2. Trends and Drivers for Research
Trends and drivers consist of three types: Legal, Technology and Requirements. Legal drivers are the laws, mandates, and agreements that obligate NOAA to perform certain activities. The legal drivers specifically directed at SMCD programs are listed in this section.
Technology trends and drivers consist of the planned and expected advances in satellite instrument observing capabilities. By creating new capabilities, these technology drivers enable SMCD scientists to push the state of the art and develop enhanced and new satellite products and applications.
Requirements trends and drivers are the requirements for satellite-based information to achieve NOAA's strategic goals. These requirements are developed by the users of the satellite products and applications. NOAA's requirements for upgraded and new products are constantly becoming more demanding as it strives to improve its services.
Weather and Water
The "Great Waters" Section of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (Section 112(m), Title III) Atmospheric Deposition to Great Lakes and Coastal Waters: NOAA shall identify and assess the extent of deposition of atmospheric pollutants to significant water bodies.
The "Ecosystem Research" Section of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (Section 901(e), Title IX) : NOAA shall conduct a research program to improve understanding of the short-term and long-term causes, effects, and trends of ecosystems damage from air pollutants on ecosystems.
The Organic Act of October 1, 1890, which created the National Weather Bureau, established NOAA's mission to provide weather and water information and services to the Nation.
Federal Plan for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research FY2003 - Citation: Public Law 87-843 (1963 ), Federal Coordinator for Meteorology FCM-P1-2002 is a Congressional mandate providing for government research and development programs that directly support and improve meteorological services in an effective and efficient manner.
U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) Authorization Act: The U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) is mandated to accelerate forecast improvements of high impact weather and facilitate full use of advanced weather information.
Memorandum of Understanding between NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed by the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of EPA (May 2003): NOAA and EPA will collaborate on air quality research.
Memorandum of Agreement between NOAA and EPA signed by the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of EPA (May 2003): NOAA and EPA will collaborate on air quality forecasting. NOAA deliverables include improved air quality forecast models and air quality forecast guidance. EPA deliverables include providing emissions inventory and monitoring data.
Satellites already in the pipeline or planned will drive the types of research and applications activities that SMCD will undertake in the future. Figure 1 shows the schedule for launches of NOAA satellites to 2020. In addition to these, SMCD scientists will continue to experiment with and exploit research satellite data to support NOAA's services and to prepare for future operational satellite implementations.
Major trends in instrument technology that will challenge but offer new opportunities to SMCD scientists include:
SMCD scientists will exploit the capabilities of these advanced instruments to provide critical support to NOAA's Weather and Water, Climate, and Commerce/Transportation Strategic Goals. This will involve evaluation of the data and development of product, applications, and assimilation systems.
Figure 1 shows a timeline of launches of NOAA satellites and satellite missions in which NOAA is a partner; i.e., NPOESS and METOP (Meteorological Operations Platform). Major milestones in this series of launches will occur with the first launches of METOP, NPOESS, and GOES-R, when advanced and completely new instruments are introduced.
Initial Joint Polar System: NOAA-N, N' and METOP-1,2,3
NOAA and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites ( EUMETSAT) are working together to maintain continuity of polar orbiting operational environmental satellites. The Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) will comprise the continuation of the current NOAA satellite series with NOAA-N and -N', together with the new EUMETSAT satellite series Metop-1, -2, -3, the first of which is scheduled for launch in 2005. Major instrument advances in the IJPS include: global Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations at 1 km horizontal resolution (compared to current sampled 4 km resolution) for detailed surface vegetation and ocean temperature measurements; first operational advanced IR sounders for high vertical resolution temperature and moisture structure, and the first operational GPS/OS system for observing the fine structure of atmospheric temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.
Additional details on the IJPS payloads are contained in Appendix 1.
NPP and NPOESS
NPOESS will converge existing polar-orbiting satellite systems under a single national program. N POESS, with a first launch in 2009, will carry a new generation of environmental satellite instruments, some of which will be flown on a risk-reduction mission, NPOESS Preparatory Program (NPP), in 2006. These instruments will provide new capabilities in visible, infrared, and microwave imaging; infrared and microwave sounding; ozone mapping and profiling; and measurements of solar irradiance, the Earth's radiatition budget, and aerosols that make significant contributions to NOAA's Climate Goal.
