”

  1. James Scherer says:

    I live in kitts hill, ohio. We are located 9 miles north of the ohio river at ohio’s most southern tip. Our home is located on a ridge running south to east at an elevation of 970 ft Our fallout from the
    sandy storm was 5 inches of wet snow , and a temperature change from 70 degrees to a nighttime low of 30 degrees. My daughter and her husband were visiting from Dallas, Texas and found it to be very refreshing. We had no power outages as a result , and merely sat around the wood-burner and enjoyed the scenery. However, because of the storm that hit our home on june 29th of 2012 with winds of 85 mph we had plenty of firewood due to the 20 or so downed or topped trees on this 3 acre propert Thanks to the help of my neighbor, Jim Spears, we had the mess cleaned up in 3 months. He is 65 years old and I am 70 years old , so we don’t move as fast as we once did.

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