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Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC)

The Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate was established by the GCOS Steering Committee in recognition of the need for specific scientific and technical input concerning atmospheric observations for climate. The Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme, recognizing the benefits of the AOPC, agreed in 1995 to co-sponsor the panel, which was therefore renamed as the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate.

Key activities

Terms of Reference

The goal of the AOPC is to plan and promote the atmospheric component of GCOS. Its specific Terms of Reference are as follows:
  1. To liaise with relevant research, operational and end-user bodies in order to determine and maintain the requirements for data to monitor, understand and predict the dynamical, physical and chemical state of the atmosphere and its interfaces on seasonal to multi-decadal time scales, on both global and regional levels.
  2. To promote the establishment and maintenance of an overall system to provide long-term, high-quality, consistent data and information to meet those requirements.
  3. To review the current state of the atmospheric component of the global observing system for climate.
  4. To identify gaps and inadequacies in the atmospheric component of the current global observing system for climate.
  5. To