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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
×

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
×

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

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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Climate Data Records from Environmental Satellites: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10944.
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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.

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The report outlines key elements to consider in designing a program to create climate-quality data from satellites. It examines historical attempts to create climate data records, provides advice on steps for generating, re-analyzing, and storing satellite climate data, and discusses the importance of partnering between agencies, academia, and industry. NOAA will use this report--the first in a two-part study--to draft an implementation plan for climate data records.

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