The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

Water Temperature Platform/Instrument Metadata (META-T)

The JCOMM Water Temperature [instrumental] metadata pilot project (META-T) is aiming at providing an international standardization framework for collecting sea surface temperature (SST) and water temperature profile instrumental metadata from a number of marine observational systems, including drifting and moored buoys, observing ships, sea level stations, sub-surface profiling floats, ocean reference stations, and ODAS.

The informal workshop of the Water Temperature instrument / platform metadata Pilot Project (META-T) Steering Team was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 16 to 17 September 2008.  The aim of the workshop was to review the status of the Pilot Project and implementation of the META-T servers, address metadata streams for specific types of platforms, look at the implications regarding the BUFR templates, and make recommendations and produce and update the Workplan.

The Workshop recommended that the META-T should start investigating whether the full range of variables could be considered in a future platform / instrument metadata collection system, building on the lessons learned from the Pilot Project.  At the same time, the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) in China was invited to consider developing an instrument / platform metadata centre dedicated to all types of in situ ocean observing platforms considered in the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM).

The NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) in the United States, and NMDIS made substantial progress in developing the two mirror servers although a number of technical aspects still need to be addressed (i.e., updating from the real-time data flow, formats and submission of metadata by the platform operators).  The Workshop agreed that the question of long-term archival for the metadata had to be addressed by the JCOMM Data Management Coordination Group (DMCG).  Also, the META-T should engage in a closer cooperation with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the US Integrated Ocean Observing System and in particular, participate in the discussions for the development of sensor interoperability and SensorML.  Standards proposed by the META-T will eventually have to be submitted through the JCOMM / IODE Standards Process for wider review and scrutiny.  The JCOMM Data Management Programme Area (DMPA) Task Team on Table Driven Codes will follow up on BUFR issues in view of rationalizing all relevant BUFR templates and making them consistent.  The lists of metadata for Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) and Expendable BathyThermographs (XBT) are nearly complete, although some additional review will have to be made in order to take the all of the meeting’s recommendations into account.  Some work remains regarding the buoy and profiling floats lists.  All lists will be reviewed in order to produce a unique list providing information on categorization and use with BUFR.

The Workshop proposed to make a demonstration on progress at JCOMM-III (Marrakech, Morocco, 4-11 November 2009) and recommended to draft a Resolution for the Session, urging platform operators to submit metadata to the system being proposed by the Pilot Project. 
The Workshop further identified issues that required particular attention, and updated its Workplan accordingly.

The Workshop also proposed to develop a META-T concept of operations using the WMO Integrated Global Observing Systems (WIGOS) as a model.  This document will describe the targeted operational system that META-T is proposing to put in place.

Some minor changes were proposed regarding the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Steering Team.  Dr Derrick Snowden was nominated to chair the Steering Team.  The full Steering Team will be invited to formalize these arrangements by e-mail correspondence.

More details about META-T activities can be found on the META-T web site here.

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