Forget Punxsutawney Phil, NASA recently launched a new satellite to get its own — more accurate — weather predictions. The Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite will measure soil moisture levels over a three-year period and report back data every two to three days. But why is soil moisture important and how does it effect weather and climate conditions? NASA put it best.
"The amount of water that evaporates from the land surface into the atmosphere depends on the soil moisture. Soil moisture information is key to understanding the flows of water and heat energy between the surface and atmosphere that impact weather and climate," NASA said.In addition to improving weather forecasts, SMAP will help monitor droughts, predict floods, assist crop productivity and detail water, energy and carbon cycles. The new satellite is just one example of how the U.S. government is investing in technologies to make more accurate weather predictions that can provide forecasts further in advance. via USA Today.