The United States National Report on Systematic Observations for Climate for 2008: National Activities with Respect to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan
Description: Long-term, high-accuracy, stable environmental observations are essential to define the state of the global integrated Earth system, its history and its future variability and change. Observations for climate include: (1) operational weather observations, when appropriate care has been exercised to establish high accuracy; (2) limited-duration observations collected as part of research investigations to elucidate chemical, dynamical, biological, or radiative processes that contribute to maintaining climate patterns or to their variability; (3) high accuracy, high precision observations to document decadal-to-centennial changes; and (4) observations of climate proxies, collected to extend the instrumental climate record to remote regions and back in time to provide information on climate change at millennial and longer time scales. This report was requested by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to serve as input to see how progress has been made with respect to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan developed in 2004 In accordance with the UNFCCC guidelines, the sections of the report delineate specific U.S. climate monitoring activities in several distinct yet integrated areas as follows: (1) common issues; (2) non-satellite atmospheric observations; (3) non-satellite oceanic observations; (4) non-satellite terrestrial observations; (5) satellite global atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial observations; and (6) data and information management related to systematic observations. The various federal agencies involved in observing the environment provide the required long-term observations. Space-based systems provide unique global measurements of solar output, the Earth's radiation budget; vegetation type and primary production; land surface conditions; ocean and terrestrial biomass primary productivity; tropospheric and stratospheric ozone; tropospheric and stratospheric water vapor; tropospheric aerosols; greenhouse gas distributions; sea level; ocean surface conditions and winds; weather; and tropical precipitation, among others.
Date: September 2008
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program's (CCSP) Observations Working Group
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