National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

National Weather Service Modernization and Weather Satellite Program

T-AIMD-00-86: Published: Mar 29, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the status of the National Weather Service (NWS) systems modernization and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program.

GAO noted that: (1) although NWS is nearing completion of its systems modernization effort, it still faces important challenges; (2) during the coming year, NWS plans to finish commissioning the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), the final system of the modernization; (3) at the same time, NWS is developing additional AWIPS system capabilities to be implemented in the future; (4) according to NWS, these additional capabilities are needed for AWIPS to improve radar and satellite data processing and to provide weather forecasters with a full range of interactive forecasting techniques; (5) NWS is also developing a systems architecture to provide a blueprint for future systems acquisitions; (6) regarding the GOES program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continues to deploy weather satellites to ensure adequate satellite coverage; (7) however, because of unexpected problems, satellite coverage is at risk and will remain so until a new satellite is successfully launched; (8) NOAA plans to launch the new satellite in May 2000; and (9) to ensure continued satellite coverage beyond the satellite series, NOAA is planning for the program's near- and long-term future.

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