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The GEWEX Water Vapor Assessment: Overview and Introduction to Results and Recommendations

1
Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), 63067 Offenbach, Germany
2
Now at: Meteorological Institute, University of Bonn, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3
National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Asheville, NC 28801, USA
4
European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
5
Earth & Environmental Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA
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Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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LATMOS/IPSL, UVSQ Université Paris-Saclay, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, 78280 Guyancourt, France
8
AEMET, 28071 Madrid, Spain
9
Informus GmbH, 13187 Berlin, Germany
10
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
11
Science and Technology Corporation, Inc. (STC), College Park, MD 20740, USA
12
COSMIC Program Office, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
13
Now at: Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NOAA, College Park, MD 20740, USA
14
Space Sciences and Engineering, Golden, CO 80401, USA
15
NOAA NESDIS Office of Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), College Park, MD 20740, USA
16
Earth Observation Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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National Centre for Earth Observation, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
18
Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(3), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11030251
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 26 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Essential Climate Variables and Their Applications)
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Abstract

To date, a large variety of water vapour data records from satellite and reanalysis are available. It is key to understand the quality and uncertainty of these data records in order to fully exploit these records and to avoid data being employed incorrectly or misinterpreted. Therefore, it is important to inform users on accuracy and limitations of these data records based on consistent inter-comparisons carried out in the framework of international assessments. Addressing this challenge is the major objective of the Global Water and Energy Exchanges (GEWEX) water vapor assessment (G-VAP) which was initiated by the GEWEX Data and Assessments Panel (GDAP). Here, an overview of G-VAP objectives and an introduction to the results from G-VAP’s first phase are given. After this overview, a summary of available data records on water vapour and closely related variables and a short introduction to the utilized methods are presented. The results from inter-comparisons, homogeneity testing and inter-comparison of trend estimates, achieved within G-VAP’s first phase are summarized. The conclusions on future research directions for the wider community and for G-VAP’s next phase are outlined and recommendations have been formulated. For instance, a key recommendation is the need for recalibration and improved inter-calibration of radiance data records and subsequent reprocessing in order to increase stability and to provide uncertainty estimates. This need became evident from a general disagreement in trend estimates (e.g., trends in TCWV ranging from −1.51 ± 0.17 kg/m2/decade to 1.22 ± 0.16 kg/m2/decade) and the presence of break points on global and regional scale. It will be a future activity of G-VAP to reassess the stability of updated or new data records and to assess consistency, i.e., the closeness of data records given their uncertainty estimates. View Full-Text
Keywords: total column water vapour; specific humidity; temperature; climate data record; stability; satellite observation; reanalysis total column water vapour; specific humidity; temperature; climate data record; stability; satellite observation; reanalysis
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Schröder, M.; Lockhoff, M.; Shi, L.; August, T.; Bennartz, R.; Brogniez, H.; Calbet, X.; Fell, F.; Forsythe, J.; Gambacorta, A.; Ho, S.-P.; Kursinski, E.R.; Reale, A.; Trent, T.; Yang, Q. The GEWEX Water Vapor Assessment: Overview and Introduction to Results and Recommendations. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 251.

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