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Toward an Integrated Arctic Observing Network
There are many instances when users have difficulty accessing large datasets or do not have the knowledge to work with such observations. Access to and understanding of these data can be made more effective through derived and/or value-added products. Additionally, many products are generated by blending data from different sources, such as blending in situ and satellite observations or combining observations from several sensors. For many applications, maximum benefit is extracted from all the various observations through real-time data assimilation and reanalysis systems in which different data are integrated into comprehensive and internally consistent descriptions of the state of the Arctic. Rather than requiring all users to repeat these efforts to integrate data, the AON can provide derived products, particularly those useful for educational and policy-making purposes, through its data portal.
An abundance and diversity of arctic observing systems and programs already exists, but the infrastructure to integrate results from these resources is lacking. Because this infrastructure will need to accommodate a broad spectrum of users, the AON will need a data management system that is independent of nation, language, background, expertise, and scientific interest—no small feat. But the successful completion of this task is the most significant contribution to creating a truly integrated network.
Recommendation: A data management system initially built on existing data centers and resources must be designed and implemented immediately by an AON data management committee to support major functions of the network. This system should be accessible through a single portal that connects data across disciplines and themes and should seamlessly link information from arctic sensors, historical datasets, and researchers and other users across space and time.