The Geostationary Earth Orbiting Synthetic Thinned Aperture Radiometer (GeoSTAR) is a proposed microwave sounder for geostationary earth orbit (GEO). It is a new instrument concept developed and demonstrated at JPL. As a space mission, GeoSTAR could improve on current measurements due to its cutting edge technology.
GeoSTAR has several application areas:
Improve regional forecast and severe storm prediction by taking all-weather soundings (standalone and infrared), full hemispheric soundings (@<50/25 km every ~ 15 minutes continuously) and synoptic rapid-update soundings.
GeoSTAR will be a quintessential hurricane sensor. It easily measures the scattering signal from hurricanes and large-scale convection. The instrument will also be able to measure location, intensity & vertical structure of deep convection and detect intensification/weakening in near real-time (NRT) at a < 15 minute rate. This will be helpful in operational analysis & in research to improve microphysics of models as it can measure all three phases of water (vapor, liquid, ice - including rain/snow).
Complementing Global Precipitation Mission (GPM), GeoSTAR will look at the full hemisphere with 50/25km pixels every 15 minutes continuously and directly measure storm and diurnal total rainfall (ie, predicting flooding events). Also complementing GPM (such as Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)), GeoSTAR could fill space-time gaps through data fusion methods and measure snowfall, light rain, intense convective precipitation.
In this area, GeoSTAR could have numerical weather prediction and transport applications. GeoSTAR could look at the surface to 300 mb, at very high temporal resolution and in & below clouds. Major forecast impact expected (Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSEE) planned) - particularly for hurricanes. Additionally, there could be many air quality applications.
Specifically with regards to the hydrology cycle and climate variability, GeoSTAR could make stable & continuous microwave observations to observe long term trends in temperature & water vapor and storm stats. It will help to fully resolve the diurnal cycle - water vapor, clouds, convection.