J11.5 Lost Data is Found: Rescuing Geostationary Weather Satellite Data from 1975-1979 (Invited Presentation)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 11:30 AM
Conference Center: Chelan 5 (Washington State Convention Center )
Jerrold Robaidek, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Until the late 1970s, United States geostationary weather satellite data were not routinely archived. Datasets were sometimes collected and stored on 9track tapes in an ad hoc fashion depending on the individual scientist’s immediate needs. This is one of the reasons why the national archive of GOES/SMS data, stored at NOAA NCEI, does not begin until 1978 even though SMS data were being transmitted as early as 1974. This changed in 1978 when Professor Verner Suomi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Space Science Engineering Center (SSEC), started the first routine archive of GOES/SMS satellite data to coincide with the First GARP Global Experiment (FGGE) of 1978-1979. A set of SMS 9track tapes from 1974-1975 were recently rediscovered at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In addition, some of the original Meteosat data from FGGE were rediscovered within SSEC’s archives. Over the past 18 months SSEC has recovered much of the SMS data from deteriorating tapes and most of the original Meteosat FGGE data, thought to have been lost. Metadata from the tapes, including playback and external label notes, are preserved in a SQL database. The extraction of these data from 9track tape and the reconstruction of the data will be presented. Free public access to the data via MCFETCH will also be discussed.
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