February 8 2017

International Collaboration Leads to More Data for U.S. Weather Forecasts

The 97th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Seattle, Washington included the Gary K. Davis Memorial Session on environmental satellites. During his 37-year career at NOAA, Gary Davis worked to ensure the continuity of our environmental data while forging international partnerships that have lasted through the years.

In the late 1980’s, a satellite launch failure along with development delays threatened the U.S. with a loss of geostationary environmental satellite data. Fortunately, Gary Davis led the efforts to secure backup services from a European satellite to aid in U.S. monitoring and arranged for a long term backup agreement between the international meteorological agencies. Thanks to this dynamic and critical tactic, the European meteorological satellite agency, EUMETSAT, has been a partner of NOAA’s satellite fleets ever since. Gary Davis continued to build relationships at NOAA and abroad, helping to ensure the successful delivery of both geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite data products that persists to this day.

Recently, EUMETSAT and JPSS signed the Joint Polar System Agreement and Program Implementation Plan. The Agreement continues the long-standing polar-orbiting cooperation of data sharing between the two organizations, utilizing ground assets operated by both agencies. It will cover the JPSS program through the JPSS-4 satellite and include all satellites within the EUMETSAT Polar System – Second Generation series.

As noted by many presenters at the AMS Annual Meeting, additional data greatly improves numerical weather models. Working with our international partner satellites increases the timeliness and accuracy of global weather data. The upcoming JPSS-1 satellite will double the amount of high quality data currently being collected by the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, further improving weather forecasting models.

implementation plan signing
Marc Cohen, EUMETSAT Associate Director for LEO Programmes, and Harry Cikanek, former director of JPSS, sign the Joint Polar System Program Implementation Plan on December 15, 2016.