Continuity of NOAA Satellites

Toward a New National Weather Service

National Weather Service Modernization Committee

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997



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--> Continuity of NOAA Satellites Toward a New National Weather Service National Weather Service Modernization Committee Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 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 competencies 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 This study was supported by Contract No. 50-DGNW-5-00004 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Available in limited supply from: Transition Program Office National Weather Service, NOAA 1325 East-West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 713-1090 Also available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20005 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Cover: First GOES-8 Visible Engineering Test Image May 9, 1994, 1230 EDT. Courtesy of National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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--> National Weather Service Modernization Committee ROBERT J. SERAFIN (chair), NAE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD A. ANTHES, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado DAVID ATLAS, NAE, Atlas Concepts, Bethesda, Maryland WILLIAM BONNER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROBERT BRAMMER, TASC, Reading, Massachusetts KENNETH C. CRAWFORD, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, California WILLIAM E. GORDON, NAE, NAS, Rice University (retired), Houston, Texas ALBERT J. KAEHN, Jr., U.S. Air Force (retired), Burke, Virginia JENANNE L. MURPHY, Hughes Information Technology Corporation, Vienna, Virginia VERONICA F. NIEVA, WESTAT, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DOROTHY C. PERKINS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland Satellite Continuity Panel GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, chair WILLIAM E. GORDON, NAE, NAS ROBERT J. SERAFIN, NAE DAVID S. JOHNSON, advisor Staff FLOYD F. HAUTH, study director MERCEDES ILAGAN, study associate WANDA PRIESTLY, project assistant

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--> 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. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering. 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 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. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> Preface The mission of the National Weather Service (NWS) includes providing up-to-date forecasts of the weather for the United States and the adjacent oceans and providing reports of severe or dangerous weather conditions, both in advance and as they occur. In carrying out these functions, the NWS makes use of data obtained from several satellites operated in various orbits about the Earth by the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). The National Research Council's (NRC) National Weather Service Modernization Committee (NWSMC) has been reviewing the NWS modernization since February 1990 under contracts between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NRC. In January 1995, as part of the extension of the contract, NOAA requested the NWSMC “to assess the adequacy of planned NOAA geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite coverage in terms of system continuity and backup.” The NWSMC formed the Satellite Continuity Panel in February 1995 to determine the scope of the issues involved and to develop a study plan. In September 1995, the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the NRC authorized the NWSMC to conduct a study that accomplished the following tasks: Evaluate the records [of past satellite lifetimes] and replenishment plans of current NOAA and Department of Defense meteorological satellite programs.1 1    The NWSMC did not investigate the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program of the Department of Defense except as it relates to the schedule of the proposed National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System and as a backup to the current Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite program.

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--> Examine each meteorological satellite program with respect to requirements for continuity of coverage. Determine best estimates of continuity for current meteorological satellite programs, considering strategies for satellite replacement. Assess need and timing for satellite programs not presently under contract to provide future replenishment of geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites. Further, the Satellite Continuity Panel of the NWSMC was asked to gather data and to present reports to the full committee for its analysis and for completion of the final report. The panel includes three NWSMC members and a former committee study director serving as an advisor. The committee appreciates the cooperation and assistance provided by the staff of NOAA; the NWS; several weather forecast offices; the NESDIS; the Storm Prediction Center, Aviation Weather Center, and Environmental Modeling Center of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I also want to thank the chairman of the Satellite Panel, George J. Gleghorn; member, William E. Gordon; and advisor, David S. Johnson, who worked so diligently with me to obtain and analyze data for this study and to compile drafts for the committee. On behalf of the committee, I express our appreciation to Mr. Floyd Hauth, study director, and Ms. Mercedes Ilagan, study associate, for their excellent organizational and logistical support and to consultant Robert Katt for his assistance with several reviews of the report. ROBERT J. SERAFIN, CHAIR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   6 2   NOAA Environmental Satellite Programs   9     Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System   10     Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite System   15 3   National Weather Service Uses of Satellite Data   19     Satellite Data in Numerical Weather Prediction   19     Use of Geostationary Satellite Data by Weather Forecast Offices   24 4   Ensuring Continuity   27     Past Performance of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites and Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites   27     Predictions of Future Performance   29     Schedule of Future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites and Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites   33     Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Ground System   35     Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Backup   36     Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Ground Facilities and Backup Systems   36     Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Backup   37     Satellite Launches   39

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-->     References   41     Acronyms   43     Appendix: Summary of Panel Meetings   49

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--> List of Tables, Figures, and Boxes Tables 2-1   TIROS Satellites   11 2-2   ESSA Satellites—The First Operational Weather Satellite System   12 2-3   ITOS Satellites   13 2-4   TIROS-N Series of Operational Satellites   14 2-5   SMS and GOES Series Satellites Launched through 1995   17 4-1   SMS/GOES Operational Experience   28 4-2   POES Operational Experience   30 4-3   GOES Schedule   33 4-4   Polar Satellite Planning Launch Schedule   34 Figures 2-1   Geographic coverage of the two-GOES system   16 4-1   Availability of GOES service in a two-satellite constellation   32 4-2   Availability of POES service by at least one satellite in a two-satellite (AM and PM) constellation   32 Boxes 3-1   Role of Satellite Data in Monitoring Climate and Other Applications   20 3-2   NCEP Models   22 3-3   Sounding Data   25

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