The SPoRT program has been collaborating with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center to transition passive microwave products to their operational system; the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Advanced Weather Information Processing system, or NAWIPS. By viewing a storm in microwave wavelengths versus infrared, forecasters have the ability to observe storm structure that may be obscured by high clouds. Many times, this ability is used to better determine the center fix on a tropical system.
One of the most recent missions to carry a passive microwave instrument is the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. The core observatory was launched on February 27, 2014 operational data from GPM’s microwave imager (GMI) was first available on May 29. SPoRT has incorporated this into the data feed for the National Hurricane Center. SPoRT is currently working to transition these observations to NAWIPS for the Central Pacific Hurrican Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The image below, taken by the National Hurricane Center in NAWIPS shows Hurricane Iselle in the Pacific Ocean several days before it struck the big island of Hawaii. The image shows an RGB (red, green, blue) color composite of Hurricane Iselle from August 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM Eastern Daylight time. The image is created by combining the horizontal and vertical polarization observations of the 89 GHz channel. The resulting combination emphasizes strong convection / deep clouds in bright red.
Additional information on GPM can be found at: www.nasa.gov/gpm.