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E List of Responses to Request for Information Table E.1 lists the responses received by the Committee on Earth Science and Applications in response to its request for information (RFI) sent in January 2005 to the Earth and environmental science community (see Appendix D). The full-text versions of the RFI responses are included in the compact disk that contains this report.
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TABLE E.1 List of Responses to Committee’s RFI RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 1 ACCURATE: Atmospheric Climate and Chemistry in the UTLS Region And climate Trends Explorer To advance understanding of climate processes and atmospheric physics and chemistry in the UTLS region, monitor climate variability and change, and provide climate model validation and improvement via combined radio and IR laser-crosslink occulation 2 Submillimeter Infrared Radiometer Ice Cloud Experiment To provide spatially resolved daily global measurements of upper tropospheric ice water path and ice crystal size via submillimeter IR radiometry 3 Combined Active and Passive Environmental Sounder (CAPES) Mission for Water Vapor, Temperature, Aerosol and Cloud Profiling From Space To provide high vertical resolution measurements of water vapor, aerosols, and clouds along the satellite ground track,and full three-dimensional (3D) water vapor and temperature coverage at a lower vertical resolution cross-track via a differential absorption lidar and fourier transform spectrometer 4 Active Mission for Global CO2 Measurements To significantly expand the set of global atmospheric CO2 observations via an active laser instrument for column measurements of CO2 down to the surface or cloud tops and pulsed aerosol and cloud lidar to determine surface elevation and aerosol and cloud distributions along lidar line of sight 5 Active Temperature, Ozone and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer To provide long-term characterization of state of Earth’s troposphere and middle atmosphere via cm- and mm-wavelength satellite-to-satellite occultation measurements 6 Adaptive Atmospheric Sounding Mission To sound the atmosphere via long-life networked stratospheric balloon platforms instrumented with remote sensing and in situ instruments 7 Aerosol Global Interactions Satellite To measure the three-dimensional distribution of aerosol abundances, sizes, shapes, and absorption, and determine aerosol impacts on climate and air quality via multiangle spectropolarimetric imager and high spectral resolution lidar 8 Moderate Resolution Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (MIRIS) To improve studies of small scale meteorological and climatologic forcing and improve accuracy of measurements of minor gas species via high spatial and spectral resolution IR imager 9 Atmospheric Remote-Sensing and Imaging Emission Spectrometer To measure upper atmospheric water vapor with unprecedented accuracy, while providing temperature profiles, surface emissivity, ozone, CH4, CO, CO2, SO2, aerosols, cloud top height, and cloud temperature via observation of the IR spectrum with high resolving power 10 The National Global Operational Environmental Satellite System (NGOESS): Designed to Fulfill NOAA’s Future Satellite System Requirements and those of the GEOSS To observe key climate and environmental parameters post-GOES-R and NPOESS via a constellation instrumented with an ultra-spectral imager/sounder and synthetic thinned aperture microwave pushbroom radiometer/sounder 11 Cellular Interferometer for Continuous Earth Remote Observation: A Concept for Radio Holography of the Earth To provide continuous, high-resolution global imaging, surveillance,and remote sensing both actively and passively at radio frequencies via a constellation of 1000+ radio satellites 12 The Geohazards IGOS Theme: Space Component Requirements, An analysis for discussion at CEOS SIT-13 To describe IGOS Geohazard Theme’s five specific priority requirements for space observations
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 13 Cloud Height and Altitude-Resolved Motion Stereo-imager (CHARMS) To provide measurements of cloud-top height and cloud-motion vectors by a multi-angle stereo technique that is uniquely relevant to long-term climate data records 14 Cloud Hydrology and Albedo Synthesis Mission To measure water content of clouds concurrently with albedo and cloud-top height via multi-angle imager and dual angle passive microwave instrument,extending application to land/ocean day/night 15 E-mail Comment on Operational Oceanography To emphasize importance of addressing satellite remote sensing needs of operational oceanography 16 The Climate Benchmark Constellation: A Critical Category of Small Satellite Observations To provide absolute infrared spectrally resolved radiance, GPS radio occultation and millimeter-wave absorptive radio occultation, solar irradiance and absolute shortwave flux reflected to space,and enable absolute climate records in perpetuity via on-orbit standards with International