Continuation of the TMI data stream would enable modelers and forecasters to continue to improve the overall numerical weather prediction process, (i.e., model development and validation, forecast initialization, and forecast verification). This includes use of TMI in calibrating similar data from other microwave sensors and contributes to improved global, as well as tropical, precipitation monitoring and prediction.
PR data are an underexploited yet unique resource. Having them available in near real time for an extensive period of time would foster investment of time and effort to make full use of PR data in the forecasting process.
CONCLUSION 4.5: Considering the past and expected scientific and operational contributions presented in this report, important benefits would be obtained if TRMM were extended until it runs out of fuel. Although the scientific and operational arguments by themselves point toward maximum extension of the TRMM satellite life, the committee is concerned that there has not been proper consideration of all three elements of the decision (benefits, costs, and risk). The committee recognizes that consideration of the associated costs and reentry risks has to be part of the decision equation, which requires a solution acceptable to both the user and interagency communities.
The committee strongly recommends continued operation of TRMM, at least until such time as a decision on controlled reentry becomes unavoidable. The additional year can be used to more fully weigh the benefits, costs, and risks.