Capsule Summary

We provide guidance to help foster effective strategies for coordinating more collaborative and successful process-oriented field campaigns that are ultimately aimed towards application and improvement of climate models.


Process studies are designed to improve our understanding of poorly-described physical processes that are central to the behavior of the climate system. They typically include coordinated efforts of intensive field campaigns in the atmosphere and/or ocean to collect a carefully planned set of in situ observations. Ideally the observational portion of a process study is paired with numerical modeling efforts that lead to better representation of a poorly simulated or previously neglected physical process in operational and research models. This article provides a framework of best practices to help guide scientists in carrying out more productive, collaborative, and successful process studies. Topics include the planning and implementation of a process study and the associated web of logistical challenges; the development of focused science goals and testable hypotheses; and the importance of assembling an integrated and compatible team with a diversity of social identity, gender, career stage, and scientific background. Guidelines are also provided for scientific data management, dissemination and stewardship. Above all, developing trust and continual communication within the science team during the field campaign and analysis phase are key for process studies. We consider a successful process study as one that ultimately will improve our quantitative understanding of the mechanisms responsible for climate variability and enhance our ability to represent them in climate models.

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