NASA renames NPP satellite in honor of Wisconsin’s Verner Suomi

January 25th, 2012
Suomi NPP VIIRS visible and IR images of the eye of Tropical Cyclone Funso

Suomi NPP VIIRS visible and IR images of the eye of Tropical Cyclone Funso

On 24 January 2012 NASA renamed the recently-launched NPP satellite (formerly known as the NPOES Preparatory Project)  the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (or Suomi NPP) in honor of Dr. Verner Suomi, recognized as “the father of satellite meteorology” (see: NASA News | University of Wisconsin News). A comparison of Suomi NPP 375-meter resolution VIIRS 0.640 µm visible channel and 11.450 µm IR channel images (above) showed the eye of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Funso, which was located in the Mozambique Channel between Africa and Madagascar at 11:02 UTC on 24 January (track of Tropical Cyclone Funso).

On 25 January 2012, another Suomi NPP 375-meter resolution VIIRS 11.450 µm IR image (below) displayed very cold cloud top IR brightness temperatures (as low as -77º C) associated with a large thunderstom complex over Texas — this storm produced hail up to 1.25 inches in diameter (SPC storm reports) and heavy rainfall of up to 9.29 inches at Uhland (NWS Austin/San Antonio Texas Public Information Statement).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.450 µm IR image

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.450 µm IR image

The corresponding 4-km resolution GOES-13 (GOES-East) 10.7 µm IR image (below) showed much less structure to the cloud top temperature field, with the coldest IR brightness temperature being -70º C.

GOES-13 10.7 µm IR image

GOES-13 10.7 µm IR image

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