Research

SSEC engineers and scientists develop and utilize space-, aircraft- and ground-based instrumentation to collect and analyze observations of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and other planetary atmospheres to improve our understanding of weather, climate, and atmospheric processes. Through this research we produce new resources, products, and tools that are helping to improve the accuracy and timeliness of weather forecasts.

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  • Absolute Radiance Interferometer (ARI) for the CLARREO Pathfinder

    The Absolute Radiance Interferometer is a prototype developed for the CLARREO pathfinder mission designed to create a benchmark for climate measurements.

    Contact:

    Henry Revercomb
  • Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC)

    The Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC) is an observational research center focused on the meteorology of the Antarctic and adjacent regions through the use of networked weather stations and satellite imagery and data.

    Contact:

    Matthew Lazzara
  • Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI)

    A ground-based instrument developed by SSEC, the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) measures temperature, water vapor, and trace gases in the boundary layer.

    Contact:

    Jonathan Gero
  • Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)

    SSEC scientists have helped calibrate the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) onboard the Aqua satellite and currently validate its data, develop algorithms to make the data useful, and write software for processing the data from direct broadcast facilities.

    Contact:

    Allen Huang
  • Atmospheric Motion Vector Research

    SSEC is known for its pioneering work with atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) to track wind patterns by analyzing numerous sets of satellite images. These include AMVs from geostationary (GEO) satellite observations over mid-latitudes and the tropics and AMVs from low earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites over polar regions.

    Contact:

    Dave Santek
  • Blackbody Research

    SSEC engineers are developing new blackbody technologies to improve the calibration of infrared remote sensing instruments.

    Contact:

    Fred Best
  • CIMSS Climate Data Portal (CDP)

    The CIMSS Climate Data Portal (CDP) provides web access to the entire PATMOS-x AVHRR and GOES datasets.

    Contact:

    Tommy Jasmin
  • Chequamegon Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (ChEAS)

    The Chequamegon Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (ChEAS) is a research cooperative that seeks to understand carbon and water cycles of terrestrial ecosystems at regional scales, using the Northwoods of Wisconsin as its study region.

    Contact:

    Ankur Desai
  • Clouds from AVHRR Extended (CLAVR-x)

    The Clouds from AVHRR extended (CLAVR-x) system processes cloud data for NOAA operations using the AVHRR instrument on the NOAA-POES and EUMETSAT-METOP series of polar orbiting satellites.

  • Combined HSRL and Raman Measurement Study (CHARMS)

    The Combined HSRL and Raman Measurement Study (CHARMS) is an effort through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program to evaluate the potential of combining two advanced lidar systems to provide information about aerosols and clouds in the Earth’s atmospheric column.

    Contact:

    Ed Eloranta
  • Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP) Geo

    The Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP) Geo is free open source software developed to support Direct Broadcast (DB) users with processing geostationary satellite data to generate geophysical products.

    Contact:

    Liam Gumley
  • Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP) Leo

    The Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP) Leo is free open source software developed to support Direct Broadcast (DB) users with processing polar-orbiting satellite data for regional products and applications.

    Contact:

    Liam Gumley
  • Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)

    In preparation for JPSS-1 and for the current Suomi NPP, SSEC and CIMSS scientists are integrally involved in the pre-launch design and testing, as well as post-launch plans to assess the quality of the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) data.

    Contact:

    David Tobin
  • Data Assimilation

    SSEC scientists conduct research to improve satellite data assimilation techniques in operational weather forecast models.

    Contact:

    Brett Hoover
  • Evaporative Stress Index (ESI)

    The Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) uses satellite data to track changes in the amount of water vapor released by vegetation via transpiration. Monitoring the ESI could provide early warning of developing drought.

    Contact:

    Jason Otkin
  • GOES Satellite Verification System for the HRRR Model

    SSEC scientists have developed an automated ranking method to quickly assess the accuracy of High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model forecasts through comparison of observed and simulated Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) infrared brightness temperatures.

    Contact:

    Jason Otkin
  • GOES research activities at SSEC/CIMSS

    SSEC and CIMSS scientists are using data and imagery from the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) to better understand changes in Earth’s atmosphere that can lead to improved weather forecasts.

  • GOES-R series activities at SSEC/CIMSS

    Launched November 2016, GOES-R is the first in the series of next generation geostationary satellites series. GOES-R provides more timely and detailed observations that will enhance our research of Earth’s atmosphere and weather to improve forecasts.

  • Global Cloud Climatology

    The Global Cloud Climatology program compiles statistics on global clouds using the High-resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) sensors on NOAA polar orbiting weather satellites.

    Contact:

    Paul Menzel
  • Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT)

    The Hazardous Weather Testbed provides a platform to test new research and develop improved methods and technologies that support the advancement of severe weather forecasts and warnings.

