QOSAP Terms of Reference

Download the QOSAP Terms of Reference              (on Google Drive)
  1. Background, Governance and Purpose

  2. Observing systems are critical to supporting NOAA’s mission, but are often expensive to deploy and maintain. Additionally, the full impact of observing systems on numerical prediction models is often not known before an observing network is deployed. NOAA needs to use more cost-effective observing approaches to maintain and improve predictions. These may include eliminating, downsizing, or reconfiguring NOAA observing networks, developing alternative systems, and buying data from commercial systems.

    Approaches that utilize models to estimate the impact of observing system options have been demonstrated to be very effective. These include Observing System Experiments (OSE) in which existing observations are withheld from assimilation into models and then the magnitude of the degradation in predictions is observed. These also include Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE) using atmospheric, oceanic, and/or earth system models to simulate observations that would be produced by new/modified observing systems and to estimate the impact of those observations on predictions. While the NOAA R&D community and its partners have been developing and applying approaches to objectively quantify the impact of existing and proposed observing systems on NOAA’s products, these activities had been very limited within NOAA. NOAA requires such analysis for key observing system decisions.

    The Quantitative Observing System Assessment Program was developed in order to (1) improve quantitative and objective assessment capabilities across NOAA, (2) evaluate operational and future observing system impacts and trade-offs, and (3) inform major decisions on the design and implementation of observing systems.

  3. Membership

    1. Program Director: Director of Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

    2. Deputy Director: OAR Scientist with both observing stem and data assimilation expertise.

    3. Team members: Line Office Representatives from each NOAA Line Office and OMAO.

    4. Non-Voting Members:

      1. One representative from TPIO

      2. Representatives from NOAA partners with the approval of the NOSC.

  4. Teams/Working Groups

    1. QOSAP can form teams and or working groups to accomplish specific tasks and goals. At the present time, these include:

      1. A Global OSE/OSSE Team

      2. A Regional OSE/OSSE Team

      3. An Ocean OSE/OSSE Team

  5. Roles and Responsibilities

    1. Director

      1. Lead QOSAP program and teams and ensure that all tasks are completed in as timely a manner as possible.

      2. Oversee prioritization of quantitative observing system assessments.

      3. Brief NOSC on QOSAP prioritization and progress.

      4. Oversee development and new applications of OSSE systems.

      5. Provide guidance for quantitative observing system assessments across NOAA.

    2. Deputy Director

      1. Work with and assist the director in the performance of the above activities.

      2. Oversee the collection of candidates for assessments from all of the line office representatives.

      3. Conduct observing system experiments (OSE and OSSE) as needed.

      4. Update the QOSAP Inventory of Assessments annually.

    3. Members

      1. Survey their respective line office annually to obtain candidates for assessment by QOSAP and also to summarize any observing system assessments that may have been performed within their line offices.

      2. Participate in QOSAP meetings and in the prioritization of assessments.

  6. Meeting Frequency

  7. Meetings are held semi-annually or as needed.

  8. Decision Making Process

  9. Decisions will be reached by informed consensus. The Director makes the final decision when consensus is not achieved.