"A Global Profiling System for Improved Weather and Climate Prediction" Headlines BAMS

January 24, 2006

"A Global Profiling System for Improved Weather and Climate Prediction", by ESRL Acting Director, Dr. Alexander MacDonald, is featured in the December 2005 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) as the cover story. MacDonald, proposes a global observing system to improve weather and climate prediction. The backbone of this profiling system would be formed using dropsondes released from the stratosphere by unmanned aerial vehicles in combination with a new generation of less expensive and more capable moored ocean buoys. The system discussed in his paper would involve the international community from its beginning and be an essential part of the required global observing system.

Long-term climate change forced by greenhouse gases may well be the twenty-first century's most important issue facing the world and should engage partnering with international agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and the United Nations Environmental Program.

According to Dr. MacDonald, the system could be implemented (with an intense effort) by the middle of the next decade. He stated, "Every year that passes without the proposed system in place is a year that will withhold many of its mysteries from the scientists of the future." MacDonald's paper evolved over a four-year research period and involved the contributions of dozens of renowned scientists as well as the input from several workshops on the role of UAVs in geophysical monitoring.

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