Launched in June 1999 for an intended two-year mission, NASA’s SeaWinds scatterometer instrument on the QuikSCAT spacecraft was turned off on Oct. 2 in accordance with its end-of-mission plan. QuikSCAT spent its first decade creating an unprecedented record of the speed and direction of winds at the ocean surface. Then, for another nine years, it served as the gold standard of accuracy against which new spaceborne scatterometers were calibrated.
Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, QuikSCAT was a unique national resource that far surpassed NASA’s original science objective for the mission. During its 10 years of observing winds over the global ocean surface, QuikSCAT measurements were used by the world’s weather forecasting agencies to improve forecasts and identify and monitor hurricanes and other storms far out in the open seas. Its data also provided critical information for monitoring, researching, modeling, and forecasting the atmosphere, ocean, ice and climate.
Among its many accomplishments:
QuikSCAT discovered that hurricane-strength winds occur frequently in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, where such strong winds were not previously expected to exist. It provided high-resolution observations of the dramatically accelerating changes in sea ice cover on the Arctic Ocean. The mission’s measurements
Original Title: After two long careers, QuikSCAT rings down the curtain
Full Text of the Original Article: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2820/