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Project name: CLIMRECORD – Reference Climate Record from Radio Occultation for Tracking Climate Change and Evaluating FY-3 and Spire New Missions
Project leader: Gottfried Kirchengast
Projekt team Marc Schwärz (Project Manager, Senior Scientist)
Florian Ladstädter (Postdoc Scientist)
Veronika Proschek (Postdoc Scientist)
Josef Innerkofler (Scientist)
Barbara Angerer (Data Scientist)
Erich Wappis (Data Scientist)
Armin Leuprecht (Senior Scientist Adviser)
Andrea Steiner (Senior Scientist Adviser)
Partners: National Space Science Center/Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSSC/CAS), Beijing, CN, Spire Global Inc. (Spire); Data Provision and Advice
Sponsor: FFG-ALR (Österr. Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft, Agentur für Luft- und Raumfahrt); ASAP-14 (Austrian Space Applications Programme 14th Call)
Duration: July 2018 – May 2020



Monitoring the atmosphere to gain accurate and long-term stable records of key climate variables such as temperature is the backbone of atmospheric and climate science and observation from space is the key to obtain such data globally in Earth’s atmosphere. GPS radio occultation (RO) is a unique method for such monitoring in the atmosphere and CLIMRECORD provided valuable research contributions towards best use of RO for climate monitoring.

With the CLIMRECORD project, the Wegener Center of the University of Graz (WEGC) built on the predecessor ASAP-13 project EOPCLIMTRACK and its quality evaluation of radio occultation (RO) excess phase data. The latter can sensitively indicate temperature and moisture changes due to climate change and also are the basis for climate quality of retrieved atmospheric profiles from the new FY-3 and Spire RO missions. These missions are the FengYun-3 (FY-3) series of Chinese polar-orbiting operational meteorological satellites, with the GNSS occultation sounder (GNOS) as RO instrument on board, and the emerging CubeSat RO constellation of Spire Global, Inc.

In this context, the overall goal of CLIMRECORD was to exploit the climatological utility of WEGC’s excess phase data for climate change signal tracking and to evaluate the quality of monthly RO data records derived from the FY-3 and Spire missions for climate uses. This overall aim was formulated into two specific project objectives as follows:
1) Exploit the unprecedented altitude-geolocated RO excess phase data of Wegener Center’s Reference Occultation Processing System (rOPS), taking advantage of co-estimated uncertainties, for demonstrating a novel approach of long-term tracking of climate change;
2) Using the excess phase data of the new FY-3 and Spire missions, evaluate the climate quality of the atmospheric profiles from these missions, based on monthly RO data from rOPS and data providers and with focus on the challenging high and low altitude ranges.

Overall the work demonstrated the excess phase data to be promising for tracking climate change, given their small uncertainty and independence from background information, which makes the signal-to-noise ratio favorable for detecting small climate change signals during a comparatively short time of less than two decades. Likewise, the climate-quality evaluation of the FY-3 and Spire data helped towards “phasing in” these new RO data sources for climate needs of EUMETSAT’s ROM SAF (www.romsaf.org), i.e., to facilitate later operational adoption.


Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change

Brandhofgasse 5
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 8470

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