System of Units traceability 17 Climate Scope Mission Concept Paper To assemble assimilated data sets via an R&D program, validation and verification program, integration and production program,and the necessary computing,data management and dissemination infrastructure 18 Climate Calibration Observatory: NIST in Orbit To calibrate radiometers, spectrometers, and interferometers in orbit 19 Cold Land Processes Pathfinder Mission Concept To measure fresh water stored in snow on land and on ice sheets,enabling a major leap-ahead in understanding snow process dynamics in the global water cycle and to forge a pathway to operations, initiating significantly enhanced global monitoring and prediction of snow properties for multiple water,weather,and climate applications. 20 Orbital Laser Sounder Mission for Global CO2 Measurements To measure global distribution of CO2 mixing ratio in the lower troposphere, day and night, and generate the first monthly global maps of the lower tropospheric CO2 column abundance to help understand the global carbon cycle and global climate change via active laser sounding 21 Coastal Ocean Carbon Observations and Applications To quantify the pools and fluxes of carbon in the coastal ocean, knowledge of which is essential for understanding the role of the global carbon cycle in climate variability and change, via high resolution hyperspectral imagery 22 E-mail Comment: Landsat 5 To urge the removal of downlink fees for Landsat 5 data 23 Continuous Coastal Awareness Network (C-CAN): A Response to the NRC Decadal Study Request for Information To detect, predict,and manage change for sustainable development in heavily populated coastal regions via a sensorweb system approach involving multi-sensor satellite observations of sea surface height, coastal currents and winds,and sea spectral reflectance from different Earth vantage points coupled with in situ observations for coastal event detection 24 Crustal Magnetic Field Measurement Missions To provide systematic global magnetic field observations needed to distinguish magnetic field variations over various spatial and temporal scales,and to separate the effects of the components of the magnetic field via stratospheric balloon platforms 25 Daedalus: Earth-Sun Observations from L1 To characterize the direct influence of solar variability on Earth system via simultaneous observation of key solar emission/space weather parameters and spectrally resolved radiances over the entire illuminated Earth from an L1 vantage point
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 26 The Need for New Geodetic Satellites for Observing Long-Term, Long-Wavelength Gravity Variations and Improved Terrestrial Reference Frame Determination To improve the determination of changes in the Earth’s gravity field, determination of the terrestrial reference frame,and the separation of tidal signals in space geodetic measurements via passive, laser retro-reflecting geodetic satellites 27 Water and Ocean Wind Sensor To enhance characterization, understanding, and prediction of persistent small-scale ocean-atmosphere coupling, tropical cyclones, and coastal processes by continuing the contiguous wide-swath measurement of ocean surface vector wind via a single instrument combining active and passive microwave techniques 28 Improved Weather Prediction, Climate Understanding, and Weather Hazard Mitigation through Global Profiling of Horizontal Winds with a Pulsed Doppler Lidar System To demonstrate a new capability that would meet the science and operational communities’ needs for global profiles of horizontal wind velocity via pulsed Doppler lidar 29 Providing Global Wind Profiles: The Missing Link in Today’s Observing System To accurately measure the 3-D global wind field via multiple Doppler lidars 30 Earth Sciences from the Astonomer’s Perspective: A Deep Space Climate Observatory To observe the Earth in a bulk thermodynamic sense, as an open system exchanging radiative energy with the Sun and space via continuous observation from an L1 orbit 31 Earth Sciences Applications in Human Health To advocate greater emphasis on environmental causes for disease emergence and environmental monitoring of pathogens and vectors, involving disciplines beyond those of traditional biomedical science 32 The Ecology of Global Infectious Disease: A Research Program To establish a research program using geoscience in combination with epidemiology to improve use of satellite data in epidemiological applications and develop requirements for a space-based platform 33 Air Pollution Investigation Constellation To quantify sub-regional emissions of precursors of smog and particulate matter, and the effects of transformation processes over long ranges on air quality, enabling accurate prediction and control of global air pollution via a constellation approach consisting of a MEO/GEO platform with a UV/VIS/NIR spectrometer and thermal emission IR spectrometer and a LEO platform with multiangle spectropolarimetric imager and IR solar occultation instrument 34 Monitoring Climate Change by Solar Occultation To monitor climate