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The concept of Essential Climate Variables in support of climate research, applications, and policy


Bojinski, Stephan; Verstraete, Michel; Peterson, Thomas C; Richter, Carolin; Simmons, Adrian; Zemp, Michael (2014). The concept of Essential Climate Variables in support of climate research, applications, and policy. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(9):1431-1443.

Abstract

We describe provenance, identification, purpose, uptake and possible evolution of the Essential Climate Variables, a concept to support the data record for understanding climate, as well as mitigating, adapting to or attributing its changes.
Climate research, monitoring, prediction and related services rely on accurate observations of the atmosphere, land and ocean, adequately sampled globally and over sufficiently long time periods. The Global Climate Observing System, set up under the auspices of United Nations organizations and the International Council for Science to help ensure the availability of systematic observations of climate, developed the concept of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). ECV data records are intended to provide reliable, traceable, observation-based evidence for a range of applications, including monitoring, mitigating, adapting to and attributing climate changes, as well as the empirical basis required to understand past, current and possible future climate variability. The ECV concept has been broadly adopted worldwide as the guiding basis for observing climate, including by the UNFCCC, WMO, and space agencies operating Earth Observation satellites.
This paper describes the rationale for these ECVs and their current selection, based on the principles of feasibility, relevance and cost-effectiveness. It also provides a view of how the ECV concept could evolve as a guide for rational and evidence based monitoring of climate and environment. Selected examples are discussed to highlight the benefits, limitations and future evolution of this approach.
The article is intended to assist programme managers to set priorities for climate observation, dataset generation and related research, for instance within the emerging Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It also helps the observation community and individual researchers to contribute to systematic climate observation, by promoting understanding of ECV choices and the opportunities to influence their evolution.

Abstract

We describe provenance, identification, purpose, uptake and possible evolution of the Essential Climate Variables, a concept to support the data record for understanding climate, as well as mitigating, adapting to or attributing its changes.
Climate research, monitoring, prediction and related services rely on accurate observations of the atmosphere, land and ocean, adequately sampled globally and over sufficiently long time periods. The Global Climate Observing System, set up under the auspices of United Nations organizations and the International Council for Science to help ensure the availability of systematic observations of climate, developed the concept of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). ECV data records are intended to provide reliable, traceable, observation-based evidence for a range of applications, including monitoring, mitigating, adapting to and attributing climate changes, as well as the empirical basis required to understand past, current and possible future climate variability. The ECV concept has been broadly adopted worldwide as the guiding basis for observing climate, including by the UNFCCC, WMO, and space agencies operating Earth Observation satellites.
This paper describes the rationale for these ECVs and their current selection, based on the principles of feasibility, relevance and cost-effectiveness. It also provides a view of how the ECV concept could evolve as a guide for rational and evidence based monitoring of climate and environment. Selected examples are discussed to highlight the benefits, limitations and future evolution of this approach.
The article is intended to assist programme managers to set priorities for climate observation, dataset generation and related research, for instance within the emerging Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It also helps the observation community and individual researchers to contribute to systematic climate observation, by promoting understanding of ECV choices and the opportunities to influence their evolution.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Oct 2014 14:18
Last Modified:23 Sep 2017 01:12
Publisher:American Meteorological Society
ISSN:0003-0007
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00047.1

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