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BACKGROUND DOCUMENT JOINT WMO/IOC TECHNICAL COMMISSION FOR OCEANOGRAPHY AND MARINE METEOROLOGY (JCOMM) SECOND SESSION HALIFAX, CANADA, 19 TO 27 SEPTEMBER 2005 JCOMM-II/BG. 4.1 (1) __________ ITEM 4.1 English only REQUIREMENTS FOR OCEAN DATA FOR CLIMATE (RESEARCH, ASSESSMENT AND PREDICTION) (Submitted by the Chairman of the OOPC) JCOMM-II/Information Document Agenda Item 4.1 Requirements for ocean data for climate (research, assessment and prediction) Report of the Chairman of the OOPC (D. E. Harrison) Background The GCOS-GOOS-WCRP Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC) has been tasked by its sponsors to recommend requirements for sustained observations of the ocean for climate and related services. OOPC is a scientific advisor to JCOMM in the development and implementation of the global ocean observing system. The foundation for the work of the OOPC was provided by the Ocean Observing System Development Panel (OOSDP) Report of 1995. OOPC was charged with developing and implementing the recommendations of that Report, in concert with relevant implementation bodies, taking due account of new developments in science and technology. An international conference1 was held in October 1999 to reach ocean research and operational community consensus on the Next Steps forward for the global ocean observing system. The recommended Next Steps were endorsed by the sponsors of OOPC. JCOMM-I in 2001 agreed that these Next Steps "would provide a blueprint for much of its own work over the coming decade."2 OOPC has contributed to two recent documents updating the requirements and implementation plans for the global observing systems for climate, with broad input from ocean community scientists. In response to a request in 2001 from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), GCOS undertook an evaluation of the status of the existing global observing efforts for ocean, land and atmosphere. The April 2003 Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing Systems for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC3 was accepted by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC, and an implementation plan was requested. OOPC and other ocean community scientists contributed the ocean domain section of this implementation plan4, which was reviewed and in December 2004, recommended for implementation by COP-10 in Buenos Aires. This briefing paper outlines the objectives of the global component of the ocean observing system, the strategy that is being used to meet those objectives including JCOMM's role as an implementer, and key actions necessary to fully implement the recommended initial ocean observing system. Objectives The ocean observing system is being developed with a broad set of objectives, including: Monitoring and detection of climate change, including projection to regional scales and characterization of extreme events Seasonal-to-interannual climate prediction Marine and weather forecasts Short-range ocean forecasts Understanding decadal variations 1 International Conference on the Ocean Observing System for Climate (OceanObs), St Raphaël, France, 18-22 October 1999. 2 Abridged Final Report of JCOMM-I, WMO publication No. 931, agenda item 5.1.3. 3 Global Climate Observing System report GCOS-82 (WMO/TD No. 1143), available from http://www.wmo.ch/web/gcos/gcoshome.html 4 Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, GCOS report GCOS-92, available from http://www.wmo.ch/web/gcos/gcoshome.html 3 Support of scientific research Routine ocean state estimation The design and implementation strategy have been developed and refined with these multipurpose goals in mind, since a broad user base will strengthen the resource base and increase the likelihood of the observing system being sustained. The ocean observing system New technology, developed and proven by the ocean climate research programmes of the 1990s, has allowed the ocean community to design and begin implementation of an initial ocean observing system, significant parts of which are implemented under JCOMM. The OOPC is advocating, and its sponsors have endorsed, the implementation of a composite system of satellite and in situ observations collected by operational and research groups, to be synthesized into information products. The recommended observations are feasible for global implementation with current technologies, and are of high impact, contributing to the multiple objectives of the ocean observing system. The composite strategy makes the best use of existing observing efforts and organizational structures. Surface ocean composite observing network The surface ocean composite observing network will provide information about patterns of ocean surface temperature, pressure, winds, salinity, sea level, waves, and sea ice that are important both to the global climate and ocean and weather forecasting. The surface observing network depends critically on the continuity of some satellite observations, most of which are in research rather than operational status, and on the full implementation of a number of in situ activities. The essential ocean satellite systems are: vector-wind (scatterometer), sea-ice, sea-surface temperature (microwave and infrared), ocean-colour, and high-precision and high-resolution sea-level measurements, which require one high-precision and two low-precision altimeters. The essential in situ surface ocean observations are: high-accuracy geocentrically-located tide gauge measurements, the GCOS subset of the total JCOMM Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) Core Network global coverage for the drifting buoy array, organized under JCOMM's Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) an enhanced Tropical Moored Buoy network including observations in all three tropical oceans, organized under DBCP's Tropical Moored Buoy Implementation Panel (TIP) an enhanced Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) network including sea surface salinity (SSS) and an enhanced VOS Climate (VOSClim) network, organized under JCOMM's Ship Observations Team (SOT) a globally-distributed reference mooring network, with a wave measurement component coordinated through the JCOMM Expert Team on Waves and Surges Subsurface ocean composite observing network The subsurface ocean network will provide critical information on ocean climate variability and change. The network will provide a capacity for monitoring the regional oceanic uptake of heat, freshwater and carbon, and identification of abrupt climate change arising from changes in the planetary hydrological cycle processes. Combined with the surface observations, they also provide the basis for seasonal-to-interannual predictions and longerterm weather forecasting. The essential subsurface ocean observations are: the enhanced network of