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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 NOTICE MEMBERSHIP FOREWORD SUMMARY CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 REFERENCES Committee on Earth Studies ABBREVIATIONS AND Space Studies Board ACRONYMS Commission on Physical Sciences, APPENDIX Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NOTICE MEMBERSHIP file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91menu.htm (1 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:36:40 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 FOREWORD SUMMARY 1. INTRODUCTION 2. EARTH SCIENCE FROM SPACE Introduction Atmospheric Sciences Climate Studies Physical Oceanography Cryospheric Research Hydrology Geology Geodynamics Global Biology, Ecology, and Biogeochemical Cycles 3. APPLICATIONS PROGRAMS AND OTHER MAJOR ISSUES Applications Programs Earth Probe Mission Line Data Management Research and Analysis Relation of Space, Airborne, and Ground Measurements REFERENCES ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS APPENDIX NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, 1991 file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91menu.htm (2 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:36:40 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Notice) Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self- perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. REPORT MENU NOTICE The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the MEMBERSHIP charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of FOREWORD outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection SUMMARY of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility CHAPTER 1 for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also CHAPTER 2 sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages CHAPTER 3 education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. REFERENCES Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS APPENDIX The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91notice.htm (1 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:36:52 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Notice) of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for the Space Studies Board was provided through Contract NASW-4102 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Copies of this report are available from Space Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91notice.htm (2 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:36:52 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Membership) Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 Membership COMMITTEE ON EARTH STUDIES Byron D. Tapley, University of Texas, Austin, Chairman John R. Apel, Johns Hopkins University William P. Bishop, Desert Research Institute Kevin C. Burke, National Research Council Janet W. Campbell, Bigelow Laboratory of Oceanic Science Charles Elachi, Jet Propulsion Laboratory William J. Emery, University of Colorado Diana W. Freckman, University of California, Riverside Richard E. Hallgren, American Meteorological Society Kenneth C. Jezek, Ohio State University Edward T. Kanemasu, University of Georgia Vic Klemas, University of Delaware REPORT MENU Conway Leovy, University of Washington NOTICE John S. MacDonald, MacDonald-Detwiller Associates MEMBERSHIP Alfredo E. Prelat, Texaco E&P Technology Division FOREWORD John M. Wahr, University of Colorado SUMMARY CHAPTER 1 Staff CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 REFERENCES Paul F. Uhlir, Senior Program Officer ABBREVIATIONS AND Altoria L. Bell, Administrative Secretary ACRONYMS APPENDIX SPACE STUDIES BOARD Louis J. Lanzerotti, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Chairman Philip Abelson, American Association for the Advancement of Science Joseph A. Burns, Cornell University John R. Carruthers, INTEL file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91mem.htm (1 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:37:05 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Membership) Andrea K. Dupree, Harvard-Smithsonian Institution John A. Dutton, Pennsylvania State University Larry Esposito, University of Colorado James P. Ferris, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Herbert Friedman, Naval Research Laboratory Richard L. Garwin, IBM Corporation Riccardo Giacconi, Space Telescope Science Institute Noel W. Hinners, Martin Marietta Civil Space & Communication Company James R. Houck, Cornell University David A. Landgrebe, Purdue University Elliott C. Levinthal, Stanford University William J. Merrell, Jr., Texas A&M University at Galveston Richard K. Moore, University of Kansas Robert H. Moser, The NutraSweet Company Norman F. Ness, University of Delaware Marcia Neugebauer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Sally K. Ride, University of California at San Diego Robert F. Sekerka, Carnegie Mellon University Mark Settle, ARCO Oil and Gas Company L. Dennis Smith, University of California at Irvine Byron D. Tapley, University of Texas at Austin Arthur B.C. Walker, Jr., Stanford University Marc S. Allen, Staff Director COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS Norman Hackerman, Robert A. Welch Foundation, Chairman Peter J. Bickel, University of California, Berkeley George F. Carrier, Harvard University Herbert D. Doan, The Dow Chemical Company (retired) Dean E. Eastman, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center Marye Anne Fox, University of Texas Phillip A. Griffiths, Duke University Neal F. Lane, Rice University Robert W. Lucky, AT&T Bell Laboratories Christopher F. McKee, University of California, Berkeley Richard S. Nicholson, American Association for the Advancement of Science Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Princeton University Observatory Alan Schriesheim, Argonne National Laboratory Roy F. Schwitters, Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory Kenneth G. Wilson, Ohio State University Norman Metzger, Executive Director file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91mem.htm (2 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:37:05 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Foreword) Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 Foreword This report is one in a series written by the standing discipline committees of the Space Studies Board. The purpose of this new series is to assess the status of our nation's space science and applications research programs and to review the responses of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other relevant federal agencies to the Board's past recommendations. It is important, periodically, to take stock of where research disciplines stand. As an advisory body to government, the Space Studies Board should regularly examine the advice it has provided in order to determine its relevance and effectiveness. As a representative of the community of individuals actively engaged in space research and its many applications, the Board has an abiding interest in evaluating the nation's accomplishments and setbacks in space. In some cases, recurring budget problems and unexpected hardware REPORT MENU failures have delayed or