    Contact:

    Tim Wagner
  • Hazus-MH Based Project Support

    Hazus-MH, created in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Adminstration (FEMA), uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters such as earthquakes, hurricane winds, and floods.

    Contact:

    Shane Hubbard
  • High resolution modeling (simulation and visualiztion of thunderstorms, tornadoes, downbursts)

    Using ultra-high resolution simulations of supercell thunderstorms, as well as state-of-the-art visualization and analysis software, researchers are studying how these storms evolve and produce tornadoes and downbursts.

    Contact:

    Leigh Orf
  • Hyper-spectral Viewer for Development of Research Applications (HYDRA)

    HYDRA software allows for the analysis and visualization of multispectral and hyperspectral data acquired from weather satellites.

    Contact:

    Thomas Rink
  • Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO)

    The Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group designs, maintains and operates drilling equipment to provide high quality ice cores and boreholes for the study of Arctic, Antarctic, and subglacial processes.

    Contact:

    Kristina Slawny
  • Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI)

    To validate the measurements and to study climate trends, SSEC researchers compare data from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) on the European MetOp satellite with data from other sounders, such as the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS).

    Contact:

    David Tobin
  • Infusing satellite Data into Environmental Applications - International (IDEA-I)

    The Infusing satellite Data into Environmental Applications - International (IDEA-I) develops satellite-based aerosol forecasting, visualization, and data synthesis tools for use by the international air quality forecasting community.

  • Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit (ICECAPS)

    The Integrated Characterization of Energy, Clouds, Atmospheric state, and Precipitation at Summit (ICECAPS) ground-based instrument suite provides cloud, atmosphere, and precipitation measurements at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Contact:

    Claire Petersen
  • Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

    SSEC and CIMSS scientists are involved in calibration and validation work to ensure the instruments on board the Joint Polar Satellite System, JPSS-1, return accurate measurements that will support future research. JPSS-1 is scheduled to launch in 2017.

    Contact:

    Lori Borg
  • Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR)

    SSEC has developed two LIght Detection And Ranging (Lidar) instruments to take highly detailed atmospheric measurements used in numerical model development: the Volume Imaging Lidar and the High Spectral Resolution Lidar.

    Contact:

    Ed Eloranta
  • MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)

    Scientists at SSEC use data and imagery from NASA's MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to advance understanding of the earth-atmosphere system.

    Contact:

    Liam Gumley
  • Man Computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS-V)

    McIDAS-V is a free, Java-based, open-source software package that allows for visualization and analysis of data retrieved from weather satellites.

    Contact:

    Dave Santek
  • Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS - Total Precipitable Water (MIMIC-TPW)

    MIMIC-TPW is a technique that combines microwave observations from polar orbiting satellites to create near-seamless hourly imagery of global total precipitable water (TPW).

    Contact:

    Tony Wimmers
  • NPOESS Airborne Sounder Testbed - Interferometer (NAST-I)

    SSEC scientists use high spectral resolution data from the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Aircraft Sounding Testbed-Interferometer (NAST-I) in field campaigns to validate and calibrate satellite data for the purpose of improving operational weather forecasts.

    Contact:

    Robert Knuteson
  • Nearcasting

    Utilizing infrared water vapor data from GOES, Nearcasting is used to predict severe weather outbursts one to six hours in advance. This technique fills the gap between radar nowcasts, which predict weather from the zero to one-hour range, and NWP forecasting models which predict weather more than eight hours in advance.

    Contact:

    Ralph Petersen
  • Neptune Atmospheric Research

    Using data from the Voyager spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope, and ground-based observations, SSEC scientists are studying Neptune's seasons, atmospheric circulations, and cloud structure.

    Contact:

    Larry Sromovsky
  • Past Field Experiments

    SSEC has a long history of participation in earth science field experiments, including environmental satellite-, aircraft-, and ground-based field campaigns. Listed below are many of the SSEC and CIMSS experiments to assess the accuracies of meteorological remote sensing technologies, evaluate the potential of environmental satellite instrumentation on aircraft platforms, validation and calibration of instruments on operational satellites, and the development and improvement of tools for geophysical research.

  • Pathfinder Atmospheres - Extended (PATMOS-x)

    The Pathfinder Atmospheres - Extended (PATMOS-x) project team derives atmospheric and surface climate records from NOAA's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data over the last 25 years.

  • Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN)

    SSEC scientists participated in and are studying data from the Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN), a six-week campaign in the Great Plains supported by the NSF, NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Department of Energy to collect data on the formation and development of nocturnal storms.

    Contact:

    Tim Wagner
  • Polar Satellite Meteorology

    NOAA and CIMSS research in polar satellite remote sensing includes studies of atmospheric motion, low-level temperature inversions, and recent climate trends.

