The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) has been an active participant in the GOES-R Proving Ground since 2008, along with Proving Ground partners NASA SPoRT and CIMSS. The effort to participate on the part of the NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and National Centers is voluntary, with the required training that noted earlier. Proving Ground pseudo GOES-R products and imagery are demonstrated through a variety of means, including using imagery and products from Polar satellites, which have bands similar to GOES-R, using model generated satellite imagery (synthetic) from a higher resolution model that can recreate all the bands, and developing products from current GOES or a combination of GOES and Polar satellites. More recently the Proving Ground has used the Himawari satellite, which has the advantage of being similar to GOES-R, but the disadvantage of coverage (over the Pacific and Asia) that is applicable in real-time to a fairly limited set of users in the NWS. CIRA currently provides test products and pseudo GOES-R imagery to over 35 NWS WFOs and interacts with the National Centers.
With the launch of GOES-R, we have an opportunity to look back and assess what has been accomplished, at least from CIRA’s experience, through participation in the Proving Ground. We know that things have not always gone as planned over the last few years, with some setbacks over the years involving bandwidth limitations at some WFOs, the sometimes arduous transition to AWIPS II and other competing programs. On the other hand, we believe that many forecasters have benefited from the Proving Ground interactions and are already more familiar with GOES-R capabilities, which should make the formal GOES-R training that will be available to every forecaster easier and more useful. But what role does the Proving Ground have after the launch of GOES-R? We will make the case there remains a role for the Proving Ground, since not all potential satellite products will be available on Day 1 of operations (only an initial “Baseline Product” set). This means that other possible future products can still be demonstrated to forecasters and feedback given back to developers to make these products better for when (or if) they are released. We will discuss one big advantage over today’s Proving Ground demonstrations, and that the use of real GOES-R data to generate these products, which should make them more attractive and useful to forecasters than some of the current GOES-R Proving Ground proxy products and imagery.