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The ICDC Scientific Concept

ICDC is intended to become a permanent element of the university part of the KlimaCampus. The long-term goal of ICDC is the provision of climate information in form of observations or re-analyses of components of the climate system. ICDC does not deal with output of climate models, which, instead, are archived in the Word Data Center for Climate WDCC's CERA data bank. Accordingly, the principal objectives of the ICDC are, to provide:

  • existing climate data sets including information about uncertainties
  • expert recommendation about available data sets and support in using them
  • provision of climate data sets and related data products for the analysis of climate variability and for initialization of climate models through assimilation
  • quality assessment of climate data sets and subsequent improvements of the existing data sets to be used in climate-relevant studies
  • information about climate and climate variability to cluster members and the public at large through the ICDC web page (e.g. climate indices)
  • information on reanalysis products and their error, in the atmosphere, the ocean and over land
  • climate indices that can be used as input information for the public, such as wet or dry indices

As such ICDC has three parallel and equally important tasks and components, which go far beyond and differ fundamentally from a traditional data bank:

  1. Scientific user support through scientific recommendation of data use and participation in data improvement efforts.
  2. Data provision of climate-quality data sets internally to members of the KlimaCampus as well as to the outside world. See The ICDC Technical Concept for further details
  3. Outreach through provision of climate information through the ICDC web page in form of climate indices and other information about climate, which is of public interest.

It is envisioned that these three tasks establish a high-quality climate data base for in situ and satellite data, either by archiving CLISAP-own data products, by collecting and merging climate data sets from other data centers and by making them available to the CliSAP members and the general public in an easy to access format, accompanied by meta and error information required to fully use the data sets, or by participating in international climate data reanalysis efforts (especially satellite data) organized currently under WCRP’s leadership. Some of these tasks will take longer than others to be established.

A special focus will be on the participation in, or spearheading of, internationally organized reprocessing of available hydrographic and satellite data to produce climate quality products for the ocean, land, and sea ice as well as of the atmosphere. Such data sets are urgently needed to make more use of the ever-increasing satellite database, either by increasing their quality (inter-calibration of missions, error estimation) or by expanding the parameter sets from available satellite data. An important aspect here is the provision of easy access to climate data sets through unified formats.

ICDC does not aim to possess important functionalities of classical data centers as the long-term archiving and the dissemination of meteorological, hydrographic or other data. Though in some cases the original data will be provided to the scientific community the focus is rather on data products (e.g. validated, homogenized, interpolated et cet. data sets) used in different climate applications. This strategy allows to avoiding the dissemination of different versions of one and the same original data set.

National and International Networking:

ICDC is intended to serve also other national institutions both within Hamburg and beyond. It works already with EUMETSAT and DWD to improve its climate data center and cross link available data sets. It coordinates with DOD at BSH and PANGAEA at AWI/University Bremen on data coordination, data archiving and international data provision. This effort does go through the DFG “Senats Commission for Oceanography”. ICDC will provide, through the national SMOS office hosted at the IfM and once available, new calibrated surface salinity and soil moisture data for use in climate models. Part of the activities at ICDC is also being coordinated with WCRP/CLIVAR/GSOP.

Next page: The ICDC Technical Concept

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