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Strategy Towards an Architecture for Climate Monitoring from Space

In January, 2011, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space Programme hosted “Continuity and Architecture Requirements for Climate Monitoring – First Workshop on a Space-based Architecture for Climate”, a workshop attended by both policy-level and technical experts that proposed representatives from CEOS, the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), and WMO develop a strategy document for an architecture for climate monitoring from space.

This strategy report focuses on satellite observations for climate monitoring from space and the need for an international architecture that ensures delivery of these observations over the time frames required for analysis of the Earth’s climate system. The report outlines a strategy for such an architecture – a strategy that is intentionally high-level, conceptual, and inclusive so that broad consensus can be reached and all relevant entities can identify their potential contributions.

The strategy, however, is not sufficient, in and of itself, and therefore first presents a logical architecture that represents an initial step in the development of a physical architecture – an end-to-end system – capable of delivering the necessary observations for climate monitoring from space. The immediate next step is to document current capabilities through a systematic and granular assessment of the production of the Thematic Climate Data Records at the level of individual agencies – producing an inventory of Essential Climate Variables (ECV).

Download: Strategy Report: An Architecture for Climate Monitoring from Space (2013)

The ECV Inventory

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) has defined a set of geophysical variables – “Essential Climate Variables” (ECV) – that are associated with climate variation and change as well as the impact of climate change on Earth. CEOS, the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have put together an inventory of the space agency datasets that make up the structure of the climate monitoring architecture for space-based observations. ECV Inventroy

This inventory will inform specific analyses of and decisions about climate observations across all CEOS and CGMS Agencies, to include: - Maintaining awareness of the current and planned monitoring capability on an ECV basis across all Agencies - Defining an optimum “macro-scale” space system configuration and its components - Identifying gaps and shortfalls at the ECV/product level - Coordinating action plans to address identified gaps - Triggering of medium-term activities needed to sustain the long-term implementation of the architecture

Other possible applications of the ECV Inventory include more thorough investigations of inter-calibration options/opportunities, spatial coverage as an extension of ECV gap analyses, and potential opportunities for smaller space agencies to contribute to Thematic Climate Data Record creation, validation, and assessment.