NCEO Climate

Lead Research Organisation: National Centre for Earth Observation

Abstract

The NCEO Climate Programme aims to exploit EO to improve our national capability for climate prediction over timescales from months to decades. We are using Earth Observation (EO) data to improve our understanding and prediction of climate change. T do this, we are involved in the creation of good quality data for monitoring and diagnosis, and work closely with other NCEO theme practitioners to integrate EO with other global atmospheric, oceanic and climatic data sets. Our research priorities are: a) to compare what we know of the radiation budget, water vapour and clouds in climate prediction models with observations we can get from satellite instruments like the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (GERB) and Cloudsat. Understanding the hydrological cycle, and how these feedbacks work is a major challenge; b) to use new space measurements of the oceans with measurements from ships and buoys and reanalyse ocean climate data to look at variability over tens of years and identify climate change fingerprints; c) to use measurements from Cryosat2 of sea-ice thickness to evaluate climate prediction models of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system in the Arctic.

Publications

10 25 50

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Allan R (2010) Current changes in tropical precipitation in Environmental Research Letters

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Allan R (2010) Anticipated changes in the global atmospheric water cycle in Environmental Research Letters

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Allan R (2011) Examination of long-wave radiative bias in general circulation models over North Africa during May-July in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

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Allan RP (2008) Atmospheric warming and the amplification of precipitation extremes. in Science (New York, N.Y.)

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Allan RP (2014) Changes in global net radiative imbalance 1985-2012. in Geophysical research letters

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Ashwin P (2012) Tipping points in open systems: bifurcation, noise-induced and rate-dependent examples in the climate system. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Bain C (2011) Anatomy of an observed African easterly wave in July 2006 in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

 
Description 1. By combining climate models and observations, we have discovered that the year-to-year variation in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tells us how sensitive tropical forests are to climate change. Fortunately they are not as vulnerable to climate change as had been feared. (Peter Cox, University of Exeter).



2. Ocean reanalyses enable the past state of the ocean to be determined based on available Earth observations. Results show that current generation of ocean reanalyses can reproduce ocean transport well

so they should provide good dynamical interpolations of the available data. Papers comparing ocean transports throughout several ocean basins have been published. (Keith Haines, University of Reading).



3. Comparisons of heat transports at 26N in the Atlantic identified discrepancies between the ocean reanalyses and the results published from the RAPID monitoring array data. This has led to reassessment of the transports being published from the RAPID array which are now undergoing revision. (Keith Haines, University of Reading).



4. Further work comparing the freshwater transports in the ocean reanalyses is underway. The freshwater transports and their variability are key drivers of the ocean circulation in the Atlantic and also a good indicator of changes going on in the Arctic where variations in freshwater storage and ice melting are of great importance. (Keith Haines, University of Reading).



5. A manuscript is submitted showing that errors published for the European Space Agency GOCE satellite geoid datasets are consistent with satellite altimeter based mean sea levels and with independent surface ocean circulation estimates. (Rory Bingham, University of Newcastle).



6. Northward ocean heat transport into the North Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG) plays a key role in driving multiannual to decadal variability of SPG heat content. Modelling studies of the 1990's SPG rapid warming event show that both the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and gyre components of northwards heat transport are important and that they tend to vary with opposite sign. I have investigated northward OHT and the corresponding salt transports into the North Atlantic SPG in several CMIP5 models, finding that the tendency for MOC and gyre components of transport to co-vary with opposite sign is model dependent. The balance is driven by the expansion of the SPG in those models which do show the balance. This result has implications for monitoring the MOC in the real ocean at latitudes at the southern boundary. (Nicola Howe, University of Reading).



7. Two papers have been published addressing the uncertainty of several of the most commonly used global EO wind products which form an essential input for air-sea flux calculations of heat, momentum and gases such as CO2. These publications highlight the need for improved accuracy of EO wind data and illustrate that the accuracy of 0.2 m/s in the long-term mean required for climate and air-sea interaction applications is not currently met. (Susanne Fangohr, University of Southampton).



