June 1 marked the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends Nov. 30. After 2020 brought a record number of named storms in the North Atlantic basin, NASA is once again prepared to help understand and monitor these storms from the unique vantage point of space and is providing experts to discuss hurricanes and other extreme weather events.
Climate change is increasing the heat in the ocean basins and already making it more likely that storms will intensify faster and become stronger, a phenomenon NASA scientists continue to study.
Using data from its 20-plus earth-observing satellites, NASA plays a foundational role in the science of hurricanes. But when it comes to operational forecasting, the agencys main role is through its crucial partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NASA designs, builds, and launches NOAAs suite of satellites that provide the data that specifically feed numerical weather prediction models.
NASAs cutting-edge science helps us answer questions that nobody else can, especially when it comes to understanding hurricanes and their impacts before, during, and after they make landfall, said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. As climate change intensifies and makes natural hazards like hurricanes more damaging, NASA is more committed than ever to innovative Earth science research. Our next-generation Earth System Observatory will build on NASAs existing capabilities to provide an unprecedented understanding of the Earth from bedrock to atmosphere, so we are better prepared to protect our communities from hurricanes and other extreme weather events.
NASA’s goal for disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery is bridging the gap between data and the people who need it. Before, during, and after a hurricane or storm makes landfall, NASA satellites are in prime position to identify impacts.
NASA works with local officials and first responders, federal agencies such as FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and infrastructure experts to determine what information they need and to supply it in usable formats in real time. Examples include information on infrastructure failures and disruptions, contaminated water supplies and other hotspots for urgent response needs.