change via HALOE-type solar occultation instruments 35 Geostationary Advanced Imager for New Science To observe the diurnal cycle of the Earth’s surface temperature with 1 km resolution from GEO 36 Student Reflective GPS Experiment To provide space-based measurements of GPS reflections to determine the utility of measuring Earth surface parameters such as ocean wind speed/direction, sea surface height,and land surface soil moisture 37 Global Environmental Micro Sensors (GEMS): A New Instrument Paradigm for In situ Earth Observation To make ultra-high spatial and temporal resolution environmental measurements over an immensely broad range of atmospheric conditions to provide calibration/ground truth for space-based remote sensing systems, expand our understanding of the Earth system,and improve weather forecast accuracy and efficiency well beyond current capability via in situ airborne buoyant probes
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 38 The Flora Mission for Ecosystem Composition, Disturbance and Productivity To measure fractional cover of biological materials, canopy water content, vegetation pigments and light-use efficiency, plant functional types, fire fuel load and fuel moisture content, and disturbance occurrence, type, and intensity to advance global studies and models of ecosystem dynamics and change 39 GEM To improve severe weather forecasting by profiling temperature and moisture fields via combined microwave imager and a sounding radiometer 40 Geodetic Analysis Reference Network: GARNET Program To develop and sustain the fundamental reference frame to meet NASA’s, NOAA’s, and the broader community’s needs over the next decade via a program for managing the high precision networks, analysis techniques and integrated data systems of the Global Positioning System (GPS), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), and Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), extending to gravity observation networks 41 The GeoSTAR GEO Microwave Sounder Mission: The Geostationary Synthetic Thinned Array Radiometer To take temperature and humidity profiles, with emphasis on storms and tropical cyclones and to contribute important measurements to research related to the hydrologic cycle via a geostationary dual-array system for microwave sounding measurements 42 GRACE follow-on To contribute to continuous, multi-decadal monitoring of the temporal variations of Earth’s gravity field via a GRACE follow-on 43 GNSS Geospace Constellation To contribute to Sun-Earth connection science using transmissions of global navigation satellite systems to measure total electron content, giving information about ionosphere and plasmasphere dynamics via at least 6 LEO spacecraft with advanced GPS receivers tracking existing and anticipated Global Navigation Satellite System signals 44 Glaciers and Ice Sheets Mapping Orbiter To measure the surface and basal topography of terrestrial ice sheets and determine the physical properties of glacier beds via radar 45 Global Aerosol Monitoring Mission To globally monitor the scattering and absorption properties of aerosol particles 46 Global Water Resources Mission To provide a 20-year international plan for enabling society to assess and predict the global availability of fresh water under the influence of weather and climate variability via an international effort consisting of about two dozen satellite systems, each of which is comparable with current operational GEO and LEO satellites 47 Glory To monitor factors influencing radiative balance between Earth and space to improve ability to understand and predict climate change via aerosol and irradiance measurements by a total solar irradiance sensor 48 Geostationary Observatory for Microwave Atmospheric Sounding To provide a system for humidity and temperature sounding and frequent precipitation observation from geostationary orbit via sub-mm and mm-wave radiometry 49 A Constellation for High Resolution Sea Surface Topography with Frequent Temporal Revisit To provide continuous coverage oceanography for mesoscale process characterization and tsunami warning via a constellation of six satellites in low Earth orbit 50 Proposition to Observe H2S Emitting from Ocean Surface To observe H2S emitting from the ocean surface and provide highresolution ocean color
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 51 Decadal Survey Proposal To advocate measurement of the heat flux of the mantle of Earth in order to better understand how the systems of Earth work and interconnect 52 Exploration of the Earth-Sun System from L1 To provide global mapping of atmospheric composition every 30–60 minutes from an L1 vantage point, enabling understanding of the relationship between solar activity and structure and dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere 53 Concept Paper Submitted to the Decadal Study Request for Information issued by the National Research Council To encourage the Earth and environmental sciences communities to consider the importance of the “human factor” in usage and interpretation of data and advocate