  • Probsevere

    ProbSevere is a statistical model that predicts the likelihood of a storm producing severe weather within the next 60 minutes.

  • Real-time Air Quality Modeling System RAQMS

    The Real-time Air Quality Modeling System (RAQMS) is an online system for assimilating and forecasting global, ambient chemicals, and aerosols in the stratosphere and troposphere.

  • Reliable Automated Instrumentation Network (RAIN)

    SSEC, in collaboration with other departments on campus, maintains a Reliable Automated Instrumentation Network (RAIN) for research purposes. The instruments measure atmospheric parameters, while a group of cameras capture weather events. A buoy on Lake Mendota monitors lake quality and weather conditions.

    Contact:

    Tim Wagner
  • SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC)

    The SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) is a vehicle outfitted with a suite of instruments to make ground-based measurements used for studying the atmosphere during field campaigns across the country.

    Contact:

    Tim Wagner
  • Satellite Data Assimilation for Tropical storms (SDAT)

    The Satellite Data Assimilation for Tropical storm is a near realtime experimental data assimilation system that uses conventional and satellite data to demonstrate the use of Joint Polar Satellite System sounder observations for improving tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts.

    Contact:

    Jun Li
  • Satellite-based Nowcasting and Aviation Application Program (SNAAP)

    To improve aviation safety, a team of CIMSS researchers and collaborators at the University of Alabama-Huntsville use satellite-based products to support the NASA Advanced Satellite Aviation Products initiative and is a part of the Satellite-based Nowcasting and Aviation Application Program (SNAAP).

    Contact:

    Wayne Feltz
  • Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS)

    Designed and built at SSEC, the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS) measures temperature and water vapor profiles. Data gathered in field experiments is used to advance our understanding of the Earth's atmosphere, support calibration and validation of current satellite sensors, and help to develop future weather satellite sounders.

    Contact:

    Henry Revercomb
  • Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS)

    The Atmosphere Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS) processes VIIRS data from the Suomi NPP satellite to produce Level 2 cloud and aerosol products, including cloud height, cloud phase, cloud properties, and aerosol optical thickness.

    Contact:

    Liam Gumley
  • Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT)

    The Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) field program is a NOAA-led effort designed to sense high impact oceanic weather hazards in missions for prototype operational data collection and improving forecasts.

    Contact:

    Chris Velden
  • Snowfall Microphysics + Radar Observatory (lake effect snow)

    The snowfall microphysics + radar observatory research program collects and catalogs sustained snowflake particle size distribution and habit type measurements to understand how microphysical details affect radar signatures.

    Contact:

    Mark Kulie
  • Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) Near Infrared Spectrograph

    This collaboration between the UW-Madison Department of Astronomy, Space Astronomy Lab, and SSEC will design and build a near infrared (NIR) upgrade to the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS) on the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).

    Contact:

    Mark Mulligan
  • Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP)

    The Suomi National Polar Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) is a joint program between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Defense, dedicated to building the next-generation Earth-observing satellite system for collecting environmental data. The successor to SNPP is the forthcoming series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites.

  • Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS)

    The Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) investigation will develop and launch a constellation of nanosatellites called CubeSats to study the development of tropical cyclones through rapid sampling of the atmosphere.

    Contact:

    Ralf Bennartz
  • Tropical Cyclone Research

    The CIMSS Tropical Cyclone Research group develops satellite-derived products to improve the analysis and prediction of tropical storms, leading to more accurate tropical cyclone forecasts and more timely and effective warnings.

    Contact:

    Chris Velden
  • Uranus Atmospheric Research

    SSEC scientists are studying the seasonal changes, cloud features and their dynamics, cloud structures, and atmospheric circulation on Uranus.

    Contact:

    Larry Sromovsky
  • Venus Atmospheric Research

    The atmosphere of Venus has been explored by fly-by spacecraft, orbiters, descending probes, landers and floating balloons with supplementary ground-based observations in order to learn more about the the planet's weather and the evolution of its climate.

    Contact:

    Sanjay Limaye
  • Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT)

    The Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) program trains National Weather Service forecasters using distance education techniques to accelerate the transfer of satellite-based atmospheric research into operations. This includes VISITview, a teletraining and real-time collaboration tool developed at SSEC, along with courses developed and led by SSEC scientists.

    Contact:

    Scott Bachmeier
  • Volcanic Ash

    NOAA and CIMSS scientists have developed tools to detect volcanic ash and dust clouds using data from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites—information that is used to issue volcanic ash advisories to the aviation community.

  • Wildfire Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (WFABBA)

    The Wildfire Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (WFABBA) processing system developed by SSEC/CIMSS uses international geostationary satellite data to detect and characterize biomass burning.

    Contact:

    Chris Schmidt