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Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Identified Ways to Mitigate Data Gaps, but Contingency Plans and Schedules Require Further Attention
David A. Powner (au)
The Nat. Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. (NOAA) established the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program in 2010 to replace aging polar satellites and provide critical environmental data used in forecasting weather and measuring variations in climate. However, program officials anticipate a gap in satellite data between the time that the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite reaches the end of its life and the JPSS-1 satellite becomes operational. Given the criticality of satellite data to weather forecasts, the likelihood of a significant satellite data gap, and the potential impact of a gap on the health and safety of the U.S. population and economy, GAO added this issue to its High Risk List in 2013. This report (1) evaluated NOAA's progress in sustaining the continuity of NOAAäó»s polar-orbiting satellite system through S-NPP and JPSS satellites; (2) evaluated the quality of NOAA's program schedule; and (3) assessed NOAAäó»s plans to address potential gaps in polar satellite data. Tables and figures. This is a print on demand report.
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