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Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal

Special issue guidelines

Earth System Science Data (ESSD) and its discussion forum Earth System Science Data Discussions (ESSDD) offer an efficient new way of publishing special issues for measurement campaigns, conferences, etc. The individual papers are peer-reviewed and published as soon as they are available in regular issues;  they are then labelled as part of the special issue and linked electronically.

The specific advantages are the following:

  • Publication date is not delayed by the latest paper, which is behind in the peer-review process: every individual contribution to the special issue is published as soon as it is available.
  • Efficient interactive discussion of the common theme takes places on the ESSDD website.
  • Prepublication of discussion papers in ESSDD allows efficient cross-referencing between the final revised papers in ESSD.
  • All contributions are efficiently linked and coherently presented on dedicated special issue web pages (an appropriate logo is welcome as a *.jpg file) easily accessible from the ESSD/ESSDD online libraries.
  • Guest editors can define the order of the published papers on the SI web page.
  • Either a non-peer-reviewed editorial preface or a peer-reviewed scientific paper can be used to introduce a special issue.
  • Print versions are available upon completed publication of all contributions. A minimum order of 20 copies is necessary, and the price will depend on the total number of pages in the special issue.  

    The price per printed copy is calculated as follows:

    number of pages × €0.15
    + softcover and binding (€2.35) (hardcover price on request)
    + priority mail (individually calculated)

    = net price + VAT

    Please contact the Copernicus Publications Production Office for an official offer.

Inter-journal special issues

A special issue can comprise any number of journals, and the special issue editors can be the same or different and from different journals. The manuscript processing follows the standard special issue procedure of the journal in which the manuscript is submitted. Afterwards, all published papers are co-listed on a joint special issue web page (in addition to the regular chronological volume of each journal).

Special issue proposal & guidelines for editors

To make arrangements for a special issue, please contact one of the ESSD topical editors covering the relevant subject areas and one of the ESSD chief editors (see editorial board and journal subject areas). Please provide the following information:

  • title of the special issue;
  • names, affiliations, and short CVs of the proposed special issue editors;
  • start date & end date of submission;
  • a statement of the purpose of the special issue (including information on whether the special issue will include only invited papers or whether it is open for all submissions within the scope of the special issue).

Responsibilities of special issue editors:

  • to coordinate a rigorous peer-review process (at least two independent referees);
  • to ensure that the English is at a high level and request copy-editing if necessary.

Please view the currently scheduled special issues or browse existing special issues following the links ESSDD special issues and ESSD special issues, respectively.

Scheduled special issues

The following special issues are scheduled for publication in ESSD and its discussion forum ESSDD:

The World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation InterComparison Experiment (WMO-SPICE) and its applications (AMT/TC/ESSD/HESS Inter-Journal SI)
  • Guest editors: M. E. Earle, S. Morin, R. M. Rasmussen, M. A. Wolff, and D. Yang
  • Timeline: 11 Aug 2014 – 01 Jan 2017

Solid precipitation is one of the more complex atmospheric variables to be observed and measured by automatic sensors and systems. Since the WMO Solid Precipitation Measurement Inter-comparison of 1989-1993 (WMO CIMO IOM Report No. 67, WMO/TD-No. 872, 1998), significant advancements have been made in developing automatic instruments for measuring solid precipitation and snow on the ground. New non-catchment type techniques are increasingly used operationally for measuring solid precipitation, e.g. light scattering, microwave backscatter, mass and heat transfer. In parallel, the traditional techniques, tipping bucket and weighing type gauges, have new features (heating, temperature compensation, software corrections), which further diversify the range of data obtain with such instruments. New and emerging applications (e.g., climate change, nowcasting, water supply budgets, avalanche forecast and warnings, satellite ground validation, etc.) require precipitation data of increased accuracy and increased temporal and spatial resolution. A large variety of automatic instruments are being used for measuring solid precipitation, worldwide, including within the same country. This variety exceeds by far the existing range of manual standard precipitation gauges (Goodison et al., 1998).

The Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment (WMO SPICE) commenced in 2011, being endorsed at the Sixteenth Congress of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). SPICE is organized by the Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO) of WMO. Building on the results and recommendations of previous studies and intercomparisons, the mission of SPICE is to investigate and report the measurement and reporting of the following:

  1. Precipitation amount, over various time periods (minutes, hours, days, season), as a function of the precipitation phase, with a focus on solid precipitation;
  2. Snow on the ground (snow depth); as snow depth measurements are closely tied to snowfall measurements, the intercomparison will investigate the linkages between them.

The SPICE experiments are organized as simultaneous field tests in a range of climate conditions, over several winter seasons, in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, which have started in December 2012, and continuing until the end of the winter season 2015.

The Inter-Journal WMO SPICE Special Issue invites submissions directly reporting on results obtained within the WMO SPICE project and beyond, including studies relevant to WMO SPICE objectives but carried out independently, and studies focusing on application of WMO SPICE outcomes, such as cold region climate change, snow hydrology, remote sensing of snow cover and snowfall, and land surface modelling over the cold/high latitude regions.

Monitoring atmospheric composition and climate, research in support of the Copernicus/GMES atmospheric service (ACP/AMT/ESSD/GMD Inter-Journal SI)
  • Guest editors: V.-H. Peuch, R. Engelen, A. Simmons, W. Lahoz, S. Galmarini, and P. Laj
  • Timeline: 08 Jan 2013 – 31 Dec 2014

With the acute societal concerns about air quality, climate change and their effects on health and ecosystems, there is an increasing need for comprehensive, reliable and fast information services on the atmospheric environment. This is also of importance for a range of policy-relevant applications at different scales, from international treaty verification to urban planning for instance. Succeeding to GEMS (Global and regional Earth-system Monitoring using Space and in-situ data) and MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate), MACC-II* (MACC- Interim Implementation) is the third in a series of projects funded since 2005 through the European Union's Seventh Framework programme to build up the atmospheric service component of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) / Copernicus European programme. MACC-II combines the expertise of its 36 partner institutes from 13 European countries to bridge the gap between the meteorological and environmental communities engaged in research and operational service provision. Using the extensive experience of both communities, MACC-II provides information on atmospheric composition using satellite observations, ground-based observations, and state-of-the-art numerical models ( MACC-II not only monitors atmospheric composition over time, but also provides forecasts of air quality, dust storms, fire emissions and solar/UV radiation for a few days ahead both globally and in more detail for Europe. Furthermore, MACC-II supports studies of pollution events and possible responses to mitigate their effects, annual assessments of air quality, and the monitoring of greenhouse gases and their sources and sinks at the Earth's surface. This Special Issue focuses on the world-class research aspects that underpin the continuous development, evaluation and delivery of the GMES/Copernicus services for atmospheric composition.

*: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 THEME [SPA.2011.1.5-02]) under grant agreement n.283576.

Changes in the vertical distribution of ozone – the SI2N report (ACP/AMT/ESSD Inter-Journal SI)
  • Guest editors: P. K. Bhartia, N. Harris, M. Van Roozendael, M. Weber, R. Eckman, D. Loyola, J. Urban, C. von Savigny, M. Dameris, and S. Godin-Beekmann
  • Timeline: 01 Sep 2012 – 30 Apr 2015

In early 2011, a joint initiative was started under the auspices of SPARC, the International Ozone Commission (IO3C), the ozone focus area of the Integrated Global Atmospheric Chemistry Observations (IGACO-O3) programme, and the Network for Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC). To aid digestion, an acronym of acronyms, SI2N, was adopted. Reports on the two workshops were published in SPARC Newsletters 37 and 39 (Harris et al., 2011, 2012 – The main objective of SI2N is to assess and extend the current knowledge and understanding of measurements of the vertical distribution of ozone, with the aim of providing input to the next WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion anticipated for 2014. It is effectively a follow-up of the SPARC/IOC/GAW Ozone Profile Assessment (

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Anything which was or could have been considered for the last Ozone Assessment will not be included.
  • Papers published prior to 2011 will be assessed using the following criteria.
  • The content of the paper must still be valid and not superceded by more recent work.
  • Data sets or technical advances (e.g. algorithm developments) will be looked on more favourably than interpretative papers such as trend analyses (since we assume they will updated if not by the same group.)
  • Comparisons with model data or use in model runs can be included as long as they are using current datasets that will be used in SI2N.
  • If a paper can be reasonably updated, then that is the preferable option.