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Quantitative Observing System Assessment Program (QOSAP)

About Us

QOSAP conducts research to quantitatively evaluate and optimize the impact of current and proposed observations for Earth systems analysis and forecasting.

QOSAP addresses NOAA’s mission requirements of science, service, and stewardship to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts to yield societal and economic benefits.

What We Do


NOAA OSE/OSSE- Ready capabilities for environmental applications

Provide Recommendations

to the Observing Systems Committee / NOAA Observing Systems Council (OSC/NOSC) for changes to the configuration of NOAA's observing systems and overall portfolio to maximize the benefit to NOAA and its constituents

Work with NOAA Line Offices

to conduct OSE/ OSSEs to follow the NOSC Impact Assessment Framework Memo "Guidance on the Process to Define, Design, Execute, Review & Report on Observing Systems Value and Impact Assessments", of March, 22, 2018

Conduct Comprehensive Assessments

as requested by the different NOAA line offices through funded projects after a case-by-case consideration


in relevant working groups and committees regarding quantitative assessments 

Help Inform Major Decisions

in relevant working groups and committees regarding quantitative assessments 

Our work helps NOAA management prioritize observing systems designs

QOSAP maintains and improves NOAA’s state-of-the-art assessment capabilities in addition to running observing systems evaluations for NOAA offices, labs, and programs. Observing system experiments (OSEs) and observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) are the primary tools used by QOSAP to conduct research for quantitative evaluations of the value of observational data on numerical weather prediction models (existing or proposed).

Read more about OSEs vs. OSSEs >

Program Objectives

Through research efforts, inform major decisions on the design and implementation of optimal configurations of observing systems

Benefits Across NOAA

Economic Viability

Working to make observing systems more cost effective and allow for strategic evolution and integration of emerging technology

Quantitative Evaluations

Effectiveness of current and new instrumentation is assessed; tradeoff analyses are investigated for various instrument configurations, and impacts on Earth Systems are diagnosed

Time Efficiency

Time lags between instrument deployment and operational implementation are reduced

Mandate from the Weather Act

The Weather Act of 2017 [reauthorization is here], SECS 106 and 107, mandates that NOAA continuously and systematically evaluate its observing systems, and that NOAA (OAR) quantitatively assess the relative value and benefits of those systems. Furthermore, the Act dictates that observing system simulation experiments shall be conducted by NOAA (OAR) prior to the acquisition of major Government-owned or Government-leased operational observing systems with a lifecycle cost of more than $500M; and prior to the purchase of any major new commercially provided data with a lifecycle cost of more than $500M. 

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