First launches of radar-equipped satellites planned for late 2022
Boston, 2021 – Tomorrow.io, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) came together virtually on Dec. 14 for a robust discussion on the emerging needs, recent advancement, and potential impacts of the space-based observing system for precipitation. More than 100 participants heard Tomorrow.io present details on its upcoming constellation of radar-equipped weather satellites and learned about the importance of enhanced spaceborne radar coverage from international meteorological satellite data experts.
The discussion took place as part of a WMO Open Consultative Platform (OCP) Innovation Webinar. OCP serves as an open, constructive, and participatory framework for addressing the grand challenges of the global weather enterprise. Precipitation is ranked the top priority out of 152 Earth observations by the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations. On average, 60 percent of WMO member meteorological agencies lack the full capacity needed to provide observations or climate services for water.
Radar provides vital observations of precipitation and storm dynamics, informing our understanding of the global water cycle that is critical for our survival. Yet more than 5 billion people worldwide live outside of consistent radar coverage, with virtually no coverage across the oceans. This limits the ability to generate reliable weather forecasts and provide critical information about hurricanes, typhoons, floods and other extreme weather events.
Tomorrow.io’s constellation, with first launches planned for late 2022, will expand radar coverage worldwide to an unprecedented scale—covering each point on the globe once every hour on average, compared to the 2- to 3-day revisit rate of existing spaceborne radar missions. This dramatically improved precipitation monitoring is expected to enable better forecasts worldwide, especially in data-sparse areas that currently lack reliable forecasts.
“Precipitation is a key variable and it’s also one that is incredibly under-observed,” said Anthony Rea, WMO Director of Infrastructure, in opening remarks to the webinar. “If you look at the parts of the world where they have perhaps the greatest vulnerability to severe precipitation events, these are also areas where we also have a lack of in-situ infrastructure, generally weather radars and rain gauges. Precipitation observations … are also key to our understanding of the climate and of the water cycle. And right now it’s a gap in our knowledge.”
Tomorrow.io recently announced it was awarded a $19.3 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to support deployment of its first four satellites. Tomorrow.io will offer data-as-a-service from its spaceborne radars to governmental agencies worldwide, while also ingesting the data into its proprietary modeling suite that powers its Weather and Climate Security Platform, which is used by hundreds of organizations to proactively manage weather-related challenges.
During the webinar, Tomorrow.io invited the global atmospheric science, meteorology and remote-sensing community to engage in an open-source collaboration to develop radar data assimilation techniques using simulated data in advance of launching the constellation.
“It was an honor to present our satellite constellation plans to the WMO and its member agencies,” said Rei Goffer, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Tomorrow.io. “We’re excited to partner with the public sector and academia to prepare for the availability of this important and impactful new global dataset.”
A webcast of the event can be viewed at: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/how-we-do-it/public-private-engagement-ppe/innovation-and-cutting-edge-activities-space
To become part of Tomorrow.io’s weather science community and learn more about our open-source collaboration for radar data assimilation, please contact Thomas Cavett at [email protected].
Tomorrow.io is The World’s Weather and Climate Security Platform, helping countries, businesses, and individuals manage their weather and climate security challenges. Fully customizable to any industry impacted by the weather, customers around the world including Uber, Delta, Ford, National Grid, and more use Tomorrow.io to dramatically improve operational efficiency. Tomorrow.io was built from the ground up to help teams prepare for the business impact of weather by automating decision-making and enabling climate adaptation at scale.