8. We have developed an algorithm to retrieve the optical depth and some information on the vertical profile of extinction coefficient in stratocumulus by exploting the multiply scattered lidar returns from the Calipso satellite, incorporated it into a unified retrieval scheme for spaceborne radar and lidar, and evaluated it using co-located liquid water path estimates from the CloudSat radar. (Nicola Pounder, University of Reading)



9. Our research has focussed on how the West Antarctic ice sheet will contribute to sea level over the next century. In particular, we have developed a range of models of the most rapid changing sector of the ice sheet (Pine Island Glacier and the Amundsen Sea) that suggest the potential for widespread retreat of the ice sheet. (Tony Payne, University of Bristol).



10. Sea surface temperature data from ATSRs tailored for climate modelling community adopted and disseminated via portal of 'obs4MIPs' (Observations for climate Model Intercomparison Projects). http://obs4mips.llnl.gov:8080/wiki/ (Chris Merchant, University of Edinburgh).



11. The ADJULES parameter estimation system has yielded significant improvements in the representation of seasonality in the JULES model through the use of observed energy and carbon fluxes. (Peter Cox, Tim Jupp, Catherine Luke, University of Exeter).



12. Analysis of the feedback between soil moisture and rainfall published in Nature. Satellite-based observations showed that afternoon rain is more likely to occur over drier soils than nearby wetter areas. By contrast, the study showed that global climate models simulate more rain over wetter soils, a process which is likely to exaggerate the frequency and intensity of drought in predictions. (Chris Taylor, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology).



13. The method developed at Swansea University for retrieval of atmospheric aerosol and surface reflectance was selected from among eight European algorithms to provide a 17 year global dataset for climate, in an independent assessment under the ESA Climate Change Initiative. (Peter North, Sietse Los, University of Swansea)



14. My work focuses on the estimation of oceanic transports and budgets (e.g., volume, heat and salt) through global ocean data assimilation which provides the combination of model and observational data from global networks such as Argo and altimeter data from Jason-1, and the generation of integrated data products, such as for example, the oceanic meridional heat and freshwater transports in the Atlantic, which are not directly measurable but important elements of climate. (Maria Valdivieso, University of Reading)



2014:

1. Provided detailed criteria for spaced based mission to detect and attribute climate change. (Helen Brindley, Imperial College)



2. Creation of ESA operational level-2 LST product from AATSR and creation of ESA operational level-2 LST product from ATSR-2 and development of accompanying global land cloud masking scheme for day and night retrievals. (John Remedios and Darren Ghent, University of Leicester).



3. Membership of Along Track Scanning Radiometers Working Group. (John Remedios and Darren Ghent, University of Leicester).



4. We have shown how sea level at island coastlines is related to sea level in the nearby deep ocean. The connection between the two is broken over a band of frequencies which depends on latitude, and is related to the existence of a particular class of ocean wave (baroclinic Rossby waves). This has important implications for the use of tide gauges to verify satellite altimeter data, and for the use of deep ocean data for predicting the likelihood of extreme events (flooding) on small islands. (Chris W. Hughes, National Oceanography Centre Liverpool).



5. Improved modelling of lidar signals allows estimation of liquid cloud optical thickness to much greater optical depths than previously considered possible even for the CALIPSO lidar. This can be exploited further by designing future satelite lidar recievers to collect more of the lidar signal. (Nicola Pounder, Reading)



6. Increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations are responsible for at least 50 % of observed world-wide increase in vegetation greenness over 1982-1999. (Los, North, Leonenko, Hancock, Bevan et al, University of Swansea, 2014, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gbc.20027/abstract)



7. Soil moisture can influence where and when convective rain storms are triggered by controlling how rapidly the lower atmosphere warms and moistens in response to daytime solar heating. Our previous work showed that afternoon rain is more likely to occur when soils are relatively dry. Above dry soil the air warms and rises relative to nearby wetter soils, conditions which favour the development of cumulo-nimbus storm clouds. However the computer models upon which we rely to make global weather predictions and projections of climate change are unable to capture this effect, instead producing rain over wetter soils. Our paper, published in Geophysical Research Letters, demonstrates that this is because of the way that convective rain is described in global models. The models tend to produce rain where the air moistens rapidly during the morning, rather than developing in places where the air is rising. This means that current global models can lock themselves into a cycle of rapidly intensifying drought, where lack of rain dries the soil and suppresses rain in subsequent days, drying the soil further. (Christopher M. Taylor, Phillip Harris, CEH, 2014): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013GL058511/abstract