collaboration with cognitive systems engineers to create demonstrably useful and usable human-centered technologies 54 An Autonomous Aerial Observing System for the Exploration of the Dynamics of Hurricanes To improve our scientific understanding of tropical cyclone genesis and intensity change processes by providing the first continuous highresolution observations of the thermodynamic and kinematic evolution of the inner core of a tropical cyclone from genesis to dissipation or landfall via long-endurance UAV platform 55 Detecting Human-Induced Land Degradation Impact on Semi-Arid Tropical Rainfall Variability Based on Measurements from Satellite Products To obtain an improved understanding of the variation of spatial signature on land degradation in semi-arid tropical regions and how human induced land cover changes can have a direct effect on precipitation in these regions via analysis of existing satellite vegetation and precipitation data sets at various spatial and temporal scales 56 Global Hydrosphere Mapper To provide high-resolution measurements of the surface of the ocean and water bodies on land via radar interferometry 57 Biomass Monitoring Mission Lidar Instrument To measure the amount of carbon stored in Earth’s above-ground biomass and gain a better understanding of forest ecosystem function in the global carbon cycle via lidar 58 Importance of Outreach and Education To emphasize the importance of outreach and education in communicating science information and new research 59 Infrared Thermal Imaging of the Earth’s Surface To routinely measure the thermal energy of the surface of the North American continent and correlate with population distribution and urban centers 60 Observations of Tropospheric Air Chemistry Processes from a Geostationary Perspective To understand roles of tropospheric ozone and aerosols in perturbing the Earth system and understand their effects on the global atmosphere and air quality from GEO 61 Composition of the Atmosphere from Mid-Earth Orbit To fill gaps in observations of upper troposphere processes, while providing a new capability for determining the role of fast processes in linking regional pollution, global air quality, and climate change via measurement of chemical species, ice cloud parameters,temperature, lower troposphere O3, NO2, SO2, CO, H2CO, CH4, BrO, aerosol/cloud properties, and surface UV-B flux using a microwave sounder and imager in MEO orbit 62 Operational Ocean and Land Mission To gather data that can be used in croyspheric, land, land deformation, ecology, atmospheric, and hydrologic applications via synthetic aperture radar, spectometry, and altimetry
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 63 A Solar Occultation Mission to Quantify Long-Term Ozone and Aerosol Variability To produce high vertical resolution profiles of ozone and aerosols from the upper troposphere through the stratosphere, provide a long-term (10 year) ozone and aerosol data set, and corroborate the performance of new instruments via solar occultation 64 Pulsed LF-HF-VHF Radio Emission Possibly Associated with the Burakin Seismic Activity in Western Australia To report a new kind of radio emission possibly related with seismic activity 65 E-mail Comment To advocate consideration of science-policy interfaces and provide background on the relationships between Earth system science and policies 66 The CLAIM 3-D Mission To advance understanding of aerosols and cloud and precipitation development via multi-angle, polarized spectral imaging, and a cloud rainbow camera 67 Monitoring Atmosphere Turbulence and Humidity To measure temperature and water vapor profiles, tropospheric turbulence, and cloud and aerosol properties via differential absorption lidar 68 Long-Term Measurement Assurance Program for Climate-Change Satellite Systems To provide a measurement assurance system at least as rigorous as international metrology institutes to ensure accurate climate measurements 69 A Constellation of Mixed-Orbit MicroSatellites for Monitoring Global Land Change and Ecosystem Dynamics To acquire high-resolution data to document land use/cover change and ecosystem dynamics via a constellation of microsatellites in various orbits 70 Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface To provide measurements for estimation of global soil moisture under substatial vegetation canopies and at useful soil depths via multifrequency synthetic aperture radar 71 GEOCarb Explorer: A Geosynchronous Hyperspectral Mission Providing Continental-Scale Carbon Cycle Ecosystem Observations To advance scientific understanding of carbon cycle dynamical interactions between the Earth’s biota and the atmosphere via observation from GEO 72 Multiplatform Interferometric SAR for Forest Structure and Subcanopy Topography and Soil Moisture To measure 3D forest structure, topography, and soil moisture underlying forest canopies using a multiplatform InSAR system 73 Biomass Monitoring Mission To make global measurements of above-ground woody biomass carbon stock, forest 3-D structure, and to monitor changes in terrestrial carbon