TPOS June 2016 Monthly Status Report


This month every group in the TPOS 2020 Project continued to be highly engaged in the drafting and review of the TPOS 2020 2016 Interim Report (2016-IR). Based on the thoughtful review and comment provided by the expert reviewers, the report lead authors, Steering Committee (SC) Co-chairs and members, and the Task Team (TT) Co-chairs and members restructured the report as well as generated a good deal of additional content to support the requirements for the backbone recommendations and associated TPOS pilot and process studies. The 2nd Order draft will be released for community comment in August.

A brief outline of the report content is provided here: The Report begins with an introductory chapter on the background of the tropical Pacific observing system leading up to the TPOS workshop in 2014, and the initial focus of the TPOS 2020 Project. This is followed by greater detail on the development of the observing system; its socio-economic benefits and phenomenological background of the variables observed. The report then shifts focus to the backbone and its requirements as related to the need for sustained forecasts and monitoring of the state of the coupled system, the preservation and improvement of the climate record, and an increased understanding of critical processes and phenomena. This articulation requires a new consideration in options and features of the observing system that will enhance data integration and assimilation along with a redesign that takes advantage of the optimal observing system, constituting an integrated combination of platforms, each bringing particular values and impacts relative to the need for observations.

The report will then shift to a focus on recommendations and implementation with an emphasis on the complementarity of satellite and in-situ elements of the envisioned backbone to meet the requirements of the sampling, accuracy, and regime coverage, and to address science and societal needs. The report will also contain an overview of experimental observations proposed- typically for a limited period as part of a pilot or process study. The proposals seek to advance knowledge, explore technical innovation, and/or lead to improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of the TPOS. In some cases the target period is wholly within the timeframe of TPOS 2020, while in other cases the period may go beyond 2020. The report will conclude with an overview of implementation and transition options for the backbone and the system overall, along with a summary of the recommendations contained throughout the report.


NOAA announced $4.5M in funding for new observing technologies for ENSO research and predictions, including:

  • Enhanced ocean boundary layer observations on the TAO moorings: William Kessler (PMEL / SC- Co-Chair, Backbone TT), Karen Grissom (NBDC), Meghan Cronin (PMEL, PBL TT Co-Chair)
  • Profiling Rainfall, Wind Speed, and Biogeochemical Sensors for Use in the Tropical Pacific Observing System: Stephen Riser (University of Washington) and Jie Yang (UW Applied Physics Laboratory)
  • Autonomous Surface Vessels as Low-Cost TPOS Platforms for Observing the Planetary Boundary Layer and Surface Biogeochemistry: Meghan Cronin (PMEL / PBL TT Co-Chair) and Christian Meinig (PMEL), Dongxiao Zhang (PBL TT), Adrienne Sutton, (Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and the Oceans (JISAO) at the University of Washington / BGC TT Co-Chair)
  • Development and Testing of Direct (Eddy Covariance) Turbulent Flux Measurements for NDBC TAO Buoys: J. Thomas Farrar (WHOI / PBL TT Co-Chair, SC Member), James Edson (University of Connecticut), Meghan Cronin (PMEL / PBL TT Co-Chair), and Chris Fairall (ESRL / PBL TT)