and international agencies and institutions,2 and is considered a prototype for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). NOAA asked the National Academies to prepare this report on the applications of satellite-based precipitation measurements in 2006 and beyond.


The National Academies’ Committee on the Future of Rainfall Measuring Missions was tasked by NOAA to address three questions:

  1. What lessons were learned from TRMM with respect to operational uses of the data, and how can these lessons enhance the use of GPM mission data and other NASA research mission data in NOAA operational forecasts?

  2. What are the best uses for GPM data in an operational environment such as in NOAA?

  3. How can NOAA ensure that its operational forecast models, forecasters, and product users are ready for GPM data as soon as possible after launch?

This report is the second of two reports from the Committee on the Future of Rainfall Measuring Missions. In December 2004, the committee released Assessment of the Benefits of Extending the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission: A Perspective from the Research and Operations Communities, Interim Report (NRC, 2004). Because of TRMM’s unique and substantial contributions to the research and operational communities, the committee recommended its continued operation. NASA agreed with this recommendation, and TRMM was extended to at least fiscal year 2009. The possibility remains for TRMM to operate until its fuel runs out in approximately 2012.

This report contains five chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of the GPM mission and related international activities. Chapter 2 presents lessons learned from TRMM and how these lessons can apply to the use of GPM mission data at NOAA (Task 1). Chapter 3 presents ideas on the best uses of space-based precipitation data in an operational environment (Task 2). Chapter 3 also describes present and future sources of precipitation data for NOAA and presents ideas on how these sources could be enhanced to support operational global precipitation analyses (a facet of Task 3). Chapter 4 provides guidance for the early exploitation of precipitation data from future space-based missions


DOD (U.S. Department of Defense), JCSDA (Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation), JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), French Space Agency, China Meteorological Administration, IPWG (International Precipitation Working Group), WMO (World Meteorological Organization), and the non-governmental research community.

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