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Addressing the Federal Community’s Critical Skills Shortages Related to the Field of Meteorology and Recommendations to Solve Identified Shortages. Satellite Remote Sensing Delores Knipp and Tim Spangler NCAR High Altitude Observatory and UCAR COMET. Outline.

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Satellite remote sensing delores knipp and tim spangler

Addressing the Federal Community’s Critical Skills Shortages Related to the Field of Meteorology and Recommendations to Solve Identified Shortages

Satellite Remote Sensing

Delores Knipp and Tim Spangler

NCAR High Altitude Observatory and UCAR COMET

OFCM Mini-Workshop, Apr 23, 2009

Outline Shortages Related to the Field of Meteorology

  • Relevance of Satellite Remote Sensing

  • Current Foundation Knowledge and Skills

  • Future Fundamental Knowledge

  • Advanced Knowledge and Skills

  • Shortages and Gaps

  • Current Activities and Solutions

  • Recommendations

Importance of satellite remote sensing in advancing weather and climate services
Importance of satellite remote sensing in advancing weather and climate services

  • Observing and predicting Earth’s environment are critical for the health, safety, defense, and prosperity of the nation.

    • Weather/climate-sensitive industries account for ~25% of the USA’s GDP

    • Value of weather national forecast services exceeds $12B

      (extrapolated from 2003 value of $11.4 B)

  • Weather satellites provide a relatively low cost means for regional and global observations.

  • Satellite remote sensing is a key element of

    • accurate weather forecasts and timely alerts and warnings,

    • long-term climate records,

    • a variety of other environmental information products

  • Satellite measurements provide ~90% of input to data assimilation algorithms that drive global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)

Critical skills for mission accomplishment
Critical Skills for Mission Accomplishment and climate services

  • Skill: learned capacity, from knowledge or practice, to carry out action(s) for competent application and performance

    • Foundation ─ skills people bring to a job

      • Knowledge

      • Transferable skills (math, communication, reasoning)

    • Functional ─ skills specific to the functions workers perform doing their job

      • Knowledge

      • Developed/practiced/professional skills

Foundation knowledge
Foundation Knowledge and climate services

  • Requisite Math*

  • Calculus-based Electromagnetics (EM)*

    • Waves and Photonics

  • Qualitative and Quantitative EM Radiation Transmission*

    • Emissions (production)

    • Absorption (loss)

    • Scattering and reflection (redistribution)

      • With respect to land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere

  • Dynamics and Thermodynamics*

    • Processes contributing to and physical sources of atmospheric features

  • ‘Retrieval’ Theory and Applications**

    • Inferring valid information from spectra

    • Spatial and temporal sampling characteristics

    • Radiative transfer equation (RTE) – frequency-dependent applications

    • Limitations and uncertainties

* Associate and Undergraduate Curricula ** Undergraduate/Graduate/Seminar/Continuing Education Curricula

Functional skill sets for competency 1
Functional Skill Sets for Competency 1 and climate services

  • Identify

    • Characteristics, typical uses, and relevance of channels, or combinations thereof in meteorological applications

    • Atmospheric processes relevant on various scales in imagery

    • Types of satellite products and their use

  • Distinguish between Geostationary (GEO), Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) and other orbits

    • Know their relevance to the various application areas

  • Relate features in satellite imagery to soundings, radar, and other information sources

  • Be aware of data latency

Condensed from WMO 258

Functional skill sets for competency 2
Functional Skill Sets for Competency 2 and climate services

  • Use hardware/software to:

    • Manipulate and or overlay

      • sequences of images (loops)

      • color enhancements

      • other meteorological observations and products

    • Identify geographical features

    • Change projections/views

    • Estimate, calculate, and or measure

      • distances and velocities of features

      • latitude and longitude of a feature

      • surface and cloud top temperatures

      • cloud top height

      • wind speed at different levels following cloud movement

    • Estimate rainfall intensity, coverage, and type

    • Display sounding information

Condensed from WMO 258

Functional skill sets for competency 3
Functional Skill Sets for Competency 3 and climate services

  • Use channels and products to identify and distinguish

    • Cloud types and amounts, cloud clusters and systems;

      • Fog, ice cloud, warm water cloud, supercooled water cloud,

    • Synoptic phenomena and other features

      • fronts, jet streams, tropical storms, etc

      • sea ice, snow cover, flooding

      • dust, ash and other atmospheric aerosols

      • fires

      • drought-stressed regions, soil moisture

  • Associate these with different scale phenomena and the climatology of the region

  • Integrate satellite data with other meteo data to

    • Produce a diagnosis

    • Assess the prognosis of the NWP guidance for various applications

Condensed from WMO 258

Near term functional skill sets for competency
Near-Term Functional Skill Sets for Competency and climate services

