Update from the Working Group on Observational Data


Over the last months, our working group has gone through some changes and transformations. For starters, Juan Pablo Guerschman (CSIRO) stepped down as chair and Marta Yebra (ANU) and Chris Rüdiger (Monash) have volunteered for the role. Over the past weeks, we have dedicated our discussions to define three main objectives we would like to achieve during our time as chairs and have come out with a number of new ideas and specific activities that fit in three broad categories:

1. Developing specific observation collation and inter-comparison efforts

The first opportunity has already been identified. We are encouraging anyone interested to join a new effort to collate Australian biomass and fuel data that is being initiated with support from OzEWEX, CSIRO, TERN, the Global Carbon Project, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC,Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, and a number of other organisations – the list is growing steadily. Through OzEWEX, this activity is supported through the WGs Vegetation Processes as well as our own WG. Such biomass and fuel data are needed for the calibration, validation and evaluation of land surface models and satellite products of ecosystem biomass, carbon and fuel dynamics. In addition to a valuable data base, another expected outcome of this activity will be a joint publication. The current plan is to bring interested parties with data together in a workshop around October this year. To get involved, contact randall.donohue@csiro.au or one of us.

2. Align and support key relevant initiatives and programs

We are establishing new links and strengthening existing links with a few initiatives that we believe offer a real opportunity for the community. These include:

    • The Australian Earth Observation Community Coordination Group (AEOCCG) provides a broad base of national level involvement at all levels of Earth Observation activities to complement and inform the proposed Intergovernmental Committee on Earth Observations from Space (ICEOS) in the Draft National Earth Observations from Space Infrastructure Plan (NEOS-IP). Contributing to this group provides a unique opportunity for the Water and Climate community to influence NEOS-IP.
    • National Computing infrastructure (NCI). The NCI is initating a new project to make their large data holdings more accessible and usable by the water and climate community, and our WG will help coordinate discussions and interactions between OzEWEX members and the NCI. The expected outcomes is to influence on the future direction and development of the NCI data collections, data standards and through this, better access and functionality to their data archives.
    • Committee on Earth Observation Systems (CEOS). We intend to involve our WG more directly in CEOS, and specifically, in the Integrated Global Water Cycle Observations (IGWCO) theme. Our objective is to address the recommendations outlined within theGEOSS Water Strategy Report and make them more concrete for Australia. As a starting point, we are selecting some key essential climate variables from the report. The next step would be to identify lead individuals.

3. Contribute to the development of calibration/validation networks

Calibration/validation (cal/val) networks are an integral part for the meaningful operation of satellites. Unfortunately they are mostly run through individual research efforts with all associated risks and threat to continuity. We aim at supporting the development of such networks and provide a platform to link existing research activities in that field, to form a stronger community.

Finally, we agreed on a theme for our session during the OzEWEX workshop on 2 December at the Gold Coast: ‘Monitoring hydrological fluxes at different scales: observational needs, challenges and opportunities’. Similar to last year’s OzEWEX event, we are seeking thought-provoking contributions to this session, and welcome your ideas or proposals. We will also have a WG activity focus session where we will discuss and further refine the objectives and activities of our WG for the coming years. It promises to be another great workshop and we look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions or ideas, please do not hesitate to drop us an email.

Marta Yebra: marta.yebra@anu.edu.au

Chris Rüdiger: chris.rudiger@monash.edu

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