CLIMATE DATA RECORDS

FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SATELLITES

Committee on Climate Data Records from NOAA Operational Satellites

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites CLIMATE DATA RECORDS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SATELLITES Committee on Climate Data Records from NOAA Operational Satellites Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. 50-DGNA-1-90024 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subagencies. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09168-3 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-53080-6 (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover: “Cirrus at Sunset” by G. Stephens, 2003. The original is an oil on canvas and measures 20 in × 24 in. This painting is part of the “Noble Clouds Under Variable Light” series. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers, to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites This page intentionally left blank.

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE DATA RECORDS FROM NOAA OPERATIONAL SATELLITES DAVID ROBINSON (Chair), Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey ROGER BARRY, World Data Center for Glaciology, National Snow & Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado JANET CAMPBELL, University of New Hampshire, Durham RUTH DEFRIES, University of Maryland, College Park WILLIAM J. EMERY, University of Colorado, Boulder MILTON HALEM, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (ret.), Greenbelt, Maryland JAMES HURRELL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ARLENE LAING, University of South Florida, Tampa ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, Columbia University/CIESIN, Palisades, New York RANGA MYNENI, Boston University, Massachusetts RICHARD SOMERVILLE, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California PAUL D. TRY, Science and Technology Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland THOMAS VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University, Fort Collins NRC Staff SHELDON DROBOT, Study Director ROB GREENWAY, Project Assistant

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ROBERT J. SERAFIN (Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado FREDERICK R. ANDERSON, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Washington, D.C. ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MARY ANNE CARROLL, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge CASSANDRA G. FESEN, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire JENNIFER A. LOGAN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts ROGER M. WAKIMOTO, University of California, Los Angeles JOHN C. WYNGAARD, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, New Jersey NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director SHELDON DROBOT, Program Officer AMANDA STAUDT, Program Officer JULIE DEMUTH, Research Associate ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Project Assistant ROB GREENWAY, Project Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Associate ROBIN MORRIS, Financial Officer

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites Preface For the past four decades, data flowing from satellite-borne sensors have provided environmental information at spatial scales only dreamed of before the advent of these powerful observation tools. Data from satellites provided remarkable insights into Earth’s land, atmosphere, oceans, and cryosphere systems. We have progressed in understanding Earth’s internal dynamics and kinematics, along with important interrelationships between Earth systems. Time series data of elements within these systems have been scrutinized in attempts to better understand climate variability and to identify critical trends that may signal changes in the climate system. From these studies has emerged a growing appreciation of the importance of satellite climate data records (CDRs) that possess the accuracy, longevity, and stability to facilitate credible climate monitoring. These satellite CDRs provide abundant information to assist those making decisions regarding the status and fate of our environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to be commended for accepting the challenge to better understand climate variability and change. By requesting the formation of this ad hoc National Research Council (NRC) committee, it recognized the importance of generating and maintaining satellite climate data records in order to meet this mandate. This committee was tasked with assisting NOAA as it designs a plan to establish this agency as the chief steward of satellite CDRs. This task involves two phases. In phase one, NOAA requested an interim report on a range of different approaches and strategies for generating CDRs and identified key attributes common to successful CDR generation programs. NOAA will use this information as a guide in developing a plan to create CDRs from polar-orbiting satellites. In phase 2 (expected in late 2004), the committee will provide specific comments on the plan. The NRC’s Committee on Climate Data Records from Operational Satellites took a number of steps to conduct its analysis. Following a series of

