1.3 Satellite Ocean Surface Vector Winds: Progress and Challenges

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 9:15 AM
602/603 (Washington State Convention Center)
Paul Chang, NOAA, Camp Springs, MD; and Z. Jelenak

QuikSCAT was the first satellite mission that comprehensively revealed the importance of global satellite Ocean Surface Vector Winds (OSVW) to operational weather forecasting, warning and analysis. QuikSCAT, launched by NASA in June 1999 provided timely, high quality, and large areal coverage OSVW which yielded significant positive impacts on the National Weather Services' (NWS) marine services and products for phenomenon ranging from extratropical and tropical cyclones, coastal wind jets to the routine coastal and high seas warnings and forecasts. QuikSCAT, a microwave radar system designed to retrieve the OSVW and also known as a scatterometer, also provided daily sea and lake ice products that supported ice forecasting and analysis in the Arctic, Antarctica and Great Lakes regions. NOAA and NASA worked together to implement the operational QuikSCAT processing system at NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service which enabled the successful transition of data from a research satellite to operational utilization by NOAA and others around the world. The National Research Council (NRC) recommended in the Decadal Survey on satellite observations in support of climate change monitoring study (2007) that an advanced OSVW mission was needed to replace the aging QuikSCAT in order to provide key insights into ocean circulation and global heat transfer, and their impact on Earth's climate. Because of this and the significant impacts of QuikSCAT on weather forecasting and warning, the NRC study also recommended that this extended ocean vector wind mission (XOVWM) be undertaken by NOAA as a sustained operational capability. NASA and NOAA continue to work together on the challenges at realizing a sustained global satellite OSVW capability.
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