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

PLENARY PAPERdoi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.03

Role of the Ocean Observing System in an End-to-End Seasonal Forecasting System

Magalena A. Balmaseda(1), Yosuke Fujii(2), Oscar Alve(3), Tong Lee(4), Michele Rienecker(5), Tony Rosati(6), Detlef Stammer(7), Yan Xue(8), Howard Freeland(9), Michael J. McPhaden(10), Lisa Goddard(11), Caio Coelho(12)

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There is clear demand for reliable forecasts of climate at seasonal time scales for a variety of societal applications. This paper discusses the role of ocean observations in the different components of a seasonal forecasting system, namely the initialization of the ocean, coupled model development and calibration of model output, concluding that the maintenance and enhancement of the current observing system is of paramount importance for further progress in seasonal forecasting. It is shown that the assimilation of ocean observations improves the skill of seasonal forecasts. Results indicate that no observing system is redundant. Independent observations, not directly assimilated, are necessary for the improvement of assimilation methods and numerical models, thus increasing the information content of the observations. Forecast calibration requires long observational records to produce historical ocean initial conditions. These are equivalent to ocean re-analyses, which, continuously brought up to real-time, allow the monitoring of relevant climate variables. The current forecasting systems are not making optimal use of the existing observations, in particular in regions where model error is large and/or where the initialization is inadequate. This is particularly noticeable in the equatorial Atlantic. Improvements in numerical models and initialization strategies are needed to exploit the full potential of current and future observing systems.

1ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading RG2 9AX (UK)
2MRI, 1-1 Nagamine, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0052 (Japan)
3CAWCR, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
4NASA /JPL,4800 Oak Grove Dr.Pasadena, CA 91109,(USA)
5GMAO, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (USA)
6NOAA/GFDL 201 Forrestal Road, Princeton, NJ 08540-6649 (USA)
7KlimaCampus Universitšt Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg (Germany)
8NOAA/NCEP, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746 (USA)
9FOC, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC,V8L 4B2, Canada, (Canada)
10NOAA/PMEL 7600 Sand Point Way NE Seattle, Washington 98115 (USA)
11IRI, Lamont Campus, 228 Monell Bldg. 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964-8000
12CPTEC/INPE, Rod. Presidente Dutra, Km 40, SP-RJ, Cachoeira Paulista, SP (Brazil)

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: Magdalena.Balmaseda@ecmwf.int

This paper shall be cited as:

Balmaseda, M. & Co-Authors (2010). "Role of the Ocean Observing System in an End-to-End Seasonal Forecasting System" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.03

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