Next-gen satellites will paint a clearer picture of a changing Earth

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Next-gen satellites will paint a clearer picture of a changing Earth


Thanks to next-generation satellite systems scientists have in place, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-R series, scientists are able to get high-definition images of Earth faster than ever before. This is data that helps paint a full picture of our planet; the satellites can be thought of as in collaboration with one another, using special tools to make measurements and take observations that would otherwise be nearly impossible to perform from the ground directly. Yet, as our climate continues to change at a rapid rate due to human activities like burning coal, and as scientists make more discoveries about how planet Earth itself works, technology needs to be updated. Only then can we truly understand what’s happening across our planet, including in terms of  weather systems that impact the land and dynamics occurring deep below the ocean’s surface.

Earlier this month, the NOAA shared in a release that scientists determined, for a second time within the last decade, that a global coral bleaching event is underway across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean basins. Sea-surface temperature data, gleaned from a blend of NOAA and partner satellites, helped confirm the ongoing event. But while NOAA scientists continue analyzing and documenting the severity and extent of this global event, which is being driven by ocean warming and extreme marine heat stress, there’s still more to understand when it comes to the anatomy and ecology of our oceans.

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