IAG Workshop SGCS2017: Participants urge closer collaboration between geodesists and climate scientists

by Jürgen Kusche, Annette Eicker, Rosa Pacione, Carmen Böning, Wei Feng, Henryk Dobslaw, Bert Wouters

The IAG sub-commission 2.6 Gravity and Mass Transport in the Earth System and the joint working groups 2.6.1 Geodetic Observations for Climate Model Evaluation and 4.3.8 GNSS Tropospheric Products for Climate held, for the first time, a joint workshop on Satellite Geodesy for Climate Studies on September 19-21, 2017 (SGCS17) at the University of Bonn, Germany. In total, 68 scientists participated in four sessions: A) What is required for validating climate models using geodetic data, B) Long and consistent geodetic time series, C) Climate modelling and observable variables, D) Prospects of future missions and constellations.

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Participants of IAG Workshop SGCS2017, Bonn, September 19-21, 2017 (Photo credit: Basem Elsaka)

As part of the workshop, geodesists and climate scientists met in breakout sessions to draft a roadmap for closer collaboration between these communities. While it is generally recognized that geodetic data like GNSS troposphere and radio-occultation observables, satellite-gravimetric surface mass change, and altimetric sea level provide invaluable information for studying the planet’s changing climate, programmatic obstacles and scientifically open questions have been identified that hamper a wider acceptance of geodesy as a tool for climate research. In particular, the participants suggest that
  • communication between communities be improved through networking activities and through, e.g., improving data product and modeling transparency and access,
  • visibility of geodetic climate research be improved, e.g. through publishing key review papers authored by geodesy scientists in climate journals and vice versa, through involvement of associations IAG, IAMAS and IAPSO, programs such as WCRP and GCOS, the space agencies, and finally through pushing for the acknowledgement of geodesy products used in climate science as a more visible contribution of geodesy
  • a new branch of early career scientists at the interface of geodesy and climate scientists should be established and supported through summer schools and joint PhD programs
  • the science groundwork be improved through building, in collaboration, more showcases and publishing more joint, high-impact science papers

A more extended set of recommendations will be worked out as a collaboration effort between the communities.

In summary, the workshop (http://geodesy-for-climate.org/) has been very well recognized. It has been agreed that the next step toward expanding collaborative research should be the organization of joint sessions at international conferences, such as the AGU Fall Meeting 2018.


This document has been provided by the Communicational and Outreach Branch of the International Association of Geodesy.