Articles | Volume 17, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 1417–1452, 2017

Special issue: The SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) (ACP/ESSD...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 1417–1452, 2017

Review article 31 Jan 2017

Review article | 31 Jan 2017

Introduction to the SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) and overview of the reanalysis systems

Masatomo Fujiwara1, Jonathon S. Wright2, Gloria L. Manney3,4, Lesley J. Gray5,6, James Anstey7, Thomas Birner8, Sean Davis9,10, Edwin P. Gerber11, V. Lynn Harvey12, Michaela I. Hegglin13, Cameron R. Homeyer14, John A. Knox15, Kirstin Krüger16, Alyn Lambert17, Craig S. Long18, Patrick Martineau19, Andrea Molod20, Beatriz M. Monge-Sanz21, Michelle L. Santee17, Susann Tegtmeier22, Simon Chabrillat23, David G. H. Tan21, David R. Jackson24, Saroja Polavarapu25, Gilbert P. Compo10,26, Rossana Dragani21, Wesley Ebisuzaki18, Yayoi Harada27,28, Chiaki Kobayashi28, Will McCarty20, Kazutoshi Onogi27, Steven Pawson20, Adrian Simmons21, Krzysztof Wargan20,29, Jeffrey S. Whitaker26, and Cheng-Zhi Zou30 Masatomo Fujiwara et al.
  • 1Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan
  • 2Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China
  • 3NorthWest Research Associates, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
  • 4Department of Physics, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
  • 5Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PU, UK
  • 6NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 7Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment and Climate Change Canada, University of Victoria, Victoria, V8W 2Y2, Canada
  • 8Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 9Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 10Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 11Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA
  • 12Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
  • 13Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6BB, UK
  • 14School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
  • 15Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
  • 16Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0315 Oslo, Norway
  • 17Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
  • 18Climate Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 19Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, CA 90095, USA
  • 20Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, Code 610.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 21European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Park, Reading, RG2 9AX, UK
  • 22GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany
  • 23Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), 1180 Brussels, Belgium
  • 24Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 25Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 26Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 27Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo, 100-8122, Japan
  • 28Climate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute, JMA, Tsukuba, 305-0052, Japan
  • 29Science Systems and Applications Inc., Lanham, MD 20706, USA
  • 30Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Abstract. The climate research community uses atmospheric reanalysis data sets to understand a wide range of processes and variability in the atmosphere, yet different reanalyses may give very different results for the same diagnostics. The Stratosphere–troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) is a coordinated activity to compare reanalysis data sets using a variety of key diagnostics. The objectives of this project are to identify differences among reanalyses and understand their underlying causes, to provide guidance on appropriate usage of various reanalysis products in scientific studies, particularly those of relevance to SPARC, and to contribute to future improvements in the reanalysis products by establishing collaborative links between reanalysis centres and data users. The project focuses predominantly on differences among reanalyses, although studies that include operational analyses and studies comparing reanalyses with observations are also included when appropriate. The emphasis is on diagnostics of the upper troposphere, stratosphere, and lower mesosphere. This paper summarizes the motivation and goals of the S-RIP activity and extensively reviews key technical aspects of the reanalysis data sets that are the focus of this activity. The special issue The SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) in this journal serves to collect research with relevance to the S-RIP in preparation for the publication of the planned two (interim and full) S-RIP reports.

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Short summary
We introduce the SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP), review key concepts and elements of atmospheric reanalysis systems, and summarize the technical details of and differences among 11 of these systems. This work supports scientific studies and intercomparisons of reanalysis products by collecting these background materials and technical details into a single reference. We also address several common misunderstandings and points of confusion regarding reanalyses.
Final-revised paper