THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
ESSENTIAL CLIMATE VARIABLE - Wind speed and direction
DomainAtmosphericDescriptionThe horizontal components of the atmospheric motion field are, like temperature, fundamental state variables of the system of equations that are commonly solved in the models of atmospheric behaviour used to make forecasts and climate projections. The motion of the atmosphere is also basic to the working of the climate system through transport of water vapour and trace constituents. [GCOS-195 4.5.2]
Full NameWind speed and direction
Satellite Signficant ContributionYes
GCOS Actions
DescriptionWhoTime FramePerformance IndicatorCost Implications
Ensure continuity of satellite precipitation products.Space agencies.ContinuousLong-term homogeneous satellite-based global precipitation products.10-30M US$ (for generation of climate products, assuming missions funded for other operational purposes) (Mainly by Annex-I Parties).
*GCOS-195 Status Categories: Category A: Action completed, perhaps exceeding reasonable expectations. Very good progress on ongoing tasks. Category B: Action largely completed according to expectation. Good progress on ongoing tasks. Category C: Moderate progress overall, although progress may be good for some part of the action. Category D: Limited progress overall, although progress may be moderate or good for some part of the action. Category E: Very little or no progress, or deterioration rather than progress.
GCOS Products
Related Measurements/
from CEOS DB
A.4Upper-air wind retrievalsUpper-air wind speed and direction
Wind profile (horizontal)
Wind profile (vertical)
CEOS Response[A8 (A.2)]

2015 Update: Specific Deliverable #1
  • TRMM has continued to be operated; it is out of fuel and will be passivized in early 2015 when its orbit decays to a set altitude (325 km). The TMI is operating continuously, while the radar is only available when the altitude is in set ranges.
  • GPM was launched into a 65° orbit on 27 February 2014 (UTC), and Day-1 GMI and DPR products were released in stages through the summer.
  • The initial GPM-era constellation consists of microwave imagers (DMSP F15 SSMI [limited]; DMSP F16, F17, F18, and F19 SSMIS; TRMM TMI; GCOM-W1 AMSR2; GPM GMI) and microwave sounders (NOAA-18, NOAA-19, Metop-A, and Metop-B MHS; Megha-Tropiques SAPHIR; SNPP ATMS).
  • The pre-GPM PC calibrator was the TRMM observatory; it is planned that intercalibration of the TRMM and GPM observatories will allow the entire TRMM-GPM era to be treated as a continuous record, a long time series that is now viewed as critical for the long-term records demanded for societal applications, including climate studies.
  • Upon reflection, “completely characterize” seems unachievable for sensors “carefully” is a reasonable standard that agencies strive to achieve.
Specific Deliverable #2
The satellite operators work through GSICS to ensure calibration and geolocation at Level 1b.

Specific Deliverable #3
The GPM project’s XCal Team developed and maintains intercalibrations of all radiometers to the Core Observatory reference at Level 1c.

Specific Deliverable #4
GPM is developing a physically based Bayesian retrieval system that can be applied to both imagers and sounders, GPROF2014, which is designed to be useful over land, coast, ocean, and frozen surfaces. Independently, NOAA is pursuing a more assimilation-like approach that applies to both imagers and sounders, MiRS.

Specific Deliverable #5
The output of GPROF2014 applied to all the microwave sensors in the constellation is freely available as individual satellite orbits at Level 2 – IFOVs in the original scan/footprint coordinates.

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