In conjunction with the 5th FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC Data Users Workshop, the International Conference on GPS Radio Occultation (ICGPSRO) 2011 will be inaugurated to promote GPS RO applications to the meteorology, climate, and space weather science and related research and applications communities. The ICGPSRO is intended to be held every two years in Taiwan in parallel with the current FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC Data Users Workshop and the planned future FORMOSAT-7 / COSMIC-2 Data Users Workshop.
FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC is a joint Taiwan/ U.S. science mission for weather, climate, space weather, and geodetic research. The FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC mission was successfully launched in the U.S. on 14 April 2006 (15 April 2006 Taiwan-time). Six identical micro satellites, each carrying an advanced GPS radio occultation (RO) receiver, a Tiny Ionospheric Photometer (TIP), and a Tri-Band Beacon (TBB) were deployed. The satellites have been controlled and operated by the National Space Organization (NSPO) in Taiwan in an operational constellation of six orbital planes separated by 30 degrees. The payload science data are currently being downloaded every orbit via two NOAA TT&C stations (in Alaska and Norway) and one NSF/NASA station in McMurdo, Antarctica, and transferred to the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC Data Analysis and Archive Center (CDAAC) at UCAR in Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., and the Taiwan Analysis Center for COSMIC (TACC) in Taipei, Taiwan. Both CDAAC and TACC currently process the FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC science data in near real-time; 90 percent of RO profiles are delivered to operational weather centers within 3 hours of observation. The data are also post-processed in a more accurate mode (within 6 weeks of observation) for the global users.
FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC is providing ~ 2500 daily RO profiles in the neutral atmosphere, ~2500 daily electron density profiles and total electron content arcs, and TIP radiance products. The occultation method shares the unique properties of self-calibration, high accuracy and vertical resolution, global coverage, and all-weather capability. And the GPS-RO data have already demonstrated their value for operational weather forecasting, hurricane forecasting, and investigations of the atmospheric boundary layer. The GPS RO data also have the potential to be of great benefit to climate studies due to their unprecedented accuracy, demonstrated high precision and global and diurnal sampling coverage. The data have been used extensively to test ionospheric models, and their use in operational space weather models is in development.
The FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC GPS RO data have been demonstrated to be valuable to users of real-time forecasts as well as international meteorology, climate, and space weather research communities. The 5th FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC Data Users Workshop, which will follow the objectives of the previous four workshops since the satellites were launched in 2006, is open to RO users and suppliers, with the aim of promoting the exchange of scientific and operational information between the RO data providers and the research and user communities. The FORMOSAT-3 / COSMIC will reach the end of its five year satellite design life in 2011, and the critical capability it provides has already begun to degrade. As a result, NSPO and NOAA have been working over the past few years on a plan to jointly develop and launch FOMOSAT-7 / COSMIC-2, a high-reliability, next-generation follow-on system. Therefore, the status and the goal of the FORMOSAT-7 / COSMIC-2 mission will be introduced and presented during the 5th Data Users Workshop and the International Conference on GPS Radio Occultation 2011.