Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot Gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Impact of Loss of U.S. Microwave and Radio Occultation Observations In Operational Numerical Weather Prediction In Support of The U.S. Data Gap Mitigation Activities


As the U.S. polar-orbiting satellites NOAA-15, -18, and -19 and NASA’s Aqua satellite reach the ends of their lives, there may be a loss in redundancy between their microwave (MW) soundings, and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) on the Suomi–National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. With the expected delay in the launch of the next generation of U.S. polar-orbiting satellites, there may be a loss in at least some of the U.S. MW data. There may also be a significant decrease in the number of radio occultation (RO) observations. The mainstay of the global RO system, the COSMIC constellation of six satellites is already past the end of its nominal lifetime. A replacement of RO soundings in the tropics is planned with the launch of COSMIC-2 satellites in 2016. However, the polar constellation of COSMIC-2 will not be launched until 2018 or 2019, and complete funding for this constellation is not assured. Using the NCEP operational forecast system, forecasts for March–April 2013 are carried out in which various combinations of the U.S. MW and all RO soundings are removed. The main results are that the forecasts are only slightly degraded in the Northern Hemisphere, even with all of these observations removed. The decrease in accuracy is considerably greater in the Southern Hemisphere, where the greatest forecast degradation occurs when the RO observations are removed. Overall, these results indicate that the possible gap in RO observations is potentially more significant than the possible gap in the U.S. MW data.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Accepted On
January 26, 2015
Fiscal Year
Peer Reviewed
Publication Name
Weather and Forecasting
Published On
April 01, 2015
Publisher Name
American Meteorological Society
Print Volume
Print Number
Page Range
Submitted On
July 09, 2014


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.