FNMOC, and the Naval Research Laboratory). In addition, TRMM data are used internationally for operations by World Meteorological Organization centers throughout the tropics for monitoring and forecasting tropical cyclone activity. Furthermore, groups in Japan and Europe have begun using TRMM data in numerical weather prediction models. Because TRMM data are already being used operationally (which does not fit with NASA’s primary focus of research and exploration), NASA has sought partnerships with other agencies to fund extension of TRMM. Thus, determining the future of TRMM has become a multi-agency issue.

FINDING 3.4: The TRMM satellite and its sensors remain in excellent condition. There is every reason to believe that they will continue to operate well for the next few years.

FINDING 3.5: TRMM’s potential to help improve forecasts—especially through increased use of PR data in models—has not been fully realized because of

  • the PR data having only recently become available in near real time to the broader community outside of NASA and JAXA,

  • the new and unique nature of the PR data and the learning required to exploit them,

  • the perceived experimental nature and finite lifetime of the PR, and

  • the lack of sophistication in the representation of cloud and precipitation physics in current operational forecast models and global climate models such that they cannot yet take advantage of the native resolution of the PR data.

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