Satellite Monitoring of the Ocean for Global Climate Research
The study of climate embraces a broad range of timescales, from weeks to millions of years. This paper concentrates on the narrow spectral band `several weeks to several decades' chosen for study in the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The programme is divided into three streams, concerned with climate variation on timescales of several weeks, several years and several decades, respectively. The aim is to discover how far it is possible to predict natural climate variation and man's influence on climate in each of these spectral bands. It is believed that an improved understanding of, and an ability to monitor and model, the World Ocean will be critical to the success of the WCRP in each stream. International experiments are now being planned to achieve these improvements. Satellite monitoring of the ocean offers a number of advantages for these experiments, including the following: global coverage, accuracy and consistency, novel products, tracking and communication. The paper reviews specifications for monitoring the ocean in the context of the WCRP and assesses the extent to which satellite monitoring will help towards meeting these requirements. The special needs of two major projects, the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere (TOGA), are described. The prospects seem good for a new generation of ocean-observing satellites suitable for climate research in the next decade. They will be crucial to the success of the World Climate Research Programme.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A
- Pub Date:
- July 1983