5.1 Society Benefiting from a Global Constellation of Polar-orbiting Satellites

Tuesday, 16 August 2016: 10:30 AM
Madison Ballroom CD (Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center)
Mitchell Goldberg, JPSS, Lanham, MD; and F. Kogan, I. Csiszar, S. Kondragunta, and C. Elvidge

Applications of satellite data are paramount to transform science and technology to product and services used in critical decision making. For the satellite community, good representations of technology are the satellite sensors, while science provides the instrument calibration and derived geophysical parameters. The Global Earth Observation Systems of Systems (GEOSS), more than a decade ago, defined nine societal benefit areas (SBAs): 1) Disasters, 2) Health, 3) Energy, 4) Climate, 5) Water, 6) Weather, 7) Ecosystems, 8) Agriculture, and 9) Biodiversity. The benefit areas are driven by applications, because the applications provide the needed information to decision makers. An application pyramid model will be presented which shows the connection between the science and technology (the foundational observations) to the decision models and ultimately to the information that is used to support a decision. Such information can include a drought assessment, fire risk map, a five day forecast of a major weather event, an immediate severe weather alert, and so on. Applications are driven by the type of observations and their coverage, accuracy, stability, and temporal sampling. For this presentation, the contribution of polar-orbiting satellites will be discussed. Polar satellites have many advantages; first it provides global coverage from a set of single instruments which allows better consistency of products. Second, operational polar orbiting satellites extends back to the 1970's allowing us to get a better description of the climatological average and trend which enables comparisons of the current environmental condition with an expected value; and finally operational satellite agencies (and some research agencies) with polar-orbiting satellites have committed to new missions covering the next 20 to 30 years. A constellation of polar-orbiting satellites from operational satellite agencies can achieve temporal refresh approaching 2 hours near the equator to 30 minutes over the polar region. We will show specific examples of how polar orbiting satellites from POES, MeTOP, SNPP /JPSS contribute to a number of applications. An example for each GEOSS SBA will be presented and discussed, and will include new approaches for monitoring vegetation health, flood, ice, fire, air quality, energy resources (e.g. monitoring wasteful gas flares from oil production) and monitoring ocean ecosystems, including first time ever monitoring of illegal boating in marine protected areas as a result of the night-time visible capability of VIIRS.
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