DARMSTADT, Germany — Meeting on 30 June in virtual configuration, the Council of Europe’s operational satellite agency for weather and climate, EUMETSAT, approved the transition plan from the second to the third generation of Meteosat geostationary satellites for 2022-2026.
As part of this plan, EUMETSAT will move Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) spacecraft Meteosat-9 over the Indian Ocean in 2022 to replace the ageing Meteosat-8 and continue MSG observations of that region until at least 2025. Meteosat observations of the Indian Ocean started in 1998 with a first-generation satellite, Meteosat-5.
Evaluation of NOAA’s September 6, 2019, Statement About Hurricane Dorian Forecasts FINAL REPORT NO. OIG-20-032-I JUNE 26, 2020
U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General
June 26, 2019
INFORMATION MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY [WILBUR] ROSS
From: Peggy E. Gustafson Inspector General
RE: Evaluation of NOAA’s September 6, 2019, Statement About Hurricane Dorian Forecasts Final Report No. OIG-20-032-1
On Friday, September 6, 2019–the day Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the United States as a Category 1 hurricane–the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an unsighed statement (Statement) [redacted at Department’s request while the Department and its interagency stakeholders complete a pending privilege review] The statement rebuked the NOAA National Weather Service’s (NWS’s) Birmingham, Alabama, office (NWS Birmingham) for a September 1, 2019, tweet that advised that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian” [redacted at Department’s request while the Department and its interagency stakeholders complete a pending privilege review]
INFORMATION MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY [WILBUR] ROSS
FROM: Peggy E. Gustafson Inspector General
SUBJECT: The Department Is Actively Preventing OIG from Completing an Evaluation
This memorandum expresses my deep concern that the Department is failing to identify specific privileges and provide privilege markings to a U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluation, while claiming amorphous and generalized privileges, which effectively prevent us from publicly releasing the evaluation that is otherwise ready for release. Under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. (IG Act), OIG is an “independent and objective” unit created “to conduct and supervise audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations” of the Department.1 To promote and maintain this independence, the IG Act prohibits you or your staff from preventing OIG from carrying out or completing our work.2 Further, “[i]t is Department policy that all employees fully cooperate with the OIG” in its evaluations.3 This policy requires that all Department employees “shall make every effort to assist the OIG.” 4 As described below, that full cooperation and assistance is absent here.
NOAA will purchase radio occultation (RO) data from commercial companies after determining that the measurements are useful in improving weather forecasting.
In a report released last week, NOAA said measurements provided by Spire Global and GeoOptics satellites during the second round of the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) program in 2018 and 2019 demonstrated the utility of commercial RO data.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Atmosphere Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS) contract to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.
The total value of this cost-no fee contract is $17,084,053. The contract includes a base year that begins on July 1, and has four options to extend the contract through March 31, 2025.
The contractor will process and reprocess the data from the VIIRS instrument from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) series of satellites. The contractor will deliver Earth Observing System (EOS)-like standard and near real time atmosphere data products to the Earth Observing System Data and Information System as required by NASA Headquarters Earth Science Division for NASA researchers.
The JPSS missions are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide global environmental data in low-Earth polar orbit in support of NOAA’s mission. NASA is the acquisition agent for the flight systems. NASA also acquires JPSS data for its research objectives.
NOAA has reported that it has found $735 million in savings in the Polar Follow-on (PFO) weather satellite program.
In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), NOAA Acting Administrator Neil Jacobs said the program life cycle cost (LCC) has been reduced from $7.57 billion to $6.84 billion for fiscal years 2016 through 2038.
“The PFO Program has performed exceptionally well and the new LCC has sufficient cost and schedule margin to mitigate risk due to the improved posture,” Jacobs wrote.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — With predictions for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA forecasters have added meteorological muscle from a new combination of satellite data flowing into its computer models.
The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC-2) is a new fleet of six small satellites launched last June. Since May 26, the constellation has begun feeding more than 4,000 vertical sets of measurements of atmospheric temperature and humidity in the tropics and subtropics daily into our forecast models. Measuring the moisture in and around tropical cyclones is important because it is a key ingredient for their development and intensification.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded three Other Transaction Authority agreements, totaling $309 million, to develop prototypes for the Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program. The awardees, each a member of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), are:
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (subcontractors: EO Vista/Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER)/Braxton Technologies)
Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) (subcontractors: Tyvak/Science & Technologies Corps (STC)/AER/Lockheed Martin)
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (U.S. Space Force PR) — The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Weather System Follow-on – Microwave (WSF-M) program achieved two major milestones despite facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOAA might finally get a permanent — if that is the right word –administrator more than three years into President Donald Trump’s four-year term.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation approved the nomination of Neil Jacobs to become under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, a position that includes serving as NOAA administrator.
GREENBELT, Md. — NASA has selected a new pathfinding CubeSat mission to gather data not collected since the agency flew the Dynamics Explorer in the early 1980s.
The new mission, called Dione after the ancient Greek goddess of the oracles, will carry four miniaturized instruments to study how Earth’s upper atmospheric layers react to the ever-changing flow of solar energy into the magnetosphere — the enveloping bubble of magnetic field around Earth that deflects most of the particles that erupt from the Sun.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA has awarded the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) Magnetometer contract to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) based in San Antonio.
NOAA has awarded the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) Magnetometer contract to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) based in San Antonio, Texas through its procurement agent and acquisition partner, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
This is a cost-plus, fixed-fee contract with a total value of $12,862,664. The period of performance is 75 months.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — As Earth Day celebrates its golden anniversary in 2020, NOAA too is celebrating 50 years of monitoring the Earth’s weather, climate, and environment—and taking steps to preserve them.
As Earth Day celebrates its golden anniversary in 2020, NOAA too is celebrating 50 years of monitoring the Earth’s weather, climate, and environment—and taking steps to preserve them.
PASADENA, Calif. (GeoOptics PR) — GeoOptics, Inc. (GeoOptics) announced today the launch of an original radio occultation data processing system called the GeoOptics Processor for Radio Occultation (GeoPRO) that provide even more accurate and timely weather data from its CICERO constellation of radio occultation (RO) satellites. CICERO nanosatellites are designed to create the most detailed picture ever assembled of the Earth’s ionosphere and atmosphere.