About Us

About Us

The COSMIC Program at a Glance

Who are we?

The COSMIC Program is housed within the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the UCAR Community Programs (UCP), located in Boulder, Colorado. UCAR is a consortium of more than 70 universities that grant doctorate degrees in the atmospheric and related sciences. The UCAR Community Programs were created in 1992 to manage a number of unique programs requested by the UCAR community. COSMIC joined UCP in 1997.

What do we do?

The mission of the COSMIC Program is to develop innovative observational techniques that use signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), and to support the application of these techniques in research and operations for the broader Earth Science community.

Dr. William Kuo: Fellow of the Meteorological Society of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Dr. Kuo

COSMIC's Director, Dr. William Kuo, was elected in 2013 to be a Fellow of the Meteorological Society of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This very prestigious award is only given to those who have made sustained and substantial contribution to the meteorological community in Taiwan. In the history of the Meteorological Society, only about a dozen people have received this honor and all are very well-known scientists and leaders in Taiwan.

We are very happy that Dr. Kuo's effort on various collaborative projects with Taiwan since 1985 has been recognized. The projects include TAMEX (Taiwan Area Mesoscale Experiment, 1985 - 1993, with MMM and EOL), the Advanced Operational Aviation Weather System (AOAWS) for Civil Aeronautics Administration (equivalent of FAA) (with RAL and MMM, 1994 - 2010), the COSMIC program, the Regional Operational NWP at CWB (with COSMIC, MMM, CISL, RAL), and the COSMIC Typhoon Impact study with TTFRI (with COSMIC and MMM). These collaborative projects have produced a profound influence on the meteorological community in Taiwan.

Our History

A major step toward the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) project took place in April 1995 when a prototype instrument designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) went into orbit aboard the MicroLab-1 satellite on a mission conceptualized and planned by UCAR's GPS/MET team. The GPS/MET prototype obtained over 100,000 atmospheric soundings, fulfilling its role as a proof-of-concept experiment.

A new chapter in the development of GPS/MET began on 4 December 1997 when UCAR signed a planning contract with Taiwan's National SPace Organization (NSPO) to explore meteorological applications of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and created the newest member of the UCAR Community Programs: the COSMIC Program Office.

Since its launch in 2006, COSMIC has made a huge impact. More than 2,660 researchers from 77 countries are registered users of COSMIC data, which are freely available to users in all countries. The data include electron counts in the ionosphere and atmospheric soundings of temperature, moisture, and pressure in the troposphere and stratosphere. The latter are gleaned through the radio occultation (RO) technique, whereby GPS signals are intercepted and analyzed for effects induced by the atmosphere along their paths.

Currently, some 90% of COSMIC soundings are available within three hours of collection. These soundings are directly improving global analyses of the atmosphere, especially above the oceans, polar regions, and other hard-to-sample areas. Moreover, since so many soundings are collected around the clock and around the globe, COSMIC provides a three-dimensional picture of the diurnal cycle in all types of weather.

A COSMIC follow-on mission, COSMIC-2, is being planned and will place an operational system of 12 satellites into orbit: the first six in early 2016 and the remainder in early 2018.

Current Operations

In addition to the COSMIC-1 and COSMIC-2 satellite missions, the COSMIC Program Office oversees a variety of projects related to both space-based and ground-based GPS. Please visit our Projects page for more information.