I attended a NASA Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change(IPCC) Data System Workshop in Greenbelt Maryland, November 9 - 10. The IPCC is an international committee overseeing the assessment of global climate change.
The purpose of this workshop is to discuss technical plan to prepare, incorporate and share IPCC-relevant NASA satellite observational datasets to support the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). CMIP is a standard protocol and framework for evaluating climate model simulation (hindcast) and predictions/simulation of future climate change. CMIP5 is the 5th evaluation and being organized and lead by the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) mission at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. All of this activity will help contribute to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (APCC AR5) and beyond. In prior assessments, NASA observational datasets were not used (or very little). NASA HQ has recognized the richness and important of NASA datasets and encouraged the satellite project teams to get involve and collaborate with the PCMDI on CMIP5.
An interesting overview talk on Earth System Grid (ESG) was presented. ESG is a distributed computational environment of grid services to support next generation climate modeling research. More technical details of ESG can be found in this paper by Bernoldt et al (2005). Technical talks from JPL,GSFC, NCAR, NOAA, and ORNL discussed progress from each group to support CMIP5. While most group are 1 or more year into the effort, we (at LaRC) are newbie. Our group presented an overview of relevant CERES datasets and new tool for ordering and retrieving CERES data. The biggest hurdle and question is how do we make satellite observations look like model output. This is critical for intercomparison. Lots of talk on CF NetCDF compliant formats, technical notes and metadata for each dataset, and selection of relevant observation dataset to include into CMIP5. A couple groups have gateways into the ESG while most have data nodes. With tight deadline in April 1, 2011, we agree to let ORNL host our CERES dataset on their ESG data node. We agree to set up a data node at Langley in the near future.