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WDAC 2 report


Report of the second session of the WCRP Data Advisory Council (WDAC) 4-5 March 2013, Darmstadt, Germany.

Executive Summary

This report summarizes the discussions and outcomes of the second session of the WCRP Data Advisory Council. The meeting made progress on a number of core topics at the heart of WDAC’s mandate, namely ECV inventories, data archives, data set quality assessments, data assimilation and reanalysis. The WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel (WOAP) workshop on the Evaluation of Satellite Related Global Climate Datasets held in Frascati in April 2011 identified the need for a one stop-shop inventory of satellite and in-situ ECV to help the user community discover and access climate data. Two major initiatives led respectively by GOSIC under GCOS, and the WG Climate under CEOS are relevant in this context, the later being more specific to satellite data. Activities are underway to identify their commonalities and plan for a way to merge these efforts. The CEOS led initiative appears to be best resourced to host this future capability, pending approval by the respective governing bodies. Data inventories and archives raise the question of the required level of quality assessment/assurance of data sets being used by the scientific community for climate data assessment. Climate data set assessments are being conducted on a regular basis within the various WCRP core projects and activities, and sister programmes, but approaches, procedures and level of detail and quality vary a lot across these. The Council will compile existing best practices into a dedicated WDAC report as a reference by the community. Reanalyses have become a fundamental tool in climate research. The WCRP 4th International Conference on Reanalysis identified the need to better understand their respective uncertainties. Observations are key in anchoring climate models simulations to measurements so as to produce optimal estimates of the climate. WDAC recognized the need to assess the respective impact of input observations, (and henceforth the cost-benefit of observing systems), in the quality of reanalyses. Plans are now underway to organize a dedicated workshop on this issue around end 2014. WDAC also considers developing a more systematic approach of assessing and intercomparing reanalyses, under some Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (RIP), which could be greatly facilitated through the ESGF ana4MIPs capabilities. The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) is a major undertaking toward assembling climate model data into common format to support the WCRP Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), itself being a major contribution to the IPCC AR5 and other climate assessment activities. The obs4MIPs, a JPL/NASA-PCMDI/DOE initiated activity, aims at identifying observational data sets having a one-to-one equivalence to climate model parameters so as to facilitate the subsequent evaluation of climate simulations against observations using the same format compliance and same grid technology. A similar initiative called ana4MIPs concerns reanalyses contributing to the ESGF and may be expanded to other quantities such as surface fluxes in the future. The expectation is now growing within the community, owing to the obvious potential for these capabilities to support and de-multiply the scientific activities within the program and it was decided to internationalize the current ad-hoc obs4MIPs working group by establishing an appropriate task group under WDAC to oversee these activities and help reaching out to the various networks who could contribute data to the obs4MIPs and ana4MIPs efforts.

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