otherwise hindered the attainment of recommended NOTICE objectives. In other cases, space scientists and engineers have achieved MEMBERSHIP outstanding discoveries and new understandings of the Earth, the solar system, FOREWORD and the universe. Although the recent past has seen substantial progress in the SUMMARY nation's civil space program, much remains to be done. CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 These reports cover the areas of earth science and applications, solar REFERENCES system exploration (and the origins of life), solar and space physics, and space ABBREVIATIONS AND biology and medicine. Where appropriate, these reports also include the status of ACRONYMS data management recommendations set forth in the reports of the Space Studies APPENDIX Board's former Committee on Data Management and Computation. The Board has chosen not to assess two major space research disciplines—astronomy and astrophysics, and microgravity research—at this time. Astronomy and astrophysics was recently surveyed in a report under the aegis of the Board on Physics and astronomy, The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1991); the Space Studies Board is currently developing a strategy for the new area of microgravity research. On completion of the four reports, the Board will summarize the contents file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91foreword.htm (1 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:37:15 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Foreword) of each volume and produce an overview. The Space Studies Board expects to repeat this assessment process approximately every three years, not only for the general benefit of our nation's space research program, but also to assist the Board in determining the need for updating or revising its research strategies and recommendations. Louis J. Lanzerotti Chairman, Space Studies Board Last update 12/18/00 at 10:12 am Site managed by Anne Simmons, Space Studies Board file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91foreword.htm (2 of 3) [6/18/2004 1:37:15 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Summary) Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 Summary During the past decade, the Space Studies Board, its Committee on Earth Studies (CES), and other bodies of the National Research Council have provided the federal government with a substantial body of advice on the study of the Earth from space. Together, these documents have contained an overall strategy for science and applications using Earth observation spacecraft and have established a set of specific recommendations for implementation of the strategic advice. This report assesses the status of the nation's civil Earth observation programs in relation to this existing body of advice and provides additional advice on how to address the unfulfilled objectives and recommendations in the current scientific and programmatic context. Specifically, the report reviews the content of the satellite Earth observation programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the REPORT MENU Landsat system operated by the Earth Observation Satellite (EOSAT) Company NOTICE as of the spring of 1991. The NASA programs are within the agency's Mission to MEMBERSHIP Planet Earth initiative, which includes the Earth Observing System (EOS) and its FOREWORD related data and information system, the Earth Probe small- and moderate-size SUMMARY mission line, and a number of "precursor" missions such as the Upper CHAPTER 1 Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) and the Ocean Topography Experiment CHAPTER 2 (TOPEX/Poseidon). The NOAA programs include the two meteorological satellite CHAPTER 3 series, the Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the REFERENCES Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). Also considered in ABBREVIATIONS AND this assessment are some of the Defense Department's operational and ACRONYMS experimental spacecraft, including the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program APPENDIX (DMSP), the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the completed Geosat mission. Finally, because the U.S. programs should be viewed in the broader international context, the experimental, operational, and commercial satellite programs of other countries are also discussed briefly. The committee has found that substantial progress has been made in recent years in the earth science programs of NASA, although many of the science objectives previously established by this and other science advisory committees have not yet been fully achieved. More importantly, a majority of past file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91summary.htm (1 of 5) [6/18/2004 1:37:27 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Summary) CES recommendations are expected to be addressed by the funded and planned missions and related research programs that have been proposed for this decade through the nationally and internationally coordinated U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and Mission to Planet Earth. The committee concludes that with the implementation of Mission to Planet Earth, together with the planned modernization of the NOAA environmental satellite programs and the continuation of vigorous research and development of remote sensing and related technologies, the United States will ensure its leadership in Earth observations from space. The committee has found NASA's plans for Mission to Planet Earth to be responsive to the scientific objectives and recommendations established in past NRC reports, with the exception of several shortcomings noted below and some additional ones expressed in the body of the report. Development of the EOS-A spacecraft and instrument complement, as well as the missions currently planned under the Earth Probe line, should proceed without delay in order to achieve the recommended science objectives. The committee also supports the instrument complement under consideration for EOS-B, but recommends that NASA carefully consider the optimum platform and orbit configuration in light of all scientific requirements. For spaceborne studies of the atmosphere and climate, the most significant scientific objectives will be supported by the data collected by NASA and NOAA spacecraft. Substantial progress also has been made by NASA and NOAA programs in fulfilling the space-related scientific objectives for physical oceanography, cryospheric studies, studies of tectonic deformation and variations in the Earth's rotation, and certain aspects of global biology, ecology, and biogeochemical cycles. Particularly noteworthy are NASA's support of general research and analysis (R&A) programs in the earth sciences during the past decade in the absence of many flight programs, and the high-priority attention now given by that agency to data management. Areas of scientific research where considerably less progress has been made with Earth observation spacecraft include hydrology, land-surface geology and vegetation, and the Earth's gravitational and magnetic fields. Research in the first two of these areas has been hampered largely by the high cost of obtaining data from commercially operated remote sensing systems such as Landsat. In the future, they would be further impeded by NASA's delays in flying advanced land-surface sensors such as the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and the High- Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (HIRIS) under the EOS program. The continued development and earliest possible deployment of the HIRIS and SAR instruments would significantly improve our ability to perform process studies and research in these areas. Exclusive reliance on sun-synchronous polar-orbiting satellites in the EOS program would also be inadequate for monitoring a number of important processes—such as the Earth's radiative balance, the formation of clouds, and biological productivity—that vary extensively throughout the diurnal cycle. Insufficient progress in the study of the Earth's gravitational and magnetic fields has been due to the lack of specific flight opportunities, despite long- standing recommendations by the scientific community to address them. