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Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPP and NPOESS Meteorological Satellites A Statement of Task Background Researchers studying the issues surrounding global climate change have a particular need for the kind of repetitive, long-term, high-quality measurements that can be provided from the vantage point of space. Operational weather satellites provide perhaps the only means for securing these measurements. The next generation of operational sensing systems are currently being designed, and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), scheduled for launch beginning in 2009, provides an important component of this operational monitoring system. NPOESS is being developed with the goal of meeting converged operational data needs of NOAA and DOD, as well as some of the data needs in NASA Earth observation programs. As part of its planning to transition appropriate research satellite measurements into the operational domain, NASA, working with the NPOESS Integrated Program Office, is developing the NPOESS Preparatory Program (NPP). NOAA is supporting the NPP program as part of its risk reduction demonstration and validation for NPOESS sensors, algorithms, and processing. NPP will provide a launch in 2005 of critical sensors (VIIRS, ATMS, and CrIS) that are planned for flights on NPOESS. The intent is to develop an operational prototype for the provision of satellite-based climate data as well to provide an early test of space and ground segments for NPOESS. At this time, attention is being given to defining operational climate measurement needs and assessing their implications for instrument design. However, it is equally important to ensure that the data systems will meet climate research needs. Effective data management systems are a significant challenge to the federal agencies. Plan The Committee on Earth Studies (CES) will provide a preliminary assessment of data processing, management, and archiving issues that should be considered in the near term as plans are developed to maximize the utility to climate researchers of data anticipated from several planned satellites. These include the satellites in the NPOESS Preparatory Program (NPP), the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), and, if approved, the Windsat program. The committee's report will focus on the broad requirements for the data system for these satellites. As the report will be a preliminary assessment, it will also include recommendations on how to establish a process by which additional input on data and data management needs can be obtained. Where possible, the committee will note where incremental investments can provide significant improvements towards meeting the needs of climate research. The committee's report will address issues that include: —How to ensure that data sets of known quality will be readily available to the climate research community (along with associated meta-data on instrument calibration and performance); —How to ensure that original multi-year radiance data are both affordable and easily retrievable from long-term archives. In this context, issues such as consensus algorithms, data streams, quality assurance, media evolution, on-line and automated data retrieval, data set reprocessing and cataloguing will be addressed. Related issues for consideration include the importance of establishing user models for the climate community, which will, for example, explore climate data user access patterns as an input to system design.
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Schedule In consultation with other relevant NRC units, the Committee on Earth Studies will lead a 2-day workshop in Washington on February 7 and 8, 2000, that will provide a forum for preliminary discussion of the data system needs for long-term satellite-based climate observations. The workshop will use current plans for data management for NPOESS and NPP and lessons learned from previous experience with operational and research satellite data management systems as a point of departure. Participants at the workshop will include agency officials, climate-change researchers, and scientists familiar with the workings of existing data archives. The committee will then meet in closed session on February 9 and 10, 2000, to begin drafting its report.