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Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal

Scheduled special issues

The following special issues are scheduled for publication in ESSD:

The SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) (ACP/ESSD inter-journal SI)
01 Feb 2016–31 Dec 2018 | Guest editor: G. P. Stiller | Information


The climate research community uses reanalyses widely to understand atmospheric processes and variability in the middle atmosphere, yet different reanalyses may give very different results for the same diagnostics. For example, the global energy budget and hydrological cycle, the Brewer–Dobson circulation, stratospheric vortex weakening and intensification events, and large-scale wave activity at the tropical tropopause are known to differ among reanalyses.

The Stratosphere–troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) is a coordinated activity to compare reanalysis data sets with respect to a variety of key diagnostics. The objectives of this project are

  1. to understand the causes of differences among reanalyses;
  2. to provide guidance on the appropriate usage of various reanalysis products in scientific studies;
  3. to contribute to future improvements in the reanalysis products by establishing collaborative links between the reanalysis centres and the SPARC community.

The project focuses predominantly on differences among reanalyses (although studies that include operational analyses are welcome and studies comparing reanalyses with observations are encouraged), with an emphasis on diagnostics in the upper troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere. This special issue serves to collect research with relevance to S-RIP in preparation for the publication of the S-RIP report in 2018. Although participation in S-RIP is not a prerequisite for submission to this special issue, authors contributing to this collection are encouraged to consider contributing to the preparation of the S-RIP report.

Water vapour in the upper troposphere and middle atmosphere: a satellite data quality assessment including biases, variability, and drifts (ACP/AMT/ESSD inter-journal SI)
10 Feb 2016–01 Apr 2018 | Guest editors: T. Leblanc and D. J. Carlson | Information


The Water Vapour Phase II (WAVAS II), a SPARC activity, started in 2008 (SPARC Newsletter No. 30 (2008) p. 16: SPARC Water Vapour Initiative, by C. Schiller et al.). The activity includes satellite assessment and in situ comparison components. This international activity encompasses:

  1. Providing a quality assessment of upper tropospheric to lower mesospheric satellite records since the early 1990s
  2. Providing, as far as possible, absolute validation against ground-truth instruments
  3. Assessing inter-instrument biases, depending on altitude, location, and season
  4. Assessing the representation of temporal variations on various scales
  5. Including data records on isotopologues
  6. Providing recommendations for usage of available data records and for future observation systems

The main objective of WAVAS II is to assess and extend our knowledge and understanding of measurements of the vertical distribution of water vapor in the upper troposphere and middle atmosphere (UT/MA), where water has small concentrations, but significant radiative impact. This is a follow-up of the SPARC WAVAS activity, whose report was published in 2000 (SPARC Report No. 2 (2000) Upper Tropospheric and Stratospheric Water Vapour. D. Kley, J.M. Russell III, and C. Philips (eds.). WCRP-113, WMO/TD - No. 1043). Information gained from this activity will improve our ability to estimate long-term changes with associated uncertainties in UT/MA water as well as make recommendations as to what data would be most valuable for model validation and how such data should be used.

Papers will be accepted for this special issue according to the following guidelines, independent if they originate from the WAVAS II activity or other activities.

Guidelines for submissions:

  • papers covering existing UT/MA satellite water vapour measurements;
  • papers discussing comparisons of UT/MA satellite measurements, including discussion of quantities derived from these measurements, such as seasonal cycles, estimates of transport, or estimates of drifts, trends and variability;
  • papers discussing merging of water vapour measurements will be considered, although this topic is not specifically part of the WAVAS-II activity;
  • model papers that incorporate the datasets discussed and the uncertainty estimates resulting from the WAVAS-II activity will also be considered for inclusion.

Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (PAGE21) (BG/TC/GMD/ESSD Inter-Journal SI)
01 Jan 2016–31 Jul 2017 | Guest editors: O. Eisen and D. Carlson | Information


Permafrost is defined as ground that remains continuously at or below 0°C for at least two consecutive years; some 24% of the land surface in the Northern Hemisphere is classified as permafrost. In the northern high latitudes, strong warming has been observed over the recent decades, and climate models project strong future warming. A projected decline in the extent of permafrost will have a major impact on the Earth system, affecting global climate through the mobilization of carbon and nitrogen stored in permafrost. This special issue invites results of the large-scale European project PAGE21 with the aim to quantify the vulnerability of permafrost environments to a changing global climate, and to investigate the feedback mechanisms associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost zones. The focus is on (i) the combination of field mapping and measurements of permafrost landforms, ground ice content, processes, pools, and fluxes, with remote sensing data and global climate models at local, regional, and pan-Arctic scales, as well as (ii) advancing our understanding of permafrost processes at multiple scales, resulting in improvements in global numerical permafrost modeling.

Chemistry–Climate Modelling Initiative (CCMI) (ACP/AMT/ESSD/GMD Inter-Journal SI)
23 Oct 2015–30 Sep 2018 | Guest editors: B. N. Duncan, A. Gettelman, P. Hess, G. Myhre, and P. Young | Information


IGAC/SPARC CCMI (www.met.reading.ac.uk/ccmi/) consists of a wide range of researchers, including chemistry-climate modelers, observationalists, and data analysts who are investigating the historical and projected evolution of stratospheric and tropospheric composition and chemistry, including the links between those domains, and the feedbacks with the physical climate. A current CCMI activity is a series of hindcast model simulations in support of upcoming ozone and climate assessments. The goal is to quantify how well the models can reproduce the past behavior (climatology, trends and interannual variability) of tropospheric and stratospheric ozone, other oxidants, and more generally chemistry-climate interactions, as well as to understand processes that govern these interactions. An emphasis is placed on observational based evaluation of model output, including model processes. A future CCMI activity will be to analyze projections of the future evolution of tropospheric and stratospheric ozone.

Hydrometeorological data from mountain and alpine research catchments
04 Aug 2015–30 Sep 2017 | Guest editors: J. Pomeroy and D. Marks | Information


This ESSD special issue responds to an international need to improve the understanding and modelling of mountain snow and ice hydrological processes. Data sets contributed to the special issue should support and promote research on the effects of mountain snowpacks and glaciers on water supply as well as study of variations in energy and water exchange amongst different high-altitude regions. This initiative arises from a new GEWEX Hydroclimatology Panel cross-cut project – INARCH, the International Network for Alpine Research Catchment Hydrology (www.usask.ca/inarch ). The guest editors invite contributions of openly available detailed meteorological and hydrological observational archives from long-term research catchments at high temporal resolution (at least 5 years of continuous data with hourly sampling intervals for meteorological data, daily precipitation and streamflow, and regular snow and/or glacier mass balance surveys) in well-instrumented mountain regions around the world. Contributors and researchers will use this mountain hydrology data publication special issue for the benefit of global alpine hydrological research.

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


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.