A New Structure for the Sea Ice Essential Climate Variables of the Global Climate Observing System


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Lavergne T., Kern S., Aaboe S., Derby L., Dybkjaer G., Garric G., ...More

BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, vol.103, no.6, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 103 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1175/bams-d-21-0227.1
  • Journal Name: BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Applied Science & Technology Source, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index
  • Keywords: Sea ice, Climate change, Climatology, Climate records, ESTIMATING SNOW DEPTH, ARCTIC SUMMER ICE, SOUTHERN-OCEAN, AGE DISTRIBUTION, MOTION TRACKING, SPECTRAL ALBEDO, DATA RECORD, THICKNESS, TEMPERATURE, SAR
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Climate observations inform about the past and present state of the climate system. They underpin climate science, feed into policies for adaptation and mitigation, and increase awareness of the impacts of climate change. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), a body of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), assesses the maturity of the required observing system and gives guidance for its development. The Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) are central to GCOS, and the global community must monitor them with the highest standards in the form of Climate Data Records (CDR). Today, a single ECV-the sea ice ECV-encapsulates all aspects of the sea ice environment. In the early 1990s it was a single variable (sea ice concentration) but is today an umbrella for four variables (adding thickness, edge/extent, and drift). In this contribution, we argue that GCOS should from now on consider a set of seven ECVs (sea ice concentration, thickness, snow depth, surface temperature, surface albedo, age, and drift). These seven ECVs are critical and cost effective to monitor with existing satellite Earth observation capability. We advise against placing these new variables under the umbrella of the single sea ice ECV. To start a set of distinct ECVs is indeed critical to avoid adding to the suboptimal situation we experience today and to reconcile the sea ice variables with the practice in other ECV domains.