  • Compositing Techniques***

    • Fusion of multi-sensor and/or disparate observations to increase insight

    • Geo-spatial reference systems

  • Multi-spectral and Hyperspectral Sensing ***

    • Fusion of spectral observations to increase insight

  • Cross Spacecraft /Sensor Comparisons and Usage ***

    • Fusion of observations from legacy/new satellite systems

    • Assumptions and physics behind NPOESS Environmental Data Records

  • Computer Modeling and Data Assimilation ***

    • Fusion of computer simulations and observations to increase insight

    • How data assimilation systems do/ do not incorporate remotely sensed observations in numerical weather prediction systems

  • Neural networks/Pattern Recognition ***

  • Disambiguation ***

    • Establish single, appropriate interpretation of imagery features

  • Awareness of Uncertainty….Knowing What is Not Known ***

    • Assign appropriate weights to information

    • Error Propagation

  • Contemporary Topics in Atmospheric Science ***

    • Land-ocean-ice-atmosphere interactions

    • Climate interactions and applications

    • Atmosphere-space weather interactions

***Seminar/Continuing Education /Graduate Curricula

Future needs in functional knowledge
Future Needs in Functional Knowledge and climate services

  • Passive /Active/Hybrid Sensing Theory and Use**

    • GPS technologies

    • Lightning sensing

    • Microwave vs infrared /visible

    • Nadir vs limb viewing

    • Multi-spectral, Hyper-spectral,

    • Radar (altimetery, synthetic aperture radar, scatterometer)

  • Beyond the Troposphere**

    • Stratospheric Connections (Climate and Dynamics)

    • Standing and Traveling Atmospheric Disturbances

    • Links to space weather

** Undergraduate/Graduate/Seminar/Continuing Education Curricula

Altimetry and climate services

  • Hurricane Katrina intensified most rapidly when over anomalously high areas of dynamic topography measured by altimeters.

  • These dynamic topography highs are a proxy for the vertically integrated heat content within the water column

  • Since the dynamic topography changes only slowly over weeks, altimeter data collected long in advance of a hurricane can be used to forecast the potential for intensification.

Tropical Cyclonic Heat Potential computed from altimetry on 28 August 2005, with Hurricane Katrina's trajectory and intensity overlaid. Katrina's intensification seems to coincide with its crossing over the Loop Current. (Credits NOAA/AOML)

Gps water vapor as supplement to radiosonde and satellite soundings
GPS Water Vapor as Supplement to Radiosonde and Satellite and climate servicesSoundings

  • Accurate, dense and frequent sampling of water vapor (WV) , is important for climate research and operational weather forecasting.

  • Currently WV is measured using radiosondes and ground or space based water vapor radiometers.

    • Radiosondes produce an accurate measurement of the WV profile, but the temporal and spatial resolution is rather poor.

    • Ground based microwave radiometers experience problems during periods of rain fall

    • Space based radiometers may degrade in the presence of clouds.

  • New technique to measure integrated water vapor (IWV) has been developed based on GPS signals

    • This technique is based on the estimation of the tropospheric delay time of GPS signals. The delay can be directly related to the amount of WV in the atmosphere,.

    • Ground based GPS WV estimation is not affected by rain fall and clouds

    • GPS WV estimation may be affected by space weather storms

  • GPS WV estimation is a valuable complement to other means of WV measurements

Birkenheuer, D. and S. Gutman, 2005: J. Atmos. Ocean. Technol., 22, 1840–1847.

Stratosphere and climate
Stratosphere and Climate and climate services

AMSU observations

  • Globally, the troposphere warmed, and the stratosphere cooled during ‘79-’05.

  • Strong tropospheric warming in the Arctic,

    • Warming amplified as snow/ice melts.

  • Antarctic showed slight tropospheric cooling

    • Possible side effect of the ozone hole on atmospheric circulation.

    • Loss of ozone cools the stratosphere, intensifies the circumpolar vortex

    • The stronger vortex isolates the air over the continent, cooling the stratosphere even further.

  • The poles, especially the Arctic, experience episodic events known as sudden stratospheric warmings,

    • Circumpolar vortex breaks down

    • Stratosphere can warm several 10’s Celsius in a few days.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of Remote Sensing Systems. Caption information courtesy Carl Mears, Remote Sensing Systems, and Paul Newman and Joel Susskind NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Tropospheric effects on the ionosphere
Tropospheric Effects on the Ionosphere and climate services

  • Near the equator, the ionosphere grows very dense during the day, when a neutral wind-driven electric field lifts the equatorial plasma by hundreds of kilometers, perpendicular to the arched magnetic field.

