Future Missions

Several satellite missions have been planned to support the operational data needs and ongoing research efforts. The future Metsat missions will carry improved VHRR and vertical sounders for temperature/humidity profiles. The Megha -Tropiques Mission scheduled for 2004 launch will be a joint project by ISRO and CNES, France with the objective of studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics. With an equatorial inclined orbit, the satellite will have high repetitively over tropical regions.

The future appears bright for our space-based observing system. Advanced, multispectral (visible, IR, and passive microwave) imagers, sounders (infrared and microwave) and scatterometers are planned for launch in the near future. Hyperspectral measurements from newly developed interferometers are expected to be flown experimentally by 2006. The information content will vastly exceed that of the current measuring devices. Instead of a few dozen viewing channels, these instruments will have more than a thousand channels over a wide spectral range. The satellite data downloads are expected to exceed several terabytes per day. Fortunately, communications and computing capacity are increasing at a rate that hopefully can accommodate this data explosion. Emerging new technologies (including the use of rapidly developing visualization tools) will be employed. It is important that the evolving space-based observational system keeps one step ahead of the demands being placed by the user community and advances in numerical weather prediction. While it will become an enormous task and challenge to assimilate this wealth of data into meaningful parameters, the outlook is bright for unlocking the still-unresolved mysteries towards improving our understanding and prediction of atmospheric circulation systems such as tropical cyclones.

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