pool as a result of disturbance and recovery processes via lidar and radar 74 Suborbital Earth System Surveillance To develop an environmental surveillance program filling observation gaps between satellite and aircraft observation capabilities via High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs 75 Nightsat To measure the spatial distribution and brightness of nocturnal lighting worldwide at a spatial resolution that permits the delineation of key features found in human settlements via observation in the vis/NIR and thermal bands 76 The Far-Infrared Spectrum: Exploring a New Frontier in the Remote Sensing of Earth’s Climate To improve understanding of the natural greenhouse effect, atmospheric cooling by water vapor, and the role of cirrus clouds in climate via direct measurements of the far-infrared portion of the Earth’s emission spectrum
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 77 Low-Earth-Orbit Global Mapping of Boundary Layer Carbon Monoxide To measure global boundary layer CO via polarization-modulated gas filter correlation radiometry 78 Space-based Doppler Winds LIDAR: A Vital National Need To provide high-resolution global tropospheric wind observation in support of improved long-range weather forecasting and other societal applications via Doppler wind lidar 79 Need for Integrated Water Cycle Observations from Space To provide comments and background information on numerous water cycle observations and outline key considerations for developing a future water cycle observation strategy 80 A Low-Cost Multispectral Earth Observing System To enhance Landsat and OLI data and satisfy requirements currently unfilled by a single Landsat-type satellite via a constellation multispectral Earth observing system with four satellites 81 A Space Mission to Observe Phytoplankton and Assess its Role in the Oceanic Carbon Cycle To provide daily global measurements of ocean color and aerosols to help to quantify ocean’s role in uptaking atmospheric CO2, via natural fluorescence and Raman scattering observations 82 Surface Shortwave and Longwave Broadband Network Observation Uncertainty for Climate Change Research, Verification is Needed To provide climate quality surface downwelling LW and SW broadband irradiance on a global scale via improved cross-network calibration, instrument standardization, long-term instrument intercomparisons, and development of new instruments and sensors 83 InSAR Applications for Exploration of the Earth To precisely map Earth surface change and deformation due to tectonic, volcanic, and glacial processes with sub-cm accuracy via space-borne radar interferometry 84 Solar Occultation Instruments for Measurements of Ozone Trends To monitor global ozone trends, aerosols, water vapor, and NO2, and provide calibration of OMPS stability via solar occultation observations 85 Data Assimilation and Objectively Optimized Earth Observation To describe a vision for a future objectively optimized Earth observation system with integrated scientific analysis via a dynamically-adapting system 86 Ocean Carbon, Ecosystem and Near-Shore Mission Concept To achieve the most accurate and spectrally-broad global measurements of ocean water-leaving radiances ever conducted via a single spectrometer, and to utilize these data to effectively separate the wide variety of optically active in-water constituents 87 Ocean and Land Operational Mission of the U.S. To gather data that can be used in croyspheric, land, land deformation, ecology, atmospheric, and hydrologic applications via synthetic aperture radar, spectometry, and altimetry 88 Our Vital Skies: A preliminary concept of a coordinated research program for the coming decade To substantially improve understanding of the influence of cloud-aerosol-precipitation interactions on regional and global weather and climate via a program focusing on the microphysical linkages between aerosols, clouds, and the hydrological cycle 89 Multispectral Land Sensing: Where From, Where to? To assess the long-term potential of technology for land remote sensing and discuss needed development of a hyperspectral data analysis system 90 Polar Environmental Monitoring, Communications, and Space Weather from Pole Sitter Orbit To provide continuous environmental and meteorological monitoring of polar regions, a unique perspective on space weather monitoring of Sun-Earth system,and constant communication links between deep polar regions and the rest of the world
