NASA and NOAA: 50 Years of Weather Studies

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 1 (UPI) — NASA scientists say it was 50 years ago Thursday the United States launched the world’s first weather satellite, revolutionizing weather forecasting.

Meteorologists said the Television Infrared Observation Satellite, known as TIROS-1, opened a new dimension in meteorology for both the space agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates the National Weather Service.

“TIROS-1 started the satellite observations and interagency collaborations that produced vast improvements in weather forecasts, which have strengthened the nation,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “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.”

NASA said the first image from TIROS-1 was a fuzzy picture of thick bands and clusters of clouds over the United States. An image captured a few days later revealed a typhoon approximately 1,000 miles east of Australia.

“This satellite forever changed weather forecasting,” said Jane Lubchenco, NOAA’s administrator. “Since TIROS-1, meteorologists have far greater information about severe weather and can issue more accurate forecasts and warnings that save lives and protect property.”

NOAA and NASA scientists say they now are planning the next generation of weather satellites. Beginning in 2015, those spacecraft will have twice the clarity of today’s satellites and will provide more than 20 times the information.

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