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites committee teleconferences, an information gathering workshop was held in August 2003, with several dozen scientists providing valuable input (see Appendix A for a list of participants). A questionnaire was also distributed to conference participants and others, followed by a busy autumn of teleconferences, e-mails, and face-to-face meetings in Washington, D.C., and Boulder, Colorado. It is a credit to the committee and those assisting us at the NRC that by mid-December this report was ready to go out for review. Our report is divided into six chapters. In Chapter 1 we present a definition of a CDR and introduce the concepts of “fundamental climate data records” (FCDRs) and “thematic climate data records” (TCDRs), distinctions that are of utmost importance when designing and implementing a satellite CDR program. In Chapter 2 we discuss lessons learned from a sampling of past and present efforts to create satellite CDRs. This chapter benefits tremendously from the thematic expertise of all committee members. Elements of a successful satellite CDR generation program are outlined in Chapter 3, beginning with an organizational structure, continuing with suggested steps for creating CDRs, and finishing with suggestions on sustaining the program. A critical element to any CDR program is data management. In Chapter 4 we discuss data storage, archiving, and dissemination issues, emphasizing that the success of the satellite CDR program requires facilitating the straightforward and open access of subsets of satellite and ancillary data of interest to an investigator. NOAA is well suited to assume key stewardship of satellite CDRs, but it cannot and should not go it alone. In Chapter 5 the importance of partnering with other federal agencies, the international community, academia, and other sectors is discussed. Chapter 6 presents an overarching recommendation, along with a series of supporting recommendations. Many individuals provided important information and insights that helped the committee as we prepared this report. Thanks go to Greg Withee, Tom Karl, Mitch Goldberg, John Bates, and George Ohring for their interest in and leadership of satellite CDR development efforts at NOAA and for presenting us with such an exciting and challenging task. We are grateful to all who took time from their busy summer schedules to participate in the August 2003 workshop, particularly those who made presentations: Eugenia Kalnay, Kevin Trenberth, Graeme Stephens, and Bill Rossow. We also appreciate all those who contributed to earlier NRC reports that illustrate and justify the importance of climate data records. On behalf of the entire committee I want to express gratitude to those associated with the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate who

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites provided keen insights, able direction, and tremendous support to our endeavor. This includes board director, Chris Elfring; project assistant, Rob Greenway; and especially our erudite study director, Sheldon Drobot. A word of thanks to members of the committee; they are wonderful, talented individuals who volunteered countless hours to this effort. This reflects their dedication to the science community, and illustrates their belief that by having the opportunity to help guide NOAA in the detailed development of an end-to-end CDR program, they can make a difference. Our committee’s work is not yet done. Part of the attraction of serving on this committee is that we have two opportunities to produce advice: this interim report and a chance to comment in detail later this year on the satellite CDR plan that NOAA will now formulate. We look forward to getting back together in the middle of 2004, at which time we anticipate producing a second report in response to NOAA’s draft plan. David A. Robinson, Chair Committee on Climate Data Records from NOAA Operational Satellites

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites This page intentionally left blank.

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Lee E. Branscome, Climatological Consulting Corporation James A. Coakley, Jr., Oregon State University John Christy, University of Alabama, Huntsville Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University Dorothy Hall, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Michael King, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research Steve Worley, National Center for Atmospheric Research Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Christopher Justice of the University of Maryland. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites This page intentionally left blank.

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   9      A Need for Climate Observations,   10      The Purpose of This Study,   12      Past Studies of Note,   17      Report Organization,   18 2   LESSONS LEARNED FROM PREVIOUS PROGRAMS   19      Atmospheric Temperature Profiles,   19      Tropospheric Temperatures,   22      Satellite Precipitation,   25      Earth Radiation Budget and Clouds,   27      Vegetation Dynamics and Land Cover,   30      NOAA Snow Map Product,   32      Sea Surface Temperature,   35      Ocean Color,   38      Sea Ice,   40      Summary of Lessons Learned,   43 3   ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL SATELLITE CDR GENERATION PROGRAM   45      Organization,   45      Creating Fundamental Climate Data Records,   48      Creating Thematic Climate Data Records,   54      Sustaining a CDR Program,   58      Concluding Remarks,   61

OCR for page R1
Climate Data Records: From Environmental Satellites 4   DATA MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS   63      Requirements for Data Management of Climate Data Records,   64      System Design,   64      Data Stewardship and Long-Term Archive,   72      Infrastructure,   74      Concluding Remarks,   77 5   PARTNERSHIPS ESSENTIAL FOR IMPLEMENTATION   81      National Partnerships,   82      International Partnerships,   90      Concluding Thoughts,   91 6   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   95      Overarching Recommendation,   95      Applying New Approaches to Generate and Manage Satellite CDRs,   96      Developing New Community Relationships,   99      Ensuring Long-Term Stability for a Satellite CDR Generation Program,   101     REFERENCES   103     APPENDIXES         A  Workshop Agenda and Participants   107     B  Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   111     C  Acronyms and Initialisms   117     D  EOSDIS Lessons Learned   123     E  Previous NRC Recommendations   131