8. In using GOCE data to derive ocean mean dynamic topography we have demonstrated that it is not necessary to generate a smooth dynamic topography field by subjective smoothing. Instead we can supply the formal GOCE based mean dynamic topography (which contains smll scale noise associated with the spectral algorithm used for derivation) along with the error covariance into the Met office data assimilation scheme and allow the assimilation algorithm to identify a consistent smooth dynamic topography signal consistent with the dynamics. This is a significant advance in use of the GOCE data for operation al oceanography.

In ocean reanalysis we have shown that eddy transports of heat and freshwater and very important across some ocean sections and that the assimilation of altimeter data considerably increases the eddy transports in these reanalysis products. There is no easy way of validating these enhanced eddy transports but they can considerably influence the mean transports and may therefore be important for climate. (Keith Haines, University of Reading, 2014).

9. Based upon a series of Geostationary satellites we have developed a 30-year fine resolution rain fall data set for Africa. The methodology and results demonstrate wide-spread increases in rainfall from the 1980's to the present and have been published (Richard Allan- University of Reading)
Exploitation Route 2014 (1) Findings in several cases are relevant to Met Office interpretation of model derived climate change information.

Instrument development (H Brindley)



2014 (2) Urban planning, crop management, water resources management, climate change adaptation, geological applications

2014 (4) Improved use of ocean measurements in production of flood warnings for islands




Published journals

Space Agency support; Assessment of financial impact of improved climate change measurements (overall project) (H Brindley)

Present findings to European Space Agency and otherindividuals involved in satellite design to influence future development (N Pounder)
Sectors Environment,Transport

 
Description The GOCE data assimilation method is being directly used in the iperational Met Office forecasting system and is therefore improving both ocean and seasonal forecasts.
Sector Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Chair of NERC Space Geodesy Facilities Steering Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
 
Description Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
 
Description Evaluation of soil moisture control on surface fluxes in earth system models (e-stress)
Amount £227,544 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K015990/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2016
 
Description MELODIES
Amount £4,300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 603525 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2016
 
Description MELODIES
Amount £4,300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 603525 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description SEN4LST
Amount £21,538 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2011 
End 03/2013
 
Description SEN4LST
Amount £21,538 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2011 
End 03/2013
 
Description SWELTER-21
Amount £177,624 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2010 
End 10/2013
 
Description SWELTER-21
Amount £177,624 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Sentinel Convoy Land
Amount £72,197 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2011 
End 03/2013
 
Description Sentinel Convoy Land
Amount £72,197 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2011 
End 03/2013
 
Description Sentinel-3 ATBD extension
Amount £16,389 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start  
 
Description Sentinel-3 ATBD extension
Amount £16,389 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description TRUTHS mission
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID CEOI 
Organisation UK Space Agency 
Department Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description TRUTHS mission
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID CEOI 
Organisation UK Space Agency 
Department Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 09/2013
 
Description Videowall for scientific data visualization and exploration
Amount £217,602 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/L013126/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 03/2014
 
Title Global Ocean Physics Reanalysis 
Description Part of the VALue of the RAPID-WATCH Climate Change programme array (VALOR) project. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It provides vital data on changes in the ocean which affect climate change. 
 
Title Numerical data from the Global Ocean Physics Reanalysis UR025.4 (1989-2010) as part of the VALue of the RAPID-WATCH Climate Change programme array (VALOR) project 
Description The UR025.4 dataset is generated from a numerical system run on the joint Met Office NERC Monsoon computer system. The model itself is NEMO in a ORCA025_LIM2 config (1/4deg by 75 levels) forced by the ECMWF ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalysis. It assimilates sea ice concentrations from the EUMETSAT OSI-SAF product, in situ and satellite SSTs, AVISO SLA, and temperature and salinity profile observations from the EN3_v2a data set with bias correction for XBT data and corrections to the Mean Dynamic Topography. The data generation also uses the FOAM operational assimilation system from the Met Office. The dataset consists of monthly mean files for a period covering 22 years, from 1989 to 2010. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It provides useful information to the public on sea ice concentrations, and sea ice loss. 
 
