The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) hurricane mission will measure previously unknown details crucial to accurately understanding the formation and intensity of tropical cyclones and hurricanes.
“This is a first-of-its-kind mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “As a constellation of eight spacecraft, CYGNSS will do what a single craft can’t in terms of measuring surface wind speeds inside hurricanes and tropical cyclones at high time-resolution, to improve our ability to understand and predict how these deadly storms develop.”
The CYGNSS mission is expected to lead to more accurate weather forecasts of wind speeds and storm surges — the walls of water that do the most damage when hurricanes make landfall.
Utilizing the same GPS technology that allows drivers to navigate streets, CYGNSS will use a constellation of eight microsatellite observatories to measure the surface roughness of the world’s oceans. Mission scientists will use the data collected to calculate surface wind speeds, providing a better picture of a storm’s strength and intensity.
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