Ship-of-Opportunity Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT) trans-oceanic sections, organized under JCOMM's SOT the Argo profiling float array systematic repeat hydrographic sampling of the global ocean full-depth water column key ocean current and transport measurements the Tropical Moored Buoy and reference mooring networks referred to above The surface and subsurface observing networks outlined above were about 45 % globally implemented at the end of 2004. Continuity and sustained funding for many components remains a challenge, as does achieving and maintaining the recommended global coverage. In recognition of the importance of potential changes to the ocean carbon cycle and marine ecosystems, the OOPC is also advocating a number of important research and implementation actions dealing with the establishment of an observing network for the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and the measurement of the state and change of carbon sources and sinks in the oceans. The OOPC has promoted various paths towards implementation. JCOMM is a primary pathway for implementation of the in situ elements of the ocean observing system, predominantly in cases where the methods are well-known and proven. Informal mechanisms include partnerships with research programmes such as the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) and the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) programmes of the WCRP and the Partnership for Observations of the Global Ocean (POGO), a consortium of oceanographic institutions with an interest in supporting the ocean observing system. The OOPC has also promoted focused pilot projects such as Argo and the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE), which are making important contributions to the observing network and ocean analysis. Wherever possible, OOPC has taken advantage of synergies with other components of GCOS, with GCOS's engagement with the UNFCCC, and with the GEOSS process, to encourage participation and investment in the observing system. Finally, continuing support for climate and ocean research and technology programmes are needed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of observing efforts, and to develop capabilities for important ocean variables that cannot currently be observed globally. This need for enhanced capability is particularly acute for remote and extreme environmental locations, for improved understanding of the ocean ecosystems, for improving the estimates of uncertainty of climate and ocean products, and for research in understanding the mechanisms of climate change. Key Actions The OOPC has identified a number of key actions necessary in the next five to ten years to build the ocean observing networks and associated systems. Here those with relevance to JCOMM are summarized. The first is the full implementation (with global coverage at the recommended density) of the recommended ocean surface and subsurface observing networks. Many of these are organized under JCOMM, and others, such as Argo, will benefit from links with the JCOMM Observations Coordination Group (OCG) and will help OCG in maintaining global coverage. Sea ice, which plays a key role in climate feedbacks, is a complex variable needing continued research into improved in situ and satellite measurements and analyses, and better linkages between the research community and operational groups such as JCOMM's Expert Team on Sea Ice. For climate monitoring and research, the observing activities should adhere to the GCOS Climate Monitoring Principles5, which provide basic guidance for 5 available at http://gosic.org/GCOS/GCOS_climate_monitoring_principles.htm 5 the planning, operation, and management of observing networks to ensure high quality climate data. In order to succeed in the full implementation of the ocean observing system, JCOMM and other sponsors of the observing system need to designate and support national Agents for Implementation for the ocean observation system, and establish effective partnerships between ocean research and operational communities for implementation. Coordination of planning of national efforts to accomplish full implementation could be improved. To realize all of the objectives of the ocean observing network, the players involved will also need to engage in timely, free, and unrestricted data exchange, and adopt comprehensive data management procedures. The real-time exchange and archiving of high-frequency JCOMM GLOSS data, as well as the recovery and exchange of historical sea-level records, are specific short-term goals. In the longer term, the IODE and JCOMM, in cooperation with the WMO Future Information Systems Initiative, should develop an ocean data transport system for the free and open exchange of data between data centres and data users. As climate records are of most value when they can be rationally reprocessed and reanalyzed, international standards for metadata for the essential ocean climate variables need to be established and adopted in the creation and archiving of climate data records. Improved metadata collection and measurements systems are of particular importance to the JCOMM VOSClim program, but apply to all JCOMM networks, and JCOMM should cooperate with IODE in the establishment and implementation of these standards. The ability to effectively communicate data from remote observing platforms is critical to many of the objectives of the ocean observing system, and JCOMM should encourage and assist in the coordination of the development and implementation of enhanced and more cost-effective communication technologies, including two-way communications. Finally, to meet the climate monitoring and research objectives of the ocean observing system, an internationally-coordinated approach to the development of integrated global climate products needs to be adopted. As far as possible these products should incorporate past data covering at least the last 30 years in order to serve as a reference for climate variability and change studies. A number of ocean analysis and reanalysis efforts participate in GODAE, and JCOMM, in collaboration with CLIVAR and other research activities, should develop plans for and coordinate the construction of climate-quality historical datasets for use in these efforts. JCOMM will also be an important partner in the assembly of an ocean surface current analysis. OOPC and JCOMM The OOPC attaches great importance to JCOMM, and is dedicated to providing advice and assistance as appropriate to ensure its successful operation. In many areas JCOMM provides an appropriate and effective mechanism for implementation of ocean observations. The OOPC looks forward to continuing productive partnerships with JCOMM, in particular with the OCG and its implementation panels, but also with the Data, Services, and CapacityBuilding areas.