The Women of Weather - Understanding Climate Change with Cassie Lee
The primary mission of the satellites in NOAA’s GOES-R series – designed and built by Lockheed Martin – is to monitor Earth and space weather. In addition to helping meteorologists all over the country more accurately predict tomorrow’s forecast, the GOES-R constellation offers key insight into a longer-term goal: understanding climate change.
Lockheed Martin’s Cassie Lee is building the company’s first Climate Intelligence program and understands the significance of using weather data from the GOES-R satellites to study our changing planet.
Weather and Climate are Different but Similar
“Weather and climate observe similar phenomenon, but often at different time and spatial scales,” said Lee. “Weather is generally a short-term atmospheric condition whereas the term climate reflects cumulative changes over longer periods of time and often over greater distances.”
“Weather is forecast and reported with reliable accuracy, while it is still challenging to predict the timeline and impact of climate change,” said Lee. The GOES-R satellites play a critical role in building upon daily weather monitoring to help scientists interpret the patterns that teach us more about the causes and consequences of a changing planet.
Beyond advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, GOES-R satellites also provide monitoring of solar activity, space weather, and mapping of lighting on Earth thanks to two Lockheed Martin instruments on board: the Solar Ultraviolet Imager and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper.
Climate Change Impacts All
“What we all share is the need to understand the risks associated with local, regional, and planetary-scale changes in our climate patterns,” said Lee. This need represents a gap that agencies like NOAA, and companies like Lockheed Martin, are working to fill.
Lee’s role is focused on applying existing and emerging Lockheed Martin technology to help stakeholders understand, respond, and adapt to the risks exacerbated by our changing planet. “Environmental conditions and the availability of natural resources continue to change. Every community will need to assess the risks associated with these changes and prepare to adapt. Our goal is to turn climate observation data into actions, quickly.”
That includes recognizing preparation looks different for everyone.
“Most of our stakeholders know that they are subject to increased risk as a result of our changing climate, but they don’t yet know how to interpret and prepare for these risks while still achieving their business goals,” said Lee. “It is incumbent upon us to acknowledge each stakeholders’ opportunities and limitations, and to help them grow towards their own definition of success.”
A Job at the Intersection of Tech and Positive Impact
“I always knew that I wanted to be in the aerospace industry and, for the first 15 years of my career, I focused on roles in propulsion and human spaceflight,” said Lee. “The opportunity to use space as platform for making life better for those on Earth has been a meaningful and exciting pivot.”
Lee sees growth in the aerospace industry towards becoming a marketplace for those who can bring unique interests, perspectives, and experiences to challenge convention – something that her role is allowing her to do.
“For me there is nothing more empowering, or professionally fulfilling, than working at the intersection of technology and global impact,” said Lee.