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 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (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?

The GPM mission is a cooperative effort of NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), NOAA, and other U.S. and international agencies and institutions.2 The mission includes a core satellite that makes measurements between 65 degrees latitude North and South and carries a dual-frequency precipitation radar and a passive microwave sensor. The data from this satellite are to be intercalibrated with those from a constellation of other satellites carrying similar microwave sensors to provide global estimates of precipitation approximately every 3 hours. NASA conceives the GPM mission as a prototype for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)—an international initiative for integrating data from numerous Earth-observing systems with similarities to the international and collaborative efforts of the GPM mission.

The GPM mission time line can be separated into three phases: the pre-launch phase runs from present to the launch date for the GPM core satellite (scheduled for 2013); the post-launch phase runs until NOAA potentially takes over operation of the core satellite from NASA (proposed for 5 years after launch, in approximately 2018); and the potential NOAA takeover phase then runs until the instruments fail on the core satellite or until fuel is depleted. NOAA has already indicated interest in the concept of this third phase, as well as the possibility of an operational GPM follow-on mission that overlaps with the GPM mission. As of the publication of this report, the design specifications could change to allow more fuel to be carried on the core satellite for the possibility of a longer mission.

Some of the constellation satellites will be launched prior to the GPM core satellite (Figure S.1), and some also will overlap with missions that form the present constellation of passive microwave sensors. The present-day, de facto passive microwave constellation represents a “golden era” of microwave precipitation sensing because the number of constellation satellites is likely to be small-


The U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA), Japanese Meteorological Agency, European Space Agency, Indian Space Research Organization, French Space Agency, China Meteorological Administration, International Precipitation Working Group (IPWG), the World Meteorological Organization, and the academic community.

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