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Selecting algorithms for Earth observation of climate within the European Space Agency Climate Change initiative: introduction to a special issue

Merchant, C. J., de Leeuw, G. and Wagner, W. (2015) Selecting algorithms for Earth observation of climate within the European Space Agency Climate Change initiative: introduction to a special issue. Remote Sensing of Environment, 162. pp. 239-241. ISSN 0034-4257

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2015.02.017

Abstract/Summary

This special issue is focused on the assessment of algorithms for the observation of Earth’s climate from environ- mental satellites. Climate data records derived by remote sensing are increasingly a key source of insight into the workings of and changes in Earth’s climate system. Producers of data sets must devote considerable effort and expertise to maximise the true climate signals in their products and minimise effects of data processing choices and changing sensors. A key choice is the selection of algorithm(s) for classification and/or retrieval of the climate variable. Within the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative, science teams undertook systematic assessment of algorithms for a range of essential climate variables. The papers in the special issue report some of these exercises (for ocean colour, aerosol, ozone, greenhouse gases, clouds, soil moisture, sea surface temper- ature and glaciers). The contributions show that assessment exercises must be designed with care, considering issues such as the relative importance of different aspects of data quality (accuracy, precision, stability, sensitivity, coverage, etc.), the availability and degree of independence of validation data and the limitations of validation in characterising some important aspects of data (such as long-term stability or spatial coherence). As well as re- quiring a significant investment of expertise and effort, systematic comparisons are found to be highly valuable. They reveal the relative strengths and weaknesses of different algorithmic approaches under different observa- tional contexts, and help ensure that scientific conclusions drawn from climate data records are not influenced by observational artifacts, but are robust.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:53334
Publisher:Elsevier

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