ECMWF periodically uses its forecast models and data assimilation systems to 'reanalyse' archived observations, creating global data sets describing the recent history of the atmosphere, land surface, and oceans. Reanalysis data are used for monitoring climate change, for research and education, and for commercial applications.
Current research in reanalysis at ECMWF focuses on the development of consistent reanalyses of the coupled climate system, including atmosphere, land surface, ocean, sea ice, and the carbon cycle, extending back as far as a century or more. The work involves collection, preparation and assessment of climate observations, ranging from early in-situ surface observations made by meteorological observers to modern high-resolution satellite data sets. Special developments in data assimilation are needed to ensure the best possible temporal consistency of the reanalyses, which can be adversely affected by biases in models and observations, and by the ever-changing observing system.