About Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP)
Understanding, monitoring, and predicting the course of long-term climate change AND short-term weather conditions remain tasks of profound importance. Economic competitiveness, human health and welfare, and global security all depend in part on our ability to understand and adapt to global environmental changes.
Over the last dozen years, NASA has launched a series of satellites – known collectively as the Earth Observing System (EOS) – that has provided critical insights into the dynamics of the entire Earth system: clouds, oceans, vegetation, ice, solid Earth and atmosphere. Now NASA is helping to create a new generation of satellites to extend and improve upon the Earth system data records established by EOS.
Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, formerly known as the NPOESS Preparatory Project, will serve as a bridge between the EOS satellites and the forthcoming series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites. Suomi NPP represents a critical first step in building this next-generation satellite system. The JPSS satellites, previously called the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), will be developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Suomi NPP will carry five science instruments and test key technologies for the JPSS missions. Suomi NPP is the first satellite mission to address the challenge of acquiring a wide range of land, ocean, and atmospheric measurements for Earth system science while simultaneously preparing to address operational requirements for weather forecasting.
Suomi NPP also represents the gateway to the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system, collecting both climate and operational weather data and continuing key data records that are critical for global change science.
Key science objectives and capabilities of Suomi NPP include:
Climate change -- contribute to long-term records of global environmental data critical for understanding the dynamics of climate change
Health of the ozone layer -- daily measurements of the atmospheric ozone layer that will determine whether the ozone layer is recovering as expected
Weather predictions -- a sounding instrument will collect information about cloud cover, atmospheric temperatures, humidity and other variables critical to accurate weather prediction
Vegetation -- map global land vegetation and quantify changes in plant productivity to understand the global carbon cycle and monitor agricultural processes to predict and respond to food shortages and famines
Global ice cover -- monitor changes to Earth’s sea ice, land ice and glaciers to track the pace of climate change
Air pollution -- monitor the spread of health-sapping pollutants such as soot, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide
Temperatures -- maintain a global record of atmospheric, land surface and sea surface temperatures critical to understanding the long-term dynamics of climate change
Earth’s energy budget -- make measurements to determine how much energy is entering and exiting Earth's atmosphere