Weather satellites are an essential component of U.S. weather monitoring and forecasting, saving lives and generating billions of dollars in benefits for the nation every year. The Space Foundation released a white paper today that provides an overview of U.S. weather satellite systems and their benefits, as well as a list of recommendations to help ensure that the United States maintains this critical technology.
The white paper was authored by Space Foundation Research Analyst Dr. Mariel Borowitz, and was launched at a luncheon presentation today in Washington, D.C., at the Rayburn House Office Building.
About Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment
According to the paper, the next generation of weather satellites is currently being built, and both the polar-orbiting and geostationary programs are on track to meet their most recent estimated launch dates. However, a gap in some forecasting capabilities is very likely, and it is critical that both programs receive full funding to ensure that any gaps are minimized.
This issue is being addressed now due to concerns about decreasing weather forecasting capabilities posing threats to the United States. The white paper answers the question - how can our nation best position itself for the future?
Recommendations found in Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment:
Program offices should provide accurate and stable life-cycle cost estimates for weather satellite programs, and Congress should respond with full and stable funding for these programs, including Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate 2 (COSMIC-2).
The United States should seek opportunities to increase international cooperation on weather satellite programs to help decrease costs and increase capabilities.
The United States should explore the potential for working with commercial weather satellite data providers to augment current weather satellite capabilities and improve weather forecasting.
The United States should conduct a comprehensive review of its weather satellite program portfolio to determine the correct level and distribution of funding to achieve the desired capabilities.
Read the full report at http://www.spacefoundation.org/programs/research-and-analysis/white-papers-reports-and-analysis