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91summary.htm (2 of 5) [6/18/2004 1:37:27 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Summary) Maintaining an accurate reference system based on space geodesy techniques would be useful for monitoring long-term global change indicators such as mean sea-level change. In meeting the goals of the Mission to Planet Earth and the USGCRP, the agencies still need to complete development of a comprehensive observational strategy that preserves long-term continuity of the highest-priority measurements and makes the best use of existing resources. In light of limited federal budgetary resources, the committee considers it important for NASA, NOAA, and their space agency partners to: Maximize observational coverage by (1) eliminating gaps in coverage of the electromagnetic spectrum through better coordination of their respective programs and (2) reducing redundancies, with the exception of those redundancies that either help maintain continuity of key measurements or that provide multiple observations of variables with significant diurnal variations. Mount a special effort to ensure the absolute calibration and intercalibration of all Earth observation instruments to the highest achievable accuracy. Formulate a backup plan to be implemented in case of an instrument failure, to help ensure continuity in long-term observations such as those planned for EOS. This strategy may consist of the generation of alternative geophysical parameters, albeit less effective ones, either from complementary EOS instruments or from sensors flying on other NASA, U.S., or foreign spacecraft. Develop a plan for the surface and in situ data-gathering technologies and programs that are needed to complement Earth observations from space. The NASA aircraft and suborbital programs should be an integral part of this plan. Continue to transfer historical data sets onto secure media and improve the maintenance of long-term data archives. Both the development and implementation of this comprehensive observational strategy should be done in consultation with the scientific community. The implementation of the EOS Data and Information System (EOSDIS) and related NOAA data management initiatives is crucial to the success of future earth science and environmental research. It is important for NASA to continue to develop existing "pathfinder" data sets in cooperation with NOAA, and to include the data sets that will be collected by the European Earth Remote-Sensing Satellite, UARS, and TOPEX/Poseidon for prototype studies in developing the EOSDIS. The organizational emphasis on data systems and modeling in the recent reorganization of NASA's Earth Science and Applications Division is appropriate. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91summary.htm (3 of 5) [6/18/2004 1:37:27 PM]

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Assessment of Satellite Earth Observation Programs 1991 (Summary) The loss of identity of the traditional earth science disciplines, however, raises concerns that a balanced treatment among the disciplines may be difficult to maintain. The responsibilities of the new organizational units ought to be sufficiently broad to accommodate the requisite elements of the previous discipline structure. The status of operational and commercial applications is in a less healthy state. Although NOAA's POES program is on track and progressing in the development of next-generation spacecraft and sensors, the agency's GOES series has encountered serious difficulties. The two-satellite GOES system is currently operating with only one spacecraft, and the development of the new GOES series, which is being carried out in conjunction with NASA, is severely over budget and behind schedule. A number of instruments developed by NASA in the past, such as the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment scanner, the Coastal Zone Color Scanner, and the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, have not been adopted by NOAA for operational implementation despite the demonstrated maturity of the technology and the well-recognized need for such continuous measurements. Although NASA and NOAA have reached a tentative agreement on the designation of several EOS instruments as "pre-operational," the framework of the eventual transfer has not been worked out and the agencies have not yet agreed on the future status of the important Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) instrument. Past difficulties in transferring well-tested experimental instruments to operational status underscore the imperative for the federal government to arrive at a firm and comprehensive agreement on NASA's and NOAA's responsibilities, and on funding for the eventual transfer of key EOS instruments to a long-term monitoring program. The transfer of the Landsat system from NOAA to the private sector in 1985 was premature and poorly executed. Significant doubts about the future of this important remote sensing asset remain, and existing policies appear to be ineffective in assuring the future continuity of Landsat observations. The integration of the Landsat data into the research framework of the Mission to Planet Earth and USGCRP is especially important. Support of research and development of the applications of remote sensing data has been reduced substantially at NASA during the past decade. Although NOAA and the commercial sector have primary responsibility for operational remote sensing, NASA has a mandate for supporting research in, and development of, broader remote sensing applications. It is important for the agency to incorporate potential applications of EOS into its planning for the program, while preserving the primacy of the EOS program's scientific goals and objectives. These activities would best be coordinated with industry and with the commercial and government applications communities. The text that follows expands on the issues and recommendations highlighted in this summary, and contains a number of additional suggestions for improving our nation's satellite Earth observation programs. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/seo91summary.htm (4 of 5) [6/18/2004 1:37:27 PM]