With the launch of the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC satellites in April 2006, the availability of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Radio Occultation (RO) observations for operational Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) applications began. GNSS RO profiles started being assimilated operationally in the major worldwide weather centers soon after. NOAA started assimilating RO data operationally in early 2007. After COSMIC, other missions carrying GNSS RO receivers became available for operational uses. The incorporation of RO observations into the operational assimilation systems was shown to improve global model forecast skill. Since its launch in 2006, the COSMIC constellation has been the mainstay of the global RO system. However, COSMIC is already past the end of its formal lifetime, and only three satellites are still operating. This has motivated NOAA to invest on the COSMIC-2 mission, a 12-satellite constellation, that will replace COSMIC. The first launch, in equatorial orbit, is planned for March 2017. In addition to the space-based component of the GNSS technique, NOAA is assimilating ground-based products into its operational regional models. Although most stations over CONUS provide estimates of Precipitable Water (PW), this is not the case outside the U.S., where the required auxiliary meteorological information is generally not available. Thus, in order to evaluate the impact of ground-based GNSS products on a global weather model, the assimilation of less derived products, such as zenith total delays, rather than PW, is necessary. The talk will include an update on current activities and future plans for the utilization of space and ground-based GNSS products at NOAA. In addition, an update on the COSMIC-2 mission will be discussed.
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