Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Needs To Prepare for Near-term Data Gaps, Report to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Highlights: "NOAA [The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] established the JPSS [Joint Polar Satellite System] program in 2010 to replace aging polar satellites and provide critical environmental data used in forecasting weather and measuring variations in climate. However, GAO [The Government Accountability Office] and NOAA have previously reported that a gap in satellite data between the current satellite and the next one is likely. Given the criticality of satellite data to weather forecasting, 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. GAO was asked to review the JPSS program. GAO's objectives were to (1) evaluate NOAA's progress on the JPSS satellite program with respect to cost, schedule, and mitigation of key risks; (2) identify the benefits and challenges of alternatives for polar satellite gap mitigation; and (3) assess NOAA's efforts to establish and implement a comprehensive contingency plan for potential gaps in polar satellite data. To do so, GAO analyzed program management status reports, milestone reviews, and risk data; examined polar gap contingency plans; and interviewed experts as well as agency and contractor officials."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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