JPSS – The Joint Polar Satellite System Overview


The Joint Polar Satellite System is the nation’s next generation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites. JPSS represents significant technological and scientific advancement in severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring. JPSS satellites circle the Earth from pole-to-pole and cross the equator 14 times daily in the afternoon orbit, providing full global coverage twice a day. In fact, polar satellite data is considered the backbone of the weather forecast. JPSS satellites simultaneously provide sophisticated meteorological data and observations of atmosphere, ocean, and land for short-term seasonal and long-term monitoring, and forecasting. JPSS data increases the timeliness and accuracy of forecasts 3 to 7-days in advance of severe weather events. NOAA’s National Weather Service uses JPSS data as a critical input for numerical forecast models, providing the basis for essential, mid-range forecasts. These forecasts allow for early warnings and enable emergency managers to make timely decisions to protect American lives and property, including ordering effective evacuation. JPSS satellites also provide critical observations in polar regions. In Alaska, JPSS supports essential forecasting for economically vital aviation, maritime, oil and gas industries. JPSS also enables scientists and forecasters to monitor and predict weather patterns with greater accuracy and to study long-term climate trends by extending the more than 30-year satellite data record. The satellites of the JPSS constellation host state-of-the-art instruments. They are the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite, and an instrument that measures the Earth’s radiation budget. Together, these instruments gather global measurements pf atmospheric, terrestrial, and oceanic conditions, including atmospheric temperature and moisture, hurricane intensity, clouds, rainfall, dense fog, volcanic ash, fire location and smoke plumes, sea and land surface temperatures, vegetation, snow and ice cover, and ozone. Information from JPSS satellites supports every area of NOAA’s mission, including ensuring a more Weather-Ready Nation, healthy coasts, resilient coastal communities, and adapting and mitigating climate change.

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