Description CELSIAS 
Organisation Celsias
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Team to validate operational data (Copernicus) from new Satellite Sentinel-3
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaborations with BMT 
Organisation BMT Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaborations with BMT (BMT is a leading international design, engineering, science and risk management consultancy) on the use of ocean reanalyses for ship performance monitoring and ship routing is being tested in a European Space Agency supported project.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Coupled Model Initialisation and Reanalysis 
Organisation European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting ECMWF
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration between University of Reading, the UK Met Office, and ECMWF.
Start Year 2013
 
Description EarthTemp Network - Arctic theme 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department EarthTemp Network
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Compilation of Arctic in situ land measurements and satellite matchups
Start Year 2012
 
Description GOCE Data Assimilation and exploitation 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with the Met Office and Universities of Bristol and Reading
Start Year 2013
 
Description NASA 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution RT modelling tools
Start Year 2013
 
Description NASA CLARREO 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Science Definition Team membership (development of overall mission goals)
Start Year 2010
 
Description NCEO 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 0.5 degree vegetation height
Start Year 2012
 
Description NCEO 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Department Goddard Space Flight Center
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Canopy lIDAR radiative transfer model (FLIGHT)
Start Year 2009
 
Description University of Michigan 
Organisation University of Michigan
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution ERA-I satellite simulations
Start Year 2014
 
Description University of Wisconsin 
Organisation University of Wisconsin-Madison
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data Analysis
Start Year 2014
 
Description An introduction to the GOCE error variance covariance products: A user's perspective 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Dr Rory Bingham gave an oral presentation on "An introduction to the GOCE error variance covariance products: A user's perspective" at the First international Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite solid earth workshop at University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands, on 16 October 2012.

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Climate tipping points in Amazonia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Peter Cox spent 10 days in Amazonia making a TV programme on climate tipping points.

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Dynamic ocean topography at the coast: Using satellite geodesy to resolve the conflict between ocean models and tide gauges 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited talk at AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco December 2013

Increased the international science community's knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Famelab UK at Science Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe competed in the regional London finals of a competition at the Famelab UK, Science Museum London, to explain a scientific concept in three minutes to a lay audience.

Dr Nicola Howe was invited to give science talks to school and college students and to take part in STEM activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Harwell Teacher Development Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe gave a presentation on remote sensing in oceanography to secondary school teachers and worked on ideas they could develop for themselves and other teachers to use as teaching resources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Islington Schools Space Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe was a STEM ambassador at Islington Schools' space festival and talked to about 100 year 8 students about the history and present scope of Earth Observation and the NCEO.

Dr Howe was asked to repeat the talk to other schools.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Royal Geographical Society, Hong Kong 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Professor Peter Cox gave a seminar on climate change to the Royal Geographical Society, Hong Kong, January 2013.

Increased the knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description School Careers Day at International Space Innovation Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe took part in a careers day at the International Space and Innovation Centre at Harwell, and talked to sixth form students about Earth Observation and career paths.

Students were more informed about career options in science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Talk to Sixth Form Students about Earth Observation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe gave a talk to sixth form students about Earth Observation and career paths.

Dr Nicola Howe was invited to give talks to more school students as part of the STEM outreach programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Towards worldwide height unification using ocean information 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Talk at IAHS/IAPSO.IASPEI Scientific Assembly, Gothenburg, Sweden

Increased the international science community's knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Towards worldwide height unification using ocean information 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Oral presentation at IAHS/IAPSO/IASPEI Scientific Assembly, gothenburg, Sweden

Increased the international science community's knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Professor Peter Cox gave a seminar on climate change to the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, January 2013.

Increased the knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Use of remote sensing in oceanography and the maritime environment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Nicola Howe gave a seminar to Defra and UK space agency staff about remote sensing.

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013