Polar Satellite Meteorology


Modeling studies have shown that the Arctic is one of the earth's most sensitive regions to global climate change due to the feedback between surface temperature, surface albedo, and snow and sea ice cover. With broad spatial coverage and high spatial and temporal resolution, satellites can provide the data needed for the study of surface, cloud, and radiation properties in data-sparse regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic.

CIMSS activities in satellite remote sensing in polar regions include studies of atmospheric motion, low-level temperature inversions, and recent climate trends. Algorithms have been developed for use with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to estimate cloud properties, surface temperature and albedo, and surface and top-of-the-atmosphere radiative fluxes. Some products are being generated in near-real time for meteorological applications, while others span many years for climate studies. For example, the polar winds product is being used in numerical weather prediction and has been shown to improve forecasts for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In contrast, the Extended AVHRR Polar Pathfinder product covers a 19-year period and was used to show the spatial distribution and magnitude of recent trends in surface temperature and cloud cover. This product demonstrated that if cloud cover had not been changing seasonally, the Arctic would have warmed at an even greater rate than what has been observed.

Contact information

Jeff Key
Advanced Satellite Products Team, NOAA/NESDIS
1225 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-263-2605
Fax: 608-262-5974
email contact form

Principal Investigator

Jeff Key

Funding contributors and acknowledgements


July 14, 2005