Sponsored by the NPOESS Integrated Project Office
Dr. Steven Mango - Project Manager

Global atmospheric observing systems, such as those on Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES), provide the basic data for Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecasts and the means to monitor and assess climate. The National POES System (NPOESS) is scheduled to fly in the 2007-2010 time frame. For the next 10 years, a considerable amount of effort must take place to define, develop and build the suite of instruments which will comprise the NPOESS. It is not clear, at this time, what the most cost-effective suite of NPOESS instruments should be. Many questions concerning which atmospheric variables (temperature, moisture, and wind) are the most important to be measured, their accuracy, and sampling density should be answered in order that the NPOESS fulfill its mission in the most cost-effective manner.

Any contribution of a particular instrument to the NPOESS must be taken in the context of other measurements that provide similar or complementary information. The forecast impact of current instruments can be assessed by Observing System Experiments, in which already existing observations are denied or added to observations from a standard data base. The impact of future instruments, however, must be assessed with experiments using simulated observations. These experiments are known as Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs).

Scientists at the Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and the Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey (NRL) have proposed a series of OSSEs to provide guidance for the NPOESS instrument configuration. There will be two major benefits from this investigation: first, an instrument configuration that provides the most cost-effect satisfaction of user needs will be defined; and second, the required NWP "machinery" for data assimilation, including models for these next-generation instruments, will have been generated in the course of these OSSEs so that full usage of these data will come much sooner after launch than for previous satellite instrument suites.

Major recent advances in the theory and practice of data assimilation have necessitated a review of the OSSE methodology in order to provide a more substantial foundation for future OSSEs (Lord et al., 1996).

This project (the NPOESS OSSE Project, NOP) is now being funded by the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO). The Investigators and collaborators for this project are:

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Stephen J. Lord, Deputy Director

Environmental Modeling Center

National Centers for Environmental Prediction


National Weather Service/NOAA


Data assimilation specialists: Remote sensing specialists

Dr. John Derber /NOAA/NCEP/EMC Mr. Mitchell Goldberg/NOAA/NESDIS/ORA

Dr. Mark Iredell /NOAA/NCEP/EMC Dr. Thomas Kleespies /NOAA/NESDIS/ORA

Dr. Eugenia Kalnay/NOAA/NCEP/EMC Dr. Robert Aune /NOAA/NESDIS/ORA

Dr. David Parrish /NOAA/NCEP/EMC Dr. Larry McMillin /NOAA/NESDIS/ORA

Dr. James Purser/NOAA/NCEP/EMC (GSC) Dr. George D. Emmitt/SWA

Dr. Wan-shu Wu /NOAA/NCEP/EMC (GSC)

Dr. Robert Atlas /NASA/GSFC/GLA/DAO

Dr. Stephen Cohn /NASA/GSFC/GLA/DAO

Dr. Arlindo da Silva /NASA/GSFC/GLA/DAO


Dr. Joanna Joiner /NASA/GSFC/GLA/DAO

Dr. Roger Daley /Navy/NRL

Dr. Ed Barker /Navy/NRL


Dr. Wayman Baker /NOAA/NCEP/NCO

Dr. Anthony Hollingsworth/ECMWF

Dr. Joel Susskind /NASA/GSFC/GLA/SDUO

The Principal Investigators of the NOP believe that the user community for future polar-orbiting satellite data should be involved actively in reviewing this OSSE work, since it will play heavily in determining the NPOESS instrument configuration. An advisory panel has, therefore, been formed with the following charge:

  1. represent the user community in providing scientific guidance for conducting a series of OSSEs for candidate instruments that can be placed on board the next-generation polar-orbiting platform;
  2. convene when appropriate to review progress on development of the OSSE system and experiments that have been performed; and
  3. write a short (2-3 page) semi-annual report to the IPO summarizing progress on this OSSE work.
The panel members are:

- Don Norquist AFGL (Dept. of Defense) (Chair)

- Dr. Akira Kasahara NCAR

- Prof. T. N. Krishnamurti Florida State Univ.

- Prof. Jan Paegle Univ. of Utah

- Prof. Paul Hayes Univ. Michigan

- Greg Mandt NWS Office of Meteorology

- Dr. Tony McNally ECMWF