Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Future research in homogenisation of climate data – EMS 2012 in Poland

By Enric Aguilar and Victor Venema

The future of research and training in homogenisation of climate data was discussed at the European Meteorological Society in Lodz by 21 experts. Homogenisation of monthly temperature data has improved much in the last years, as seen in the results of the COST-HOME project. On the other hand the homogenization of daily and subdaily data is still in its infancy and this data is used frequently to analyse changes in extreme weather. It is expected that inhomogeneities in the tails of the distribution are stronger than in the means. To make such analyses on extremes more reliable, more work on daily homogenisation is urgently needed. This does not mean than homogenisation at the monthly scale is already optimal, much can still be improved.

Parallel measurements

Parallel measurements with multiple measurement set-ups were seen as an important way to study the nature of inhomogeneities in daily and sub-daily data. It would be good to have a large international database with such measurements. The regional climate centres (RCC) could host such a dataset. Numerous groups are working on this topic, but more collaboration is needed. Also more experiments would be valuable.

When gathering parallel measurements the metadata is very important. INSPIRE (an EU Directive) has a standard format for metadata, which could be used.

It may be difficult to produce an open database with parallel measurements as European national meteorological and hydrological services are often forced to sell their data for profit.(Ironically, in the Land the Free (markets), climate data is available freely, the public already paid for it with their tax money after all.) Political pressure to free climate data is needed. Finland is setting a good example and will free its data in 2013.