eCite Digital Repository

Ocean climate observing requirements in support of climate research and climate information


Stammer, D and Bracco, A and AchutaRao, K and Beal, L and Bindoff, NL and Braconnot, P and Cai, W and Chen, D and Collins, M and Danabasoglu, G and Dewitte, B and Farneti, R and Fox-Kemper, B and Fyfe, J and Griffies, SM and Jayne, SR and Lazar, A and Lengaigne, M and Lin, X and Marsland, S and Minobe, S and Monteiro, PMS and Robinson, W and Roxy, MK and Rykaczewski, RR and Speich, S and Smith, IJ and Solomon, A and Storto, A and Takahashi, K and Toniazzo, T and Vialard, J, Ocean climate observing requirements in support of climate research and climate information, Frontiers in Marine Science, 6 Article 444. ISSN 2296-7745 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Stammer, Bracco, AchutaRao, Beal, Bindoff, Braconnot, Cai, Chen, Collins, Danabasoglu, Dewitte, Farneti, Fox-Kemper, Fyfe, Griffies, Jayne, Lazar, Lengaigne, Lin, Marsland, Minobe, Monteiro, Robinson, Roxy, Rykaczewski, Speich, Smith, Solomon, Storto, Takahashi, Toniazzo and Vialard. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00444


Natural variability and change of the Earth’s climate have significant global societal impacts. With its large heat and carbon capacity and relatively slow dynamics, the ocean plays an integral role in climate, and provides an important source of predictability at seasonal and longer timescales. In addition, the ocean provides the slowly evolving lower boundary to the atmosphere, driving, and modifying atmospheric weather. Understanding and monitoring ocean climate variability and change, to constrain and initialize models as well as identify model biases for improved climate hindcasting and prediction, requires a scale-sensitive, and long-term observing system. A climate observing system has requirements that significantly differ from, and sometimes are orthogonal to, those of other applications. In general terms, they can be summarized by the simultaneous need for both large spatial and long temporal coverage, and by the accuracy and stability required for detecting the local climate signals. This paper reviews the requirements of a climate observing system in terms of space and time scales, and revisits the question of which parameters such a system should encompass to meet future strategic goals of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), with emphasis on ocean and sea-ice covered areas. It considers global as well as regional aspects that should be accounted for in designing observing systems in individual basins. Furthermore, the paper discusses which data-driven products are required to meet WCRP research and modeling needs, and ways to obtain them through data synthesis and assimilation approaches. Finally, it addresses the need for scientific capacity building and international collaboration in support of the collection of high-quality measurements over the large spatial scales and long time-scales required for climate research, bridging the scientific rational to the required resources for implementation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean observing system, ocean climate, earth observations, in situ measurements, satellite observations, ocean modeling, climate information
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, NL (Professor Nathan Bindoff)
ID Code:135083
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2019-09-27
Last Modified:2020-07-17
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page