Key Elements of Successful Climate Data Records Generation Programs

CDR Organizational Elements

  1. A high-level leadership council within NOAA is needed to oversee the process of creating climate data records from satellite data.

  2. An advisory council is needed to provide input to the process on behalf of the climate research community and other stakeholders.

  3. Each fundamental CDR (FCDR) should be created by a specifically appointed team of CDR experts.

  4. Science teams should be formed within broad disciplinary theme areas to prescribe algorithms for the thematic CDRs (TCDRs) and oversee their generation.

CDR Generation Elements

  1. FCDRs must be generated with the highest possible accuracy and stability.

  2. Sensors must be thoroughly characterized before and after launch, and their performance should be continuously monitored throughout their lifetime.

  3. Sensors should be thoroughly calibrated, including nominal calibration of sensors in-orbit, vicarious calibration with in situ data, and satellite-to-satellite cross-calibration.

  4. TCDRs should be selected based on well-defined criteria established by the Advisory Council.

  5. A mechanism should be established whereby scientists, decision makers, and other stakeholders can propose TCDRs and provide feedback that is considered in the selection of TCDRs.

  6. Validated TCDRs must have well-defined levels of uncertainty.

  7. An ongoing program of correlative in situ measurements is required to validate TCDRs.

Sustaining CDR Elements

  1. Resources should be made available for reprocessing the CDRs as new information and improved algorithms are available, while also maintaining the forward processing of data in near real time.

  2. Provisions should be included to receive feedback from the scientific community.

  3. A long-term commitment of resources should be made to the generation and archival of CDRs and associated documentation and metadata.

The new emphasis and importance of climate within NOAA’s mission requires an increased focus on partnerships and new approaches as it relates to supporting extramural research. Many agencies and groups are interested and involved in creating, analyzing, and storing CDRs. By partnering with other government agencies, academia, and the private sector in development, analysis, and reprocessing of CDRs, NOAA can create and sustain a successful CDR effort; a high degree of interagency coordination on the requirements, definition, and implementation of CDRs is essential for satisfying the broad user communities of today and providing climate data stewardship for future generations.

OVERARCHING RECOMMENDATION: NOAA should embrace its new mandate to understand climate variability and change by asserting national leadership for satellite-based Climate Data Record generation, applying new approaches to generate and manage satellite Climate Data Records, developing new community relationships, and ensuring long-term consistency and continuity for a satellite Climate Data Record generation program.

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