Additional details on the NPP and NPOESS payloads are contained in Appendix 1.
The major Earth observing instruments of the GOES-R System, planned for launch in 2012, are: the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES). The Advanced Baseline Sounder (ABS) will have 16 channels observing at higher spatial resolution and frequency than today's 5-channel GOES Imager. The HES will have 1500 IR sounding channels compared to the current 19 channel GOES sounder.
SMCD also uses the observations of research satellite instruments to carry out its mission. Noteworthy current examples are the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) instruments on NASA's Earth Observation System (EOS) satellites, GPS/OS on the Challenging Mini Satellite Payload (CHAMP), and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) on European Remote Sensing (ERS-2). Research missions in the pipeline that will drive SMCD research include active instruments that will provide the first data on: the global, three dimensional distribution of hydrometeors, aerosols, and winds in the atmosphere; soil moisture; and time continuous monitoring of temperature, moisture, and winds from geostationary altitude.
Additional details on the NPP and NPOESS payloads are contained in Appendix 1.
NOAA Weather and Water Goal: Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water Information
Flooding and storm related damage account for $11 billion annually in the United States. One of NOAA's mission goals, to Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water, has ultimately led to NOAA's increasing role in understanding, observing, forecasting, and warning of severe weather events.
SMCD must support NOAA's Weather and Water performance measures to increase lead time and accuracy for weather and water warnings and forecasts and improve predictability of the onset, duration, and impact of hazardous and severe weather and water events. Satellite observations already provide over 90% of the data used to initialize global forecast models. These data, together with improvement in data assimilation, NWP models, and computer power have enabled forecast accuracy to improve at a rate of about one day per decade over the last few decades - i.e., today's 5-day forecasts are as accurate as 4-day forecasts were just 10 years ago. But the data being used are largely for clear skies. There is a growing need to develop the tools to assimilate observations of cloudy and precipitating areas.
Protecting the public against environmental hazards demands increased awareness on the need to predict changes in people's exposure to extreme weather events, adverse air quality, and to hazardous pollutants. NOAA provides forecasts and warnings of various natural hazards related to the atmosphere and ocean and, is developing better understanding of the underlying environmental processes and predictive methodologies of natural hazards.
A primary air quality concern is the increasing human health risk associated with exposure to adverse air quality, and to hazardous pollutants. EPA and NOAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Air Quality Research and the parallel Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Air Quality Forecasting on May 6, 2003. The major purpose of these agreements is to facilitate the routine preparation and dissemination of air quality forecasts. Satellite observations of low level pollutants such as smoke and other aerosols are needed as input to NWP modules specifically designed to make such air quality forecasts.
NOAA Climate Goal: Understand Climate Variability and Change to Enhance Society's Ability to Plan and Respond
NOAA's mission for the next century includes a bold new Climate Goal to Understand Climate Variability and Change to Enhance Society's Ability to Plan and Respond as one of four central goals. Strategies for achieving this goal include: 1) Improve the quality and quantity of climate observations, analyses, interpretation, and archiving by maintaining a consistent climate record and by improving our ability to determine why changes are taking place, and 2) Improve the quantification and understanding of the forces bringing about climate change by examining relevant human-induced increases in atmospheric constituents. SMCD will contribute to implementation of both strategies.
Under Strategy 1, SMCD is a co-lead of the Scientific Data Stewardship (SDS) component of the Climate Observations & Analysis Program of NOAA's Climate Goal. For environmental satellite observations, SDS priorities include:
Under Strategy 2, SMCD contributes to the objectives of the Climate Forcing Program of NOAA's Climate Goal, whose objectives are:
Reduce uncertainty in climate projections through timely information on the forcings and feedbacks contributing to changes in the Earth's climate:
NOAA Commerce and Transportation Goal: Support the Nation's Commerce with Information for Safe, Efficient, and Environmentally Sound Transportation
Safe and efficient transportation systems are crucial to the U.S. economy. The Aviation Weather Program of the Commerce and Transportation Goal focuses on improving observation, forecast and training capabilities to deliver long term reduction in the number of weather related aviation mishaps and the number and extent of weather related flight delays. SMCD contributes to the Aviation Weather Program by developing tailored satellite-based aviation weather hazards products for the air transportation sector. SMCD is also responsible for providing technical support for integrating satellite observation products into aviation weather observation and forecast systems.
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