The NCEP and NCAR are cooperating in a project (denoted “reanalysis”) to produce a 40-year record of global analyses of atmospheric fields in support of the needs of the research and climate monitoring communities. This effort involves the recovery of land surface, ship, rawinsonde, pibal, aircraft, satellite, and other data; quality controlling and assimilating these data with a data assimilation system that is kept unchanged over the reanalysis period 1957–96. This eliminates perceived climate jumps associated with changes in the data assimilation system.
The NCEP/NCAR 40-yr reanalysis uses a frozen state-of-the-art global data assimilation system and a database as complete as possible. The data assimilation and the model used are identical to the global system implemented operationally at the NCEP on 11 January 1995, except that the horizontal resolution is T62 (about 210 km). The database has been enhanced with many sources of observations not available in real time for operations, provided by different countries and organizations. The system has been designed with advanced quality control and monitoring components, and can produce 1 mon of reanalysis per day on a Cray YMP/8 supercomputer. Different types of output archives are being created to satisfy different user needs, including a “quick look” CD-ROM (one per year) with six tropospheric and stratospheric fields available twice daily, as well as surface, top-of-the-atmosphere, and isentropic fields. Reanalysis information and selected output is also available on-line via the Internet (http//:nic.fb4.noaa.gov:8000). A special CDROM, containing 13 years of selected observed, daily, monthly, and climatological data from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, is included with this issue. Output variables are classified into four classes, depending on the degree to which they are influenced by the observations and/or the model. For example, “C” variables (such as precipitation and surface fluxes) are completely determined by the model during the data assimilation and should be used with caution. Nevertheless, a comparison of these variables with observations and with several climatologies shows that they generally contain considerable useful information. Eight-day forecasts, produced every 5 days, should be useful for predictability studies and for monitoring the quality of the observing systems.
The 40 years of reanalysis (1957–96) should be completed in early 1997. A continuation into the future through an identical Climate Data Assimilation System will allow researchers to reliably compare recent anomalies with those in earlier decades. Since changes in the observing systems will inevitably produce perceived changes in the climate, parallel reanalyses (at least 1 year long) will be generated for the periods immediately after the introduction of new observing systems, such as new types of satellite data.
NCEP plans currently call for an updated reanalysis using a state-of-the-art system every five years or so. The successive reanalyses will be greatly facilitated by the generation of the comprehensive database in the present reanalysis.
*Environmental Modeling Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Washington, D.C.
+Climate Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Washington, D.C.
#National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado