Summary of the Third Meeting of the
Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS)
Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS)
Strategic Implementation Team (SIT)

25 March 1998
Paris, France

The Centre Nationale d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) hosted the third meeting of the Strategic Implementation Team (SIT) at its headquarters in Paris, France, under the Chairmanship of Brian Embleton, CSIRO. The objectives of the meeting were to:
1. finalise the SIT Guiding Principles for an IGOS
2. endorse the outline for the further development of the Strategic Plan, including the allocation of drafting assignments
3. prepare for the June G3OS Sponsors meeting
4. assess progress of IGOS Projects
5. identify agency commitments and responses to Project recommendations, and
6. instruct the SIT Organising Committee on the work plan.

1. Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles assist with the proper understanding of the underlying concepts of an IGOS, including the fact that the successful use of observations will ultimately lead to changes in societal and scientific priorities.

Following endorsement of the Guiding Principles by CEOS Plenary, SIT considered them as representing a preliminary template for individual organisations, and national and international programs, to assess their mutual roles and responsibilities for involvement in an integrated strategy for global observations. One identified weakness of the template is how scientific, social, economic and political drivers for an integrated approach to global observations can be assessed, and then transitioned to specific actions commencing with an assessment of requirements. In consultation with Project Leaders, the SIT Organising Committee should address the practical application of the template to determine the need for further improvement, if indeed this is shown to be necessary.

The Guiding Principles must reflect the balance between operational and research goals in an IGOS; the Concept Paper should be modified to reflect this requirement.

2. Strategic Plan

A strategic plan is fundamental to implementing an IGOS. A phased, incremental approach through a series of illustrative projects was the preferred modus operandi. Although the plan will primarily cover the space component of an IGOS, input will be broadened to incorporate the views of other communities. Near-term objectives must be planned as cumulative steps towards realising long-term objectives. The importance of transitioning research based activities to operational services was also recognised.

An outline of the plan (Appendix 1) was agreed and a writing team commissioned to prepare it.

Access to space and in-situ data bases, and the analytical tools to extract requirements for the benefit of organisations who plan data acquisition campaigns, are critical to mapping the steps required to implement an IGOS. The data base under development by WMO and ESA is nearing completion.

The role of the Global Observing Systems Space Panel (GOSSP) as a coordinating body for user requirements was strongly endorsed by CEOS SIT. Further, a strengthening of its role and authority was encouraged to facilitate:
i) dialogue between key communities who commit to the implementation of an IGOS, and
ii) to meet CEOS' requirement for an integrated and prioritised set of user requirements

CEOS recognised that to represent the whole range of Affiliates, GOSSP will have to broaden its remit and membership. This can only be agreed by its sponsoring.

Whilst such a mechanism will represent a significant step in harmonising inputs for observational requirements from user communities, it is recognised that additional, relevant information may be generated through other national and international bodies.

3. G3OS Sponsors Meeting, June 1998

SIT endorsed broadening the ownership of IGOS, in a phased manner and in line with the Partnership principle. This step is now judged to be critical to facilitate immediate progress and to maintain the momentum achieved by CEOS.

The SIT working group will continue its planning, in consultation with the G3OS and their Sponsors, to fulfill CEOS objectives of sharing ownership of, and responsibility for, the implementation of an IGOS.

4. IGOS Projects

SIT reviewed the Projects through the PLO mechanism and feedback from these evaluations will be provided to the Project Leaders. SIT also viewed the participation of WGCV and WGISS as integral to the implementation of Projects.

SIT now has an improved understanding of how to define Project objectives, as they relate to an IGOS, so that space agencies can better respond to user requirements. SIT has a responsibility to be very specific about what it requires from Projects, whilst recognising that the Project teams may well have broader interests and responsibilities. Projects also have to be encouraged, in the strongest possible fashion, to identify specific, actionable recommendations to which space agencies can respond.

