Satellite information improves our ability to observe current environmental conditions (relevant, e.g., to increase warning lead times) and advance the representation of physics in numerical weather and climate prediction models. NOAA geostationary and polar orbiting satellites are an integral part of the international global space-based observing system, providing a ‘global spectral shell’ of information with varying spatial, spectral, and temporal characteristics.
Satellite Algorithm Development, Training, and Education is a core thematic area of research for CIRA, and we hold over 30 years of experience in developing, demonstrating, transitioning, and training operational users on satellite meteorological products. This expertise spans both national and international operational satellite systems and extends to operational risk-reduction and research-grade systems. We apply this expertise to the development of new satellite algorithms, anticipating future system capabilities, and training forecasters on the capabilities and limitations of satellite-derived information.
Meeting the mission-critical needs of NOAA in satellite research and development requires close working partnerships and full immersion within NOAA’s program planning, budget, and execution cycle. This level of involvement is best facilitated by regular, face-to-face interactions. The Cooperative Institute program accomplishes this interaction in a unique way – allowing Federal scientists to physically sit at academic institutions and vice versa.
For example, CIRA hosts the Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) of NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, who interact closely with CIRA scientists at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Our co-location with CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science enables direct linkages to faculty and their students in the discipline areas of Satellite Meteorology, Radiative Transfer and Remote Sensing Theory, Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics, Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Quality, and Tropical Meteorology and Dynamics. In addition, the NOAA Weather and Climate Center in College Park, MD serves as host to a group of CIRA scientists who are fully entrained within the research activities of Satellite Oceans Sensors Branch as well as the Marine Ecosystems & Climate Branch as part of the NESDIS Environmental Applications Team (NEAT).
In both on-site and remote arrangements, Federal scientists serve as technical advisors to ensure that our research follows in lockstep with NOAA mission needs.