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 91 A radar altimeter for bathymetry, geodesy, and mesoscale oceanography To provide a global map of deep ocean bathymetry and gravity field at a resolution of 6–9 km using delay-Doppler radar altimetry to measure sea-surface slope 92 Contributions of Radio Occultation Observations to the Integrated Earth Observation System To resolve temperature and water vapor of the global atmosphere with unprecedented accuracy and resolution sufficient to meet requirements of weather and climate forecasting and climate monitoring via an operational system of radio occultation observations 93 Advanced Limb Imaging Sounder Experiment Mission To measure the distribution of upper troposphere and lower stratosphere temperature, water vapor, ozone, clouds, and aerosols at high vertical and improved horizontal resolution in order to understand the role of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere region in the radiative forcing of climate and climate-chemistry feedback 94 Molniya Orbit Imager To extend GOES-type imagery to high-latitudes via an imager in Molniya orbit 95 Robust IR Remote Sensing for Carbon Monoxide, Methane, and Ozone Profiles To make daily measurements of the vertical structure of trace gases including CO, methane, and ozone 96 GRACE follow-on To provide global measurements of terrestrial water, ice, and ocean mass variations via measurement of temporal variations in Earth’s gravitational field 97 Spaceborne Advanced Visible Infrared Imager Concept To produce high-resolution maps of reflected and emitted radiance of surface every 8 days via thermal IR imagery 98 Mission of Scatterometer and Along-Track Interferometer for Ocean Current and Vector Wind Applications To acquire high-resolution measurements of both ocean surface current and vector wind as a significant improvement over current measurements via scatterometry and along-track interferometry 99 Sensing of H2O in the Upper Troposphere To simultaneously measure vertical profiles of H2O and HDO in the tropics and subtropics through the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere via IR solar occultation in order to constrain the dominant mechanisms regulating the abundance of water in critical regions of the Earth’s atmosphere 100 Draft GPM Overview Document To provide near-global measurements of rainfall, 3-D cloud structure,and precipitation using a microwave imager and a dual-frequency precipitation radar 101 Stratospheric Earth Radiation Balance (SERB) Missions using Balloons To investigate stratospheric Earth radiation balance via long-life stratospheric balloons 102 Structure and Inventory of Vegetated Ecosystems To gain information on composition, density, optical properties,and geometric structure of vegetation canopies and other surfaces using a combined lidar and stereo imager and a multi-angle global imager 103 Surface Observatories and in situ Observations in Support of Space-based Observations of Aerosols and Clouds To monitor surface radiative fluxes and cloud and aerosol properties via a three-tiered system of surface-based observatories
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RFI Response Number Response Title Summary Description 104 Terra-Luna: An Earth-Moon Science Exploration Mission To construct a near-global baseline map of boreal and tropical forest land cover and biomass during multiple seasons, conduct first synoptic measurements of global ocean eddies, coastal currents and tides, and characterize land cover and canopy height for ecosystem and global climate modeling via L-band SAR and altimetry, then transfer to lunar orbit for lunar science measurements 105 Earth’s First Time Resolved Mapping of Air Pollution Emissions and Transport from Space To discover spatial and temporal emission patterns of the precursor chemicals for tropospheric ozone and aerosol transport across continents from GEO 106 Technology Coupling Innovative Observations to Test Forecasts in Order to Provide Decision Structures in Service to Society To measure OH, HO2, HDO/H2O ratios, NO2, H2O, total H2O, CH4, N2O, CO, CO2, O3, CIO, BrO, BrONO2, CIOOCI, and ClONO2 in order to bridge A-Train global observations with in situ detail via long-range, long-duration UAV observations 107 Water Vapor Monitoring Missions To provide direct measurements of water vapor and other atmospheric constituents in the region of the tropical atmosphere extending from about 14 km (upper troposphere) to 35 km via long-life stratospheric balloons 108 Water Elevation Recovery Satellite Mission To acquire elevations of inland water surfaces at spatial and temporal scales necessary for answering key water cycle and water management questions of global importance via swath-based altimetry 109 Wind Imaging Spectrometer and Humidity-sounder (WISH): a Practical NPOESS P3I High-spatial Resolution Sensor To measure tropospheric winds by tracking high spatial resolution altitude-resolved water vapor sounding features via a wind imaging spectrometer and humidity-sounder 110 Climate-Quality Observations from Satellite Lidar To continue lidar cloud observation data record after CALIPSO for climate change recognition 111 Advanced ICESat (Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite) To provide/determine polar ice-sheet mass balance; sea-ice freeboard and thickness; high-latitude oceanography and global sea level change; atmosphere-cloud heights and aerosol distributions; land topography referenced to a globally consistent datum; vegetation-canopy heights and structure; river stage and discharge and lake and wetland water storage; glaciers and ice cap dynamics and mass balance, via laser altimeter
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