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Open AccessArticle

Ten Priority Science Gaps in Assessing Climate Data Record Quality

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Earth Observation, Climate and Optical Group, National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington TW11 0LW, UK
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Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, PO Box 243, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6BB, UK
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Copernicus Climate Change Service, ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, Berkshire RG2 9AX, UK
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Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Grant Institute Kings Buildings, W Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, UK
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Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 42-46, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
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Telespazio France, 26 Avenue Jean François Champollion, 31100 Toulouse, France
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National Centre for Earth Observation, Reading RG6 6AL, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(8), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11080986
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment of Quality and Usability of Climate Data Records)
Decision makers need accessible robust evidence to introduce new policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. There is an increasing amount of environmental information available to policy makers concerning observations and trends relating to the climate. However, this data is hosted across a multitude of websites often with inconsistent metadata and sparse information relating to the quality, accuracy and validity of the data. Subsequently, the task of comparing datasets to decide which is the most appropriate for a certain purpose is very complex and often infeasible. In support of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) mission to provide authoritative information about the past, present and future climate in Europe and the rest of the world, each dataset to be provided through this service must undergo an evaluation of its climate relevance and scientific quality to help with data comparisons. This paper presents the framework for Evaluation and Quality Control (EQC) of climate data products derived from satellite and in situ observations to be catalogued within the C3S Climate Data Store (CDS). The EQC framework will be implemented by C3S as part of their operational quality assurance programme. It builds on past and present international investment in Quality Assurance for Earth Observation initiatives, extensive user requirements gathering exercises, as well as a broad evaluation of over 250 data products and a more in-depth evaluation of a selection of 24 individual data products derived from satellite and in situ observations across the land, ocean and atmosphere Essential Climate Variable (ECV) domains. A prototype Content Management System (CMS) to facilitate the process of collating, evaluating and presenting the quality aspects and status of each data product to data users is also described. The development of the EQC framework has highlighted cross-domain as well as ECV specific science knowledge gaps in relation to addressing the quality of climate data sets derived from satellite and in situ observations. We discuss 10 common priority science knowledge gaps that will require further research investment to ensure all quality aspects of climate data sets can be ascertained and provide users with the range of information necessary to confidently select relevant products for their specific application. View Full-Text
Keywords: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S); evaluation and quality control (EQC); climate data store (CDS); essential climate variable (ECV); climate data record (CDR); quality assurance (QA); satellite observations; in situ observations; traceability Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S); evaluation and quality control (EQC); climate data store (CDS); essential climate variable (ECV); climate data record (CDR); quality assurance (QA); satellite observations; in situ observations; traceability
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Nightingale, J.; Mittaz, J.P.; Douglas, S.; Dee, D.; Ryder, J.; Taylor, M.; Old, C.; Dieval, C.; Fouron, C.; Duveau, G.; Merchant, C. Ten Priority Science Gaps in Assessing Climate Data Record Quality. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 986.

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