NDACC is transitioning to a network that is both research oriented and operationally oriented, providing data and analyses to a large variety of users: researchers, large-scale initiatives like Copernicus, space agencies of many countries, policy-oriented assessments, and the public at large. These data users rely on NDACC remaining healthy, with a well supported infrastructure and with a dedicated operational infrastructure (i.e. the community of scientific experts) that updates measurement capabilities to meet new data needs.
However, this evolution must not hinder further development of the network for pure research purposes, which in the longer term will also serve the other users.
Some of the future developments envisaged in NDACC include
- filling important gaps in the network spatial and temporal coverage, i.e. there are currently few stations in the tropics, notably in South America, Asia, and Africa. Few observations cover the full diurnal cycle; this will be essential for the validation of geostationary satellites. Model-based network design will help to identify where such coverage (spatial and temporal) gaps lie.
- filling important gaps in the ensemble of atmospheric variables that are observed (e.g. as new ODS-substitute products are released by human activities, it is important to monitor their fate and their evolution in the atmosphere).
- refining existing and/or developing new measurement techniques to improve the accuracy, precision, and traceability of the data products.
- automating operations (observations, data processing, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), etc.) where possible to lower costs.
- developing more compact, mobile, and less expensive instruments to enhance their deployment in developing countries, remote locations, and for campaign purposes.
- closer work with the modelling community to evaluate chemistry–climate modules (cf. the Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative (CCMI); Morgenstern et al., 2017) and chemical-transport models.
- providing early warning of volcanic eruptions using various NDACC instruments, especially in conditions of compromised satellite observations.
In all of these activities, NDACC is committed to interaction with a range of user communities who recognize the value of ground-based observations.