The six IGOS Projects were selected in Irvine to be illustrative of IGOS characteristics: they are prototypical of an IGOS and were designed to provide lessons to space agencies for enhancing their understanding of requirements to implement a comprehensive observing strategy.

The contextual framework established by SIT for the conduct of Projects relates specifically to gathering information relevant to an IGOS and reflects agency planning cycles. Once this requirement has been fulfilled through adoption of Project recommendations, a position of closure needs to be determined.

SIT recognised that new Projects will emerge from the G3OS'panels, national and international scientific and observational programs, and that they might also arise from concerns of CEOS agencies for advice on CEOS issues. Once SIT has identified topics, issues or deficiencies on which it requires information, it should coordinate with existing (and planned) mechanisms as the appropriate structures within which to develop and conduct Project activities.

4.1 Comments on Specific Projects

The Project is leading to a better definition of short-term deliverables and is meeting CEOS needs. It is an excellent example of integration of in-situ and space based data, and it demonstrates how a specific project provides valuable input to CEOS. The Project has highlighted the need for infrastructure and funding systems to facilitate the shift from a research to an operational environment.

The Project should be explicitly embedded in IGBP-DIS, GCOS and GTOS (specifically in the Terrestrial Observations Panel for Climate).

In addition to long-term monitoring, the project should develop a timely system for forest fire detection. SIT agreed that there is a need to determine responsibilities for the speedy delivery of data relevant to the solution of urgent, real-time problems.

Some prioritisation of data sets should be provided. Currently a wide range of observations is reported and space agencies are seeking additional guidance on their relative importance for GOFC. Further advice to space agencies on how to develop a multi-level sampling scheme making best use of data sets with resolutions ranging from 1m to 1km would be welcomed.

Current ground-based and satellite-based observing systems are complementary. The technical challenge facing space agencies is to demonstrate how data from future space-based observing systems might adequately complement data from ground-based systems.

The highest priority in this project should be to conduct an analysis of capabilities with respect to measurements of ozone distribution, both spatially and vertically. The need was recognised for the explicit inclusion of WMO as part of the activity to strengthen links with international conventions, eg. the Montreal Protocol.

Ocean biology products, such as information on ocean pollution and CO2 sinks, should be emphasised to strengthen the Project's position. The highest priority is to obtain information on the degree of complementarity and to identify potential redundancy between multiple ocean colour sensors. The Project has established a task group to address issues related to instrument redundancy in the context of an IGOS.

Links with the research community could be strengthened and user organisations are urged to participate in team activities, such as fire detection and monitoring. The data policy issue remains critical to the timely delivery of products and services.

5. Agency Commitments

SIT Members indicated how their existing space missions could help to satisfy the needs of various Projects, outlined as recommendations in the PLO Reports. Further information on requirements from most of the Projects is necessary before agencies can assess how the deployment of observational resources might change.

There was confirmation of the NASA/NASDA proposal for the rapid deployment of a scatterometer, first agreed at the 2nd SIT meeting at Oxford during the consideration of GODAE's needs.

Agency responses are appended (Appendix 2).

6. Further Instructions to the SIT Organising Committee

As illustrative examples, the prototypical projects may be used as a basis for the conduct of an outreach activity to appraise educational, governmental and public institutions of the benefits of an IGOS

Given the increasing number of IGOS related documents, SIT acknowledged the value of compiling a consolidated portfolio.

7. Background Papers distributed prior to meeting.

Agenda, including Meeting Objectives
List of Delegates

SIT Terms of Reference
Guiding Principles
Outline of Strategic Plan
Project Liaison Officer reports:
- Forest Cover
- Upper Air
- Ozone
- Ocean Biology (three reports)
- Disaster Management Support
SIT Outline

Appendices (not included in this summary)

Appendix 1 Space Component of an Integrated Global Observing Strategy: Strategic Plan, First Draft. [see separate document]

Appendix 2 Agency Responses

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