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Press Release No. 939

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New Weather and Climate Information System Becomes Operational

WMO Information System boosts data exchange for disaster risk reduction,  forecasting, predictions and service delivery for food security and health

Geneva, 31 January 2012 (WMO), A new international information system to improve and expand the current exchange of weather, climate and water data – and cut the costs involved - has become operational.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Information System will make it easier to find and use meteorological observations and products and to share them with a wide variety of stakeholders such as the research and disaster risk reduction communities.

It builds on the proven success of the Global Telecommunication System of WMO’s World Weather Watch which has been the backbone of meteorological information exchange for the past 40 years and is used for daily weather observations and forecasts, tropical cyclone warnings and Tsunami alerts – to name but a few applications.

“The WMO Information System is the pillar of our strategy for managing and moving weather, climate and water information in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

“It will reduce the costs of information exchange incurred by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and maximize exploitation of advances in communications technology, ” he said.  

“It will allow users outside the meteorological community to have free access to this information for the first time. This will be especially important as WMO moves ahead with other U.N. and international partners with the Global Framework for Climate Services which aims to provide basic climate services for all in the food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health sectors,” said Mr Jarraud.

The WMO Information System, or WIS, connects and integrates information from three types of data centres:

  • National Centres collect and distribute data on a national basis. They generate quality controlled analysis and forecast products, and services, including archiving national climate information. The National Meteorological or Hydrological Service coordinate or authorize the use of the WIS by national users.
  • Data Collection or Production Centres are similar to National Centres but focus on thematic, regional or global collection and/or production of sets of data, forecast products, processed or value-added information, and/or for providing archiving services.
  • Global Information System Centres connect to each other through a high speed private network. They rapidly share information meant for routine global dissemination that they collect from National Centres and Data Collection or Production Centres in their area of responsibility . They also  serve as distribution centres into their areas of responsibilities. Global Information System Centres provide entry points, through unified portals and comprehensive metadata catalogues, for any request for data exchanged within the WIS. They also provide the connection to other information systems such as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

WMO’s governing World Meteorological Congress has approved several Global Information System Centres which meet the required standards. Three of these, Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan, and Offenbach, Germany, have been running in pre-operational mode since the middle of 2011 and will be officially operational from the end of January 2012. Others will shortly become operational.

Background information:

The World Meteorological Congress in 2003 formally adopted the concept of the WMO Information System to provide an integrated data management approach for all WMO and related international programmes. Congress said it should have a flexible structure; and build on the successful Global Telecommunication System for highly reliable delivery of time-critical data and products.

The World Meteorological Congress in 2007 required the WMO Information System to be implemented in two parallel parts. Part A, the continued evolution of the Global Telecommunications System, is already operational. Part B provides new functionalities and provides the more flexible connection between WMO Members and contributors; this is newly operational.

The World Meteorological Congress in May 2011 set the implementation of the WMO Information System as one of the top priorities for the next four years and gave the green light for WIS to become operational in January 2012.

WIS provides three fundamental types of services (as agreed by Congress):

1.  Routine collection and dissemination service for time-critical and operation-critical data and products: This service is based on real-time “push” mechanism including multicast and broadcast; it is implemented essentially through dedicated telecommunication means providing a guaranteed quality of service. This includes a dedicated service for the rapid international exchange of warnings and related messages.

2.  Data Discovery, Access and Retrieval service: This service is based on request/reply “pull” mechanism with relevant data management functions; it is implemented essentially through the internet.

3.  Timely delivery service for data and products: This service is based on delayed mode “push” mechanism; it is implemented through a combination of dedicated telecommunication means and of public data-communication networks, especially the internet.

Further details are available at www.wmo.int/wis

Access to the Global Information System Centres can be found via www.wmo.int/giscs

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s
authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

For more information please contact:

Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Communications and Public Affairs,
Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8478; 41-79) 7091397 (cell)

e mail: cnullis(at)wmo.int

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