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CIRA'S Contribution To The NWS GOES-R Proving Ground: A Look Back at Pre-launch Activities and A Look Ahead To Post-launch Interactions


By the time of the 2017 AMS Annual Meeting we should have arrived in the GOES-R era, with the launch of GOES-R scheduled for early November 2016. With a scheduled period of calibration and testing that could last up to 6 months, National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters would begin seeing new imagery and products from GOES-R sometime in the spring of 2017. In addition to improved spatial and temporal resolution, GOES-R will have many more channels (16 compared to the current 6 in GOES) than forecasters are accustomed to seeing. A comprehensive set of training modules is currently under preparation, and by launch time all NWS forecasters will have taken about eight hours of training, with further on-hands (Weather Event Simulator or WES) training cases also available. But another important part of the preparation of forecasters for the GOES-R era has been the GOES-R Proving Ground. This activity was begun several years ago, with the basic idea to familiarize forecasters with GOES-R imagery and products in the years leading up to the launch of GOES-R. The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) has been an active participant in the GOES-R Proving Ground since 2008, along with Proving Ground partners NASA SPoRT and CIMSS. The effort to participate on the part of the NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and National Centers is voluntary, with the required training that noted earlier. Proving Ground pseudo GOES-R products and imagery are demonstrated through a variety of means, including using imagery and products from Polar satellites, which have bands similar to GOES-R, using model generated satellite imagery (synthetic) from a higher resolution model that can recreate all the bands, and developing products from current GOES or a combination of GOES and Polar satellites. More recently the Proving Ground has used the Himawari satellite, which has the advantage of being similar to GOES-R, but the disadvantage of coverage (over the Pacific and Asia) that is applicable in real-time to a fairly limited set of users in the NWS. CIRA currently provides test products and pseudo GOES-R imagery to over 35 NWS WFOs and interacts with the National Centers. With the launch of GOES-R, we have an opportunity to look back and assess what has been accomplished, at least from CIRA’s experience, through participation in the Proving Ground. We know that things have not always gone as planned over the last few years, with some setbacks over the years involving bandwidth limitations at some WFOs, the sometimes arduous transition to AWIPS II and other competing programs. On the other hand, we believe that many forecasters have benefited from the Proving Ground interactions and are already more familiar with GOES-R capabilities, which should make the formal GOES-R training that will be available to every forecaster easier and more useful. But what role does the Proving Ground have after the launch of GOES-R? We will make the case there remains a role for the Proving Ground, since not all potential satellite products will be available on Day 1 of operations (only an initial “Baseline Product” set). This means that other possible future products can still be demonstrated to forecasters and feedback given back to developers to make these products better for when (or if) they are released. We will discuss one big advantage over today’s Proving Ground demonstrations, and that the use of real GOES-R data to generate these products, which should make them more attractive and useful to forecasters than some of the current GOES-R Proving Ground proxy products and imagery.

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January 01, 2017

This publication was presented at the following:

2017 - 97th AMS Annual Meeting
Amer. Meteor. Soc.
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