L3Harris – Leading the way in weather observation; Next-generation weather satellite solutions provide life-saving, real-time global coverage of evolving wildfires.


L3Harris – Lead the way in weather observation.

In 2021, 58,968 wildfires broke out on 7.1 million acres in the WEaccording to Congressional Research Service. California nearly 2.6 million acres are estimated to have burned in the state alone, leaving a devastating path of death and destruction. The state’s road to recovery could take years.

Unlike hurricane season, wildfire season does not have an official start date, but is considered ongoing with the first blazes of the year. Peaking in the hot, dry, and windy summer months, wildfire season eventually wanes in the fall when temperatures drop and rain returns. The season isn’t over until the last wildfire of the year is extinguished.

With increasing intensity and damage from wildfires, the season can be unpredictable. With next-generation advanced weather observation capabilities, forecasters can more accurately track wildfires in real time, helping first responders act faster and save more lives.

Models trigger predictions through satellite imagery

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) series provides the critical data needed to track wind patterns, smoke, frontal systems and even the weakest fire hotspots across the continent WE

On board the GOES-R series is the world’s most advanced weather imager, L3Harris’ Advanced Basic Imager (ABI). As the primary instrument in the GOES-R series, ABI provides updated visible and infrared images of the entire hemisphere every 30 seconds – five times faster than the previous system.

Organizations like NOAA rely on timely high-resolution imagery to build their projections and help the nation predict when and where wildfires may occur.

Accelerated data powers accurate forecasts

Besides heat and smoke, forecasters need other atmospheric measurements to predict wildfire potential, including wind and humidity that can be observed with a sounding instrument.

L3Harris’ Cross-track infrared sonar (CrIS) enabled NOAA Joint Polar Satellite Systems (JPSS) measures key fire formation and trajectory indicators every 12 hours in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The deployment of a hyperspectral sounder in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) will make it possible to collect these critical measurements every 30 minutes compared to an instrument in LEO.

With its increased speed and resolution, the addition of hyperspectral sonar on NOAA The next-generation GeoXO constellation is the next logical breakthrough in wildfire forecasting. A GeoXO Sounder (GXS) will enable advanced sensitivity for earlier detection of small fires and better characterization of fire boundaries and spread. These enhancements improve real-time wildfire detection and monitoring, benefiting multiple agencies and providing potentially life-saving data.

In addition to a new hyperspectral sounder instrument on GeoXO, a new GeoXO Advanced Imager (GXI) will enable even greater spatial resolution for fire outbreaks.

With access to more accurate and persistent coverage of changing winds and hotspots in real time, California the rate of wildfire death and property devastation could be significantly reduced.

To L3Harris, we understand the importance of providing forecasters, first responders and civilians with accurate and timely weather forecasts and warnings. That’s why, whatever the season, from forest fires and tornadoes to hurricanes and floods, L3Harris advancing the next generation of weather satellites to enable a more weather-ready nation.


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