Thursday, 17 January 2002: 2:29 PM
New Paradigm for Environmental Data Assimilation and Fusion
Planning efforts to exploit environmental data derived from satellite systems external to NOAA have been in progress for several years. The National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Services (NESDIS) has been vigorously involved in skillful negotiations with U.S. military and non-US agencies to acquire, process, and distribute environmental satellite-derived data and products. Huge successes in these negotiations have yielded numerous data exchange agreements and new partnerships. Many of the satellite systems that have been in various planning stages are now being launched or are near-launch. These systems represent monumental improvements to our capability to monitor environmental conditions on our planet. With these improvements, however, looms major consequences relative to handling much higher data rates and volumes, increased data processing complexity and communications bandwidth for near-real time distribution requirements. The assimilation and fusion of these new data and products is the next major hurdle and more likely the equivalent or greater in complexity than the combined data processing and communications elements.
This paper describes a new, four step environmental data assimilation and fusion paradigm. Stage 1 involves the effort of selecting satellite systems of opportunity and interest; and negotiating multilateral agreements to acquire data and products from that system with the satellite system operator. Stage 2 involves the planning effort. This effort involves a wide range of activities that includes, however, is not limited to securing funding appropriations through the budget initiative process or other; and performing system studies to determine costs associated with acquiring and processing selected satellite data streams including computer hardware, software and communications equipment. Stage 3 involves the physical installation and implementation of the system capability to routinely acquire, process and distribute these data to operations, scientific and research interests. Stage 4 involves the assimilation and fusion of these data into a form or format that some scientific content can be derived.
NESDIS has invested vast amounts of resources in Stages 1, 2 and 3 above. The next step is to pursue Stage 4.