GCOS GOOS WCRP/OOPC IX/3 
   
page 8 
that  OOPC  is  poorly  received  unless  it  can  advocate  an  observing  system  based  on  proven 
technology  with  strong  scientific  rationale  and  broad  consensus     the  Arctic  seems  to  need 
further  research  investment  first.  The  OOPC  viewed  the  IPY  as  an  excellent  opportunity  to 
push  forward  with  research  investment,  and  saw  the  WCRP,  and  particularly  the  new 
CliC/CLIVAR Arctic Climate Panel, as the natural home for these activities. It also noted a 
fragmentation  of  the  Arctic  Ocean  research  into  many  communities,  which  has  been  an 
ongoing difficulty. 
5.2 Cryosphere 
This  agenda  item  began  with  a  presentation  by  Dick  Reynolds  on  behalf  of  Nick 
Rayner.  The  presentation  can  be  downloaded  from  the  meeting  website,  and  an  extended 
report  is  provided  in  Annex  V.  The  improvement  of  sea  ice  products  faces  several  major 
challenges.  These  include  a  lack  of  error  estimates  and  intercomparison  activities  for  the 
different products, and uncertainties in satellite passive microwave algorithms, which can be 
of the order of the signals observed in the products. 
The  chair  noted  that  sea  ice  was  a  high  priority,  and  that  documenting  the 
intercomparison  work  that  Rayner  had  done  was  critical.  He  questioned  how  to  push  for 
progress. Drinkwater noted that uncertainties, error covariances, and seasonality are necessary 
in the ice climatologies for their use in ocean data assimilation reanalyses. Gulev noted that 
high time resolution in the products was necessary for the modeling community in improving 
their ice models, which have a binary (ice/no ice) tendency which is not observed. The chair 
asked OOPC members to forward particular questions to Rayner. 
Mark Drinkwater then presented the ESA s plans for remote sensing of the cryosphere, 
including  both  sea  ice  and  land  ice.  The  presentation  can  be  downloaded  from  the  meeting 
website. Current radar altimetry from ERS/Envisat is already providing coverage of polar sea 
ice  thickness  and  drift,  with  the  processing  systems  and  algorithms  currently  in  an 
experimental phase, undergoing improvements, as well as used in various operation products. 
The first satellite in ESA s Earth Explorer Missions, CryoSat, is nominally set to launch at the 
end of 2004, and will use a high resolution SAR interferometric radar altimeter. The mission 
objectives  are  to  improve  our  understanding  of  the  thickness  and  mass  fluctuations  in  polar 
land and marine ice, to quantify the rates of change due to climate variations, and to deliver 
data  with  uncertainty  estimates,  and  will  use  extensive  ground  truthing  from  airborne  laser 
instruments  to  verify  algorithms.  Drinkwater  also  presented  the  other  Earth  Explorer 
missions,  most  specifically  GOCE  (the  Gravity  field  and  steady state  Ocean  Circulation 
Explorer),  due  for  launch  in  2006.  The  ESA  will  publish  a  number  of  announcements  for 
funding opportunities associated with each of the 4 Earth Explorer missions. 
Ryabinin informed the participants of a new IGOS P Cryosphere Theme, which was 
approved by the IGOS Partners in 2004. The Theme was initiated by WCRP CliC and SCAR. 
The  Theme  report  is  expected  in  2005,  and  should  provide  a  basis  for  strengthening 
coordination  of  and  generating  increased  support  for  cryospheric  and  high latitude 
observations. 
5.3 Southern Ocean 
Mike  Sparrow  presented  an  overview  of  the  activities  and  issues  raised  in  the 
CLIVAR/CliC Southern Ocean (SO) Panel since the last OOPC meeting. The presentation is 
available on the meeting website. The major research issues in the SO are the variability and 
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