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Recommendations from CLIMAR-II, Brussels 2003.

E. Metadata and Homogenisation


  1. Digital availability of the entire record of the WMO ship catalogue (Publication No.47; 1955-), in a format suitable for use in association with both operational and climate data, should be made a priority. Editions for 1955-72 and 2005 are not yet available in digital form.

  2. Observing practice literature, both national and international, is an import ant aspect of climate metadata. Two of the more important decisions recorded in this literature were the historical WMO/Commission for Marine Meteorology (CMM) decisions which improved VOS data and the Marine Climatological Summaries Scheme (MCSS). To document the evolution of observing practice, a procedure for identifying, archiving and distributing this type of metadata should be developed. The archive should be updated through JCOMM and its ETMC, without destroying the older entries, when observational practice is updated. Eventually, the archive could also link to the results of instrument validations and comparison studies.

  3. An archive of metadata for moored and drifting buoys, and other ODAS (e.g. offshore platforms), should be filled by Members, with WMO coordination, as soon as possible with information on both current and historical deployments.

  4. If possible, a given buoy should have a unique identifier. The re-use of identifiers (buoy numbers) for different buoys can cause erroneous application of metadata. If buoy numbers must be reused, the metadata should include sufficient features (e.g., timestamps) so that they can be correctly applied.

  5. Metadata, including information on homogeneity adjustments applied, should be clearly linked to data.


  1. It remains essential to acquire data from independent platforms (e.g. VOS, buoys, research vessels, satellites), to allow independent validation and homogenisation of records. The important VOSClim data validation and improvement project should be continued.

  2. There is a need to investigate the best way of applying wind homogenization techniques in the absence of adequate metadata.

  3. Proxy data (e.g. coral-based SST estimates) should be carefully matched with instrumental data, following the GCOS Climate Monitoring Principles. Error-adjusted annual fields may help in this process.

  4. Continue efforts to make QC of data more consistent and effective, including documenting and homogenising the methods used as much as possible.

For further information, or to provide status updates, contact:

Dr. Elizabeth C. Kent,
James Rennell Division (254/26), National Oceanography Centre,
Southampton, European Way, SOUTHAMPTON, SO14 3ZH, UK
Tel(+Voice Mail): +44 (0)23 8059 6646; Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 6400

Consolidated Boulder/CLIMAR-II Recommendations

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