Meteorological and Environmental Satellite Observing Systems: …to 15 Years Ahead Introduction

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 8:15 AM
B313 (GWCC)
Steven J. Goodman, NOAA/NESDIS, Greenbelt, MD; and W. P. Menzel

Pursuing research advances while maintaining continuity in operational observations has always been a challenge. In the 1960s, the ESSA and Nimbus satellite series performed each mission separately. Thereafter the Operational Satellite Improvement Program (OSIP) planned for (and funded) demonstrations of research advances on operational satellite systems. More recently, research systems have been sustained for far longer than their planned 3-yr missions (thanks in part to their precise orbit insertion), with their data distributed in real time and with fixed formats., Consequently, they have been used operationally. Some examples include Quikscat ocean surface winds, Jason/OSTM sea surface height, EOS MODIS polar winds, AIRS radiances, OTD and LIS lightning mapping, TRMM precipitation, and GPS bending angles.

Notably, preparations for the next generation geostationary environmental satellite series, GOES-R, include use of proxy data sets made possible by MODIS, LIS, and AIRS in the development of the at-launch set of algorithms for the ABI 16-channel high resolution imager and GLM lightning mapper. Additional algorithm validation is being provided by the ESSP CLOUDSAT and CALIPSO missions. GOES-R in fact is a wonderful demonstration of NASA-NOAA collaboration with NASA developing the instruments and spacecraft and NOAA developing the ground system and algorithms. We have 100 of the nation's top satellite remote sensing experts developing our algorithms for GOES-R, with NASA, NOAA, and university scientists all playing a major role in algorithm development and validation.

However, planning the operational continuity has been and remains very challenging. The tension between consistency and flexibility has always been with us. Budget issues always are more severe than expected. The need to develop an integrated strategy that fosters the emergence of new technology in the operational systems remains. A joint NASA-NOAA office for this planning was suggested some time ago. On the positive side the NASA-NOAA roundtable provides a forum for regular discussion of issues associated with the transition from research to operations. At NOAA, and led by NESDIS, we have assembled R20 Transition Teams who are developing Transition Plans for the potential transition of Decadal Survey missions to operations. The re-manifestation of the NPOESS climate sensors is another success story. Nonetheless, inadequate budgets continue to erode the capability planned for NPOESS and GOES-R. The challenge of R2O remains.

In this session, we will hear from Rick Anthes an update on the Decadal Survey that encouraged prudent restoration of many of the lost capabilities. Thereafter, Mike Freilich will present the NASA Earth Satellite Observation Program along with Mary Kicza sharing the corresponding NOAA plans. Henry Revercomb will speak about the key capabilities offered by geostationary IR Imaging Sounders and Dave Emmitt will offer similar remarks about Doppler wind lidars. This promises to be an interesting session.