  • Space- based UV imaging of ionospheric densities showunexpectedly large longitudinal changes in plasma density around the Earth, clearly visible the figure.

  • The peaks in density over Africa and Southeast Asia, separated by a deep low centered over the Arabian Sea are thought to be associated with tidal winds and temperature perturbations that originate in the troposphere.

  • The formation of raindrops in extensive cloud systems of tropical rainforests release heat that is a major source of energy for these tides

Nighttime ionospheric densities measured in UV. Immel et al, 2006 GRL

Advanced skills for science leads
Advanced Skills for Science Leads and climate services

  • Use hardware/ software for

    • Tracking/ingest/calibration/geolocation/archiving

  • Review new satellite products

  • Create satellite-derived products and display

    • Multispectral products for fog/stratus, reflectivity, low-level moisture, skin temperature, albedo, etc.

  • Create/implement algorithms to estimate atmospheric motions and their heights in sequences of images

    • RTE applications – dependencies/requirements/limitations

  • Implement procedures to monitor and validate the calibration of measured radiances

  • Condensed from WMO 258

    Advanced skills activities for management information technology and education training 1
    Advanced Skills/Activities for Management, Information Technology and Education/Training 1

    • Develop and implement algorithms and products to or for

      • Infer radiative and cloud properties

        • amount, height, thermodynamic phase,

        • particle size, optical depth and emissivity;

        • absorption/emission/transmission/scattering (specify for use in RTE applications)

      • Derive temperature and moisture soundings from radiance measurements;

      • Satellite-derived fire, smoke, aerosols, dust, trace gases

      • Real-time monitoring

      • Climate change studies

    • Ensure accurate geo-location of satellite data

    • Optimize use of satellite-derived mass and motion information in data assimilation and NWP systems

    • Educate and train staff in new satellite capabilities

    Condensed from WMO 258

    Advanced skills activities for management information technology and education training 2
    Advanced Skills/Activities for Management, Information Technology and Education/Training 2

    • Develop awareness of Climate Data Records (CDR) requirements:

      • Time series of measurements of sufficient length, consistency, and continuity to determine climate variability and change.

    • Develop and implement

      • Satellite-based climatological studies to improve forecasts and information to the public;

      • Means for quality and performance monitoring of satellite data and systems;

      • Systems for rapid, efficient access to archive, browse, and metadata

    • Create adoption plans for new technologies

    • Collaborate with other user communities (international, oceanographic, climate, etc.) to improve use of satellite obs

    • Maintain cognizance of the core competencies associated with satellite meteorology

    Condensed from WMO 258

    Summary of skill shortages and gaps identified by contributors
    Summary of Skill Shortages and Gaps Technology and Education/Training 2Identified by Contributors

    • Near-term knowledge and skills gaps

      • Fundamental RTE interpretation/application skills

      • Understanding of Data Assimilation

      • Passive /Active/Hybrid Remote Sensing Theory and Use

    • Mid-term knowledge and skills gaps

      • Evaluation/Use of NPOESS Environmental Data Records

      • Dynamics and coupling to upper atmosphere

    • Long-term management issues

      • Adoption Plans for New Technologies

    Current activities and solutions
    Current Activities and Solutions Technology and Education/Training 2

    • Annual 3-day Satellite Curriculum Development Workshop at Cooperative Meteorological Education and Training(COMET)

      • Sponsored by NPOESS and NESDIS/GOES-R with broad representation from the satellite community

      • Objective: identify and prioritize user training needs (based on perceived knowledge gaps)

    • Ongoing

      • COMET Environmental Satellite Resource Center (ESRC)

      • COMET Satellite Modules

    • VISIT (Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training)

      • Rapidly transfer research results to operations via tele-training


    Recommendations Technology and Education/Training 2

    • Distance/tele-learning provides for uniformity of instruction

    • Distance training/education should:

      • Have high-level of interactivity

      • Include graphics and animations from observations and models

      • Include multiple scenarios

      • Include frequent self checks/ ‘pause for inquiry’

    • Begin development of COMET/VISIT Data Assimilation materials related to satellite and remote sensing

    • Begin/Continue development of materials related to

      • Space Weather and Upper Atmosphere Materials

      • Broader range of sensing techniques

    • Consider development of mathematical techniques modules

    Contributors and references
    Contributors and References Technology and Education/Training 2

    • US Air Force Academy Meteorology Faculty

    • Naval Post graduate School Faculty

    • Commander AF Operational Weather Squadron

    • Director NCAR Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology

    • UCAR COMET Staff Members

    • Deputy Director National Climatic Data Center




    • Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in Weather and Climate Services NAP (2003)

    • Satellite Observations of the Earth's Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations  Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations, National Research Council


    • Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report NAP (2004) Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC)

    Q a 1
    Q&A 1 Technology and Education/Training 2

    NOTE: Answers below are the opinion of the author and are not necessarily the views of any agency.-What critical skills do you need to accomplish your mission?ANSWERED IN PRESENTATION

    -- Is there any part of the mission that you have current or projected challenges accomplishing due to lack of critical skills or experience?OPINION: ANALYSIS AND FORECASTING ACCURACY ARE COMPROMISED

    --- If so, what specific impacts are these critical skills shortages having to accomplishing your mission.


