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SMC shield7. Constraints and Enablers

Aside from funding and human resources, the Division's work will be constrained by:

  • Limited access to NWS NWP systems
    SMCD scientists require access to the NWP models and diagnosis systems to test advanced radiative transfer system and new satellite products in realistic weather prediction environments. Limitations on access will delay evaluation and implementation of new satellite developments in operational NWP.
  • Not enough parallel computing systems at SMCD for all satellite products produced by NESDIS OSDPD
    All new or improved satellite products developed by SMCD should be tested on product processing systems that are duplicates of those running at OSDPD. Without sufficient parallel computing capability, transition of research to operations will be slowed.
  • Lack of a networked, parallel processing system linking STAR's Unix/Linux computers
    Without such a networked, parallel system, SMCD scientists are hampered by inefficiencies in computing resources.
  • Limited scientific capability in new instrument areas: active instruments, APS, ERBS, TSIS
    Over the last few decades SMCD has built up strong scientific expertise in passive remote sensing to match the capabilities of the satellite instruments in operational use. Active systems, such as GPSOS, lidars and radars are the wave of the future. In addition, NPOESS with its complement of climate instruments that have never flown on earlier operational satellites presents additional challenges.
  • Limited ground truth
    Validation of satellite remote sensing products requires ground-based observations. In many cases, these are available from the standard weather observing network. In others, however, SMCD is dependent on the observational programs of other groups, and these may not suffice to fully characterize the accuracy of some of the satellite products.

    Anticipated loss of senior scientific staff as a result of retirement
    The demographics of the Division are such that members of the senior scientific staff are retiring at a relatively high rate. Loss of this wealth of experience and expertise will impact the Division's performance but also open opportunities to entrain bright new talent.

Enablers consist of:

  • Dramatic increase in satellite observing capabilities over the next 5 years (see Section on Trends and Drivers)
    Hyperspectral sounding and imaging instruments on Metop, NPP, NPOESS, and GOES-R, active instruments such as GPS/RO, Cloudsat, Precipitation Radars, Calipso, and ALADIN (Atmospheric Laser Doppler Instrument), and new operational passive instruments such as the NPOESS APS, ERBS, and TSIS will provide unprecedented observing capabilities.
  • Competent core of SMCD civil servant scientists and supporting contractors and post-docs/visiting scientists
    SMCD's scientists are world-class. They are frequently selected as invited speakers at national and international scientific events, appointed to scientific committees, requested to review papers and proposals, and serve as editors of scientific journals.
  • Advances in computing infrastructure and communications
    Continuing advances in computing hardware and software and in high speed communications will facilitate the Division's work.
  • A good working environment
    SMCD's collegial atmosphere is conducive to creative work. Its participation in the Demonstration Program Personnel System provides incentives - rapid promotion, salary increases, or bonuses - for high achievers.

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