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Evaluating NOAA's Plan to Mitigate the Loss of Total Solar Irradiance Measurements from Space

This study is being led by the Division on Earth and Life Sciences.

View the project website for further information.

Project Scope

Measurement of total solar irradiance is an important long-term climate record. An ad hoc committee appointed by the National Research Council will evaluate NOAA’s plan for mitigating the loss of total solar irradiance (TSI) measurements from space, given the likelihood of losing this capacity from instruments currently on the SORCE satellite in coming years and the short-term/experimental nature of the currently identified method of filling the data gap (interim observations from TCTE).

The committee will consider two background papers commissioned by NOAA that describe potential alternative approaches and their pros and cons and evaluate a NOAA-authored plan that will describe their anticipated route forward. These materials are expected to be provided to the committee in early September 2012 (the start of the committee’s work will be adjusted if this goal changes). The committee’s evaluation will include consideration of:

  • whether the plan appropriately reflects the scientific content of the commissioned papers,
  • whether the potential alternate method in the plan maintains the integrity of the data record,
  • whether the plan adequately summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed approach, and
  • whether the background documents and plan together fully explore the implications of loss of or changes in measurement on the understanding of Earth’s climate system and processes.

The project is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The approximate start date for this project is November 1, 2012. A report is expected to be issued by summer 2013.