NASA’s Weather Prediction Project
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) aims to improve extreme weather prediction.
CYGNSS will use a constellation of eight small satellites carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle. In orbit, CYGNSS’s eight micro-satellite observatories will receive both direct and reflected signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The direct signals pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed is retrieved.
The mission will study the relationship between ocean surface properties, moist atmospheric thermodynamics, radiation and convective dynamics to determine how a tropical cyclone forms and whether or not it will strengthen, and if so by how much. This will advance forecasting and tracking methods.
CYGNSS data will enable scientists, for the first time, to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the inner core of the storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.
The satellites are expected to launch in 2016.
CYGNSS is part of the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder program.