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

PLENARY PAPERdoi:10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.17

Status and Outlook for the Space Component of an Integrated Ocean Observing System

Mark Drinkwater(1), Hans Bonekamp(2), Paula Bontempi(3), Bertrand Chapron(4), Craig Donlon(1), Jean-Louis Fellous (5), Paul DiGiacomo(6), Ed Harrison(7), Pierre-Yves LeTraon(8), Stan Wilson(9)

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The space component of the global ocean observing system developed and matured remarkably over the last decade. Solid progress was made towards a more coherent and internationally-coordinated satellite infrastructure through effective scientific and political advocacy and international coordination. This has allowed the design and development of a number of mature operational systems delivering systematic and robust long-term measurements, coupled with a suite of complementary scientific satellite elements that feed innovative new measurement capabilities into the observing system infrastructure. Together with the in-situ system elements, these form a solid foundation for an integrated global observing system of systems of the future - to serve both research and operational interests. In spite of the relative success over the last decade, significant challenges remain for the next decade. The burgeoning expense of sustaining critical global satellite measurement data-streams dictates that tools and methods must be developed to remove redundancies, to further optimise the satellite infrastructure, and to better link complementary observing system elements. Efforts to engage involve and integrate satellite data streams of new participating space agencies, and furthering the ideal of free and open data exchange will be rewarded by product synergies and vital added-value. Meanwhile, all such efforts must be underpinned by widespread promotion and adoption of standards-based best-practices, including rigorous data calibration and product validation, proven methods of quality control, and flagging of data quality and quantitative estimates of measurement uncertainties. The latter is of absolute importance to maximise the use of data products in model data assimilation schemes, to improve ocean state estimates and forecasting capabilities. As with numerical weather prediction, improved 3-D state estimation is a foundation for development of sustainable services and initialisation of seasonal to interannual, and climate and Earth system forecasting models.

1European Space Agency, ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, NL-2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2EUMETSAT, Eumetsat-Allee 1, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
3NASA HQ, MS 3B74, 300 E St. SW, Washington, DC 20546, U.S.A.
4IFREMER, Centre de Recherche et d'Exploitation Satellitaire, Pointe du Diable, 29280 Plouzané, France
5COSPAR c/o CNES, 2 Place Maurice-Quentin, 75039 Paris Cedex 01, France
6NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, U.S.A
7NOAA/PMEL, 7600 Sand Point Way, Seattle WA 98115, USA
8IFREMER, Centre de Brest, B.P. 70, 29280 29280, Plouzané France
9NOAA/NESDIS, 1335 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: mark.drinkwater@esa.int

This paper shall be cited as:

Drinkwater, M. & Co-Authors (2010). "Status and Outlook for the Space Component of an Integrated Ocean Observing 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.17

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