Wednesday, 25 January 2012
NOAA's Upper Air Observing Systems Integrated Analysis Pilot Study
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) relies on Earth observations from more than 200 observing systems that have been developed and utilized over many years. Each system adds value to the overall mission accomplishment. However, significant thought has not been given to the integrated/collective value of combinations of systems and how to optimize the system-of-systems as a whole to achieve the maximum overall value. Systems have traditionally been acquired one at a time with the purpose of satisfying a particular need or set of needs. Consequently, systems were analyzed and rated for their individual contribution and cost to satisfying NOAA's requirements. As the size, complexity, and cost of systems increase, the question of which systems or combinations of systems add the greatest value becomes foremost. Motivated by an increasingly austere budget environment, NOAA leadership identified the need to analyze NOAA's observing system architecture in an integrated way, such that the relative contributions of each system to a so called system-of-systems could be more clearly understood and used to make informed investment decisions. To move this forward, NOAA published three related directives that serve to focus this study: 1) the FY 2012-16 Program Decision Memorandum (PDM); 2) the October 30, 2010 Annual Guidance Memorandum (AGM); and 3) the March 16, 2011 Corporate Portfolio Analysis Decision Memorandum. The NOAA Observing Systems Council (NOSC), through its Ob serving Systems Committee (OSC) and its Advisory office – The Technology, Planning and Integration for Observations (TPIO) – has undertaken a preliminary and comprehensive review of both NOAA observation requirements and those upper air observing systems related to air temperature, water vapor, and wind vectors. A team has been formed with line offices representatives across the NOAA and members from the OSC to develop the first ever NOAA Observing System Integrated Analysis (NOSIA), a Pilot Study that will examine NOAA's upper air observing portfolio and ultimately will recommend a multi-year investment strategy/roadmap for upper air observing systems. The roadmap will include recommendations needed to execute time-phased investments to achieve a more cost-effective integration of existing and future observing systems. A most important element of this study and eventual recommendations is careful consideration of how to weigh the relative value of NOAA's most critical mission service areas, performance measures and key products associated with the three primary upper air observation parameters under consideration—profiles of temperature, moisture and winds. A final report containing time-phased upper air observing system portfolio recommendations is planned for delivery to the Observing Systems Committee (OSC) on December, 2011. This report will help define the upcoming NOAA Corporate Portfolio Analysis (CPA) process. An interim report will be delivered in late September 2011 to provide input to the development of the FY14 Long-Term Goals and Observation Enterprise Objective Implementation Plans (IPs). The information provided to the IP teams will be a collaborative effort intended to influence the final IPs. Both reports will be structured to provide decision-makers maximum insight to the current/future costs and benefits of existing/planned upper air observing systems based on the integrated value of the full system portfolio.