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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.42

Observational Requirements for Global-Scale Ocean Climate Analysis: Lessons from Ocean State Estimation

P. Heimbach(1), G. Forget(1), R.M. Ponte(2), C. Wunsch(1), M. Balmaseda(3), T. Awaji(4), J. Baehr(5), D. Behringer(6), J. Carton(7), N. Ferry(8), A. Fischer(9), I. Fukumori(10), B. Giese(11), K. Haines(12), Ed Harrison(13), F. Hernandez(8), M. Kamachi(14), C. Keppenne(15), A. Köhl(16), T. Lee(10), D. Menemenlis(17), P. Oke(18), E. Remy(8), M. Rienecker(15), A. Rosati(19), D. Smith(20), K. Speer(17), D. Stammer(5), A. Weaver(21)

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Over the last decade, a number of groups have begun producing decadal-time-scale, near-global, ocean state estimates (the OceanObs'09 Community White Papers (CWP) by Lee and 26 others [2009] and Stammer and 26 others [2009] provide an overview and preliminary evaluation, respectively). Their primary purpose is the understanding of the ocean climate and its variability. Such efforts put demanding requirements on the observing system. As a bridge between the modeling and observation communities, the ocean state estimation (OCEST) groups necessarily assess the skill and deficiencies in both data sets and models. Estimation tools developed by these groups can also be used for defining observational requirements for a climate monitoring and prediction system, although focus has been mainly on production of state estimates. This white paper takes as its major premises that: (A) the climate system is truly global and must be observed globally if it is to be understood; (B) the problem of observing the ocean in its climate role involves some very long time scales; (C) all elements of the oceanic state are dynamically connected, such that measuring any specific element may contain at least some information on a much larger part of the state, and which dynamically consistent interpolators may be able to explore efficiently both forward and backward in time; (D) the ocean is a noisy fluid, full of eddies and variability across many space and time scales; a significant fraction of oceanic energy resides in fast motions (less than a month) and small space scales (less than 100 km). These premises have immediate implications for observational systems design which underlie the remainder of the document.

1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 77 Massachusetts Avenue 02139 Cambridge USA
2Atmospheric and Environmental Researc (AER), 131 Hartwell Ave # 4, Lexington, MA 02421-3105, USA
3ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), Shinfield Park, Reading RG2 9AX UK
4Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
5Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences/Zentrum für Marine und Atmosphärische Wissenschaften (ZMAW), Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg
6National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NOAA/NCEP), 5200 Auth Road Camp Springs, Maryland 20746 USA
7University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
8Mercator Océan, 8-10 rue Hermès, 31520 RAMONVILLE ST AGNE, France
9Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), 1 Rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France
10National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA/JPL), 4800 Oak Grove Dr.Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
11Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
12Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, Harry Pitt Bld, 3 Earley Gate, Reading, RG6 6AL, UK
13National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory (NOAA/PMEL), 7600 Sand Point Way N.E. Seattle, WA 98115-6349, USA
14Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyodaku, Tokyo, 100-8122, Japan
15National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (NASA/GMAO), Code 610.1, Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA
16Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences/Zentrum für Marine und Atmosphärische Wissenschaften (ZMAW), Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg
17The Florida State University, 600 W. College Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2840 USA
18Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation/Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CSIRO/CAWCR), GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001
19National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL/NOAA), Forrestal Campus, 201 Forrestal Road, Princeton, NJ 08542, USA
20UK Met Office (UKMO), FitzRoy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
21Centre Européen de Recherche et de Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique (CERFACS), 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex 01, France

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: heimbach@mit.edu

This paper shall be cited as:

Heimbach, P. & Co-Authors (2010). "Observational Requirements for Global-Scale Ocean Climate Analysis: Lessons from Ocean State Estimation" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.42

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