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On the reprocessing and reanalysis of observations for climate

Bosilovich, M. G., Kennedy, J., Dee, D., Allan, R. and O'Neill, A. (2013) On the reprocessing and reanalysis of observations for climate. In: Asrar, G. R. and Hurrell, J. W. (eds.) Climate Science for Serving Society. Springer, Dordrecht ; New York, pp. 51-71. ISBN 9789400766914

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6692-1_3


The long observational record is critical to our understanding of the Earth’s climate, but most observing systems were not developed with a climate objective in mind. As a result, tremendous efforts have gone into assessing and reprocessing the data records to improve their usefulness in climate studies. The purpose of this paper is to both review recent progress in reprocessing and reanalyzing observations, and summarize the challenges that must be overcome in order to improve our understanding of climate and variability. Reprocessing improves data quality through more scrutiny and improved retrieval techniques for individual observing systems, while reanalysis merges many disparate observations with models through data assimilation, yet both aim to provide a climatology of Earth processes. Many challenges remain, such as tracking the improvement of processing algorithms and limited spatial coverage. Reanalyses have fostered significant research, yet reliable global trends in many physical fields are not yet attainable, despite significant advances in data assimilation and numerical modeling. Oceanic reanalyses have made significant advances in recent years, but will only be discussed here in terms of progress toward integrated Earth system analyses. Climate data sets are generally adequate for process studies and large-scale climate variability. Communication of the strengths, limitations and uncertainties of reprocessed observations and reanalysis data, not only among the community of developers, but also with the extended research community, including the new generations of researchers and the decision makers is crucial for further advancement of the observational data records. It must be emphasized that careful investigation of the data and processing methods are required to use the observations appropriately.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:34715
Uncontrolled Keywords:Essential climate variables; Climate data records; Data rescue; Data provenance; Reanalysis; Uncertainty; Bias correction

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