The climate research community uses reanalyses widely to understand atmospheric processes and variability in the middle atmosphere, yet different reanalyses give very different results for the same diagnostics. For example, the global energy budget and hydrological cycle, the Brewer–Dobson circulation, stratospheric vortex weakening and intensification events, and large-scale wave activity at the tropical tropopause are known to differ among reanalyses.
The Stratosphere–troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) began in 2013 as a coordinated activity to compare numerous key diagnostics in reanalysis data sets. The objectives of this project were
- to understand the causes of differences among reanalyses,
- to provide guidance on the appropriate usage of various reanalysis products in scientific studies,
- to contribute to future improvements in the reanalysis products by establishing collaborative links between the reanalysis centres and the SPARC community.
Phase 1 of the S-RIP project culminated with the publication of the S-RIP report (https://www.sparc-climate.org/sparc-report-no-10/) in January 2022 and a very successful special issue (https://acp.copernicus.org/articles/special_issue829.html) in ACP and ESSD with over 50 papers. Phase 1 was very successful in achieving the above objectives, and in doing so it taught us the value and importance of continuing reanalysis intercomparisons and communications between the reanalysis centres and the SPARC community. The above objectives thus remain the primary aims of S-RIP as the project moves into Phase 2.
This special issue is being initiated in the early stages of S-RIP Phase 2. The community is continuing to produce valuable papers including both updates using new reanalyses of diagnostics studied in Phase 1 and evaluation of diagnostics for processes and atmospheric regions that were not emphasized in Phase 1. This special issue welcomes papers both during this transitional period and in the following years of Phase 2 and both updates of work on processes studied in Phase 1 and new studies focused on additional processes and/or atmospheric regions.
The S-RIP project focuses primarily on differences among reanalyses, but studies that include operational analyses and studies comparing reanalyses with observations or model outputs are encouraged. Phase 1 of S-RIP emphasized diagnostics in the upper troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere. This special issue will collect research relevant to S-RIP, including broadening of the scope to, for example, evaluation of new reanalyses and of chemical reanalyses; more comprehensive evaluation of processes in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere; evaluation of tropospheric processes such as blocking, jet stream variations, and temperature anomalies; and more comprehensive evaluation of links between the stratospheric, upper tropospheric, and near-surface circulation and implications for extreme weather events.
All researchers are encouraged to submit to this issue regardless of past participation in S-RIP; we further encourage researchers to participate in and help guide S-RIP Phase 2.