    - How are current or projected skills shortages in your topic area being addressed in your agency?OPINION: ON THE JOB TRAINING

    -- What attempts have you made to obtain the critical skills you are lacking?


    Q a 2
    Q&A 2 Technology and Education/Training 2

    -- Is the supplemental education and training (available within or outside your organization) sufficient to enhance an individual’s skills to help meet critical skill shortages that are needed for your mission?

    ANSWERED IN PRESENTATION--- Are there deficiencies in your organization’s workforce development program?


    -- Have you taken any actions with any academic institution to enhance instructor preparation to better train individuals to meet your critical skills shortages?

    OPINION: LIMITED NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SENT FOR ANDVANCED TRAINING AND EDUCATION- What additional recommendations do you have for addressing your agency’s current or projected skills shortages?

    ANSWERED IN PRESENTATION- What actions have you taken to retain personnel that have critical skills that you need to accomplish the mission?


    Backups and extras
    Backups and Extras Technology and Education/Training 2

    Climate monitoring principles
    CLIMATE MONITORING PRINCIPLES Technology and Education/Training 2

    • Maintain constant sampling within the diurnal cycle (minimizing effects of orbital decay and orbit drift)

    • Ensure a suitable period of overlap for new and old satellite systems adequate to determine inter-satellite biases and maintain the homogeneity and consistency of time-series observations.

    • Ensure continuity of satellite measurements (i.e., elimination of gaps in the long-term record) through appropriate launch and orbital strategies.

    • Ensure rigorous prelaunch instrument characterization and calibration, including radiance confirmation against an international radiance scale provided by a national metrology institute.

    • Ensure on-board calibration adequate for climate system observations and monitor instrument characteristics

    • Sustain operational production of priority climate products and introduce peer-reviewed new products as appropriate.

    • Established and maintain data systems needed to facilitate user access to climate products, metadata, and raw data, including key data for delayed-mode analysis

    • Maintained for as long as possible functioning baseline instruments that meet the calibration and stability requirements stated above, even when these exist on decommissioned satellites.

    • Maintain complementary in situ baseline observations for satellite measurements through appropriate activities and cooperation.

    • Identify random errors and time-dependent biases in satellite observations and derived products


    Skills/Abilities for Technology and Education/Training 2Meteo/Science Work Force




    • Critically interpret observations and imagery

    • Relate observations to conceptual, mathematical, and computational models

    • Harness core knowledge to conceive, plan and execute new applications.

    • Understand Meteorological Systems

    • Handle data

      • standard data and image processing apps

      • image /data blending and compositing

      • informatics

    • Collect and analyze field data

      • measure key parameters

      • extend in situ observations to column /system view

    • Communicate science in formal writing and verbal/visual presentations

    • Program computers

    • Formulate and solve numerate problems

    • Plan projects and manage time and resources

    • Locate, review, synthesize and evaluate published scientific and web-based literature

    Tracking tsunamis by gps
    Tracking Tsunamis by GPS Technology and Education/Training 2

    • Data and modeling results confirm the existence of a tsunamigenic signature in the ionosphere. The sea-surface displacement induced by tsunamis is transmitted into the atmosphere where it produces internal gravity waves (IGWs) propagating upward. During the upward propagation, these waves are strongly amplified by the double effects of the conservation of kinetic energy and the decrease of atmospheric density resulting in a local displacement of several tens of meters per second at 300 km altitude in the atmosphere.

    • At this altitude, the neutral atmosphere couples with the ionospheric plasma producing perturbations in the electron density. These perturbations are visible in GPS and satellite altimeter data. The dual-frequency signal emitted by GPS satellites can be processed to obtain the integral of electron density along the paths between the satellites and the receiver, the total electron content (TEC).

    • Within about 15 minutes, the waves generated at the sea surface reach ionospheric altitudes, creating measurable fluctuations in the TEC. This indirect method of tsunami detection should be helpful in ocean monitoring, allowing the tracking of an tsunami wave from its generation to its propagation in the open ocean.

    Using GPS data (purple arrows) to measure ground displacements, scientists replicated the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, whose crests and troughs are shown here in reds and blues, respectively. The research showed GPS data can be used to reliably estimate a tsunami's destructive potential within minutes. Image credit: NASA/JPL