The expanded spacebased component of the world weather watchs global observing system

Several initiatives since 2000 with regard to WMO satellite activities have culminated in an expansion of the space-based component of the Global

Observing System to include appropriate Research and Development (R&D) satellite missions. The recently established WMO Consultative Meetings on High-Level Policy on Satellite Matters have acted as a catalyst in each of these interwoven and important areas. First was the establishment of a new series of technical documents on the operational use of R&D satellite data. Second was a recognition of the importance of R&D satellite data in meeting WMO observational data requirements and the subsequent development of a set of Guidelines for requirements for observational data from operational and R&D satellite missions. Third have been the responses by the R&D space agencies in making commitments in support of the system design for the space-based component of the Global Observing System. And lastly has been WMO's recognition that it should have a more appropriate programme structure - a WMO Space Programme - to capitalize on the full potential of satellite data, products and services from both the operational and R&D satellites.

WMO Members' responses to the request for input for the report on the utility of R&D satellite data and products covered the full spectrum of WMO Regions as well as a good cross-section of developed and developing countries. Countries from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, tropical, mid-and high-latitude as well as those with coastlines and those landlocked had responded. Most disciplines and application areas including NWP, hydrology, climate, oceanography, agrometeorology, environmental monitoring and detection and monitoring of natural disasters were included.

A number of WMO Programmes and associated application areas supported by data and products from the R&D satellites. While not complete, the list included specific applications within the disciplines of agrometeorology, weather forecasting, hydrology, climate and oceanography including: monitoring of ecology, sea-ice, snow cover, urban heat island, crop yield, vegetation, flood, volcanic ash and other natural disasters; tropical cyclone forecasting; fire areas; oceanic chlorophyll content; NWP; sea height; and CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and ocean.

WMO agreed that there was an increasing convergence between research and operational requirements for the space-based component of the Global Observing System and that WMO should seek to establish a continuum of requirements for observational data from R&D satellite missions to operational missions. WMO endorsed the Guidelines for requirements for observational data from operational and R&D satellite missions to provide operational users a measure of confidence in the availability of operational and R&D observational data, and data providers with an indication of its utility.

The inclusion of R&D satellite systems into the space-based component of GOS would more than double the need for external coordination mechanisms. Firstly, there will be unique coordination needs between WMO and R&D space agencies. Secondly, there will be coordination needs between operational and R&D space agencies in such areas as frequency coordination, orbit coordination including equator crossing-times, standardization of data formats, standardization of user stations. Figure 5 shows the present space-based sub-system of the Global Observing System with the new R&D constellation including NASA's Aqua, Terra, NPP, TRMM, QuikSCAT and GPM missions, ESA's ENVISAT, ERS-1 and ERS-2 missions, NASDA's ADEOS II and GCOM series, Rosaviakosmos's research instruments on board ROSHYDROMET's operational METEOR 3M Nl satellite, as well as on its future Ocean series and CNES's JASON-1 and SPOT-5.

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