Satellite observations can play a very important role in airborne field campaigns, since they provide a comprehensive description of the environment that is essential for the experiment design, flight planning, and post-experiment scientific data analysis. In the past, it has been difficult to fully utilize data from multiple NASA satellites due to the large data volume, the complexity of accessing NASA’s data in near-real-time (NRT), as well as the lack of software tools to interact with multi-sensor information.
The JPL GRIP Portal is a Web portal that serves a comprehensive set of NRT observation data sets from NASA and NOAA satellites describing the atmospheric and oceanic environments related to the genesis and intensification of the tropical storms in the North Atlantic Ocean. Together with the model forecast data from four major global atmospheric models, this portal provides a useful tool for the scientists and forecasters in planning and monitoring the NASA GRIP field campaign during the 2010 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season.
This portal uses the Google Earth plug-in to visualize various types of data sets, such as 2D maps, wind vectors, streamlines, 3D data sets presented at series of vertical cross-sections or pointwise vertical profiles, and hurricane best tracks and forecast tracks. Additionally, it allows users to overlap multiple data sets, change the opacity of each image layer, generate animations on the fly with selected data sets, and compare the observation data with the model forecast using two independent calendars. The portal also provides the capability to identify the geographic location of any point of interest.
In addition to supporting the airborne mission planning, the NRT data and portal will serve as a very rich source of information during the post-field campaign analysis stage of the airborne experiment. By including a diverse set of satellite observations and model forecasts, it provides a good spatial and temporal context for the high-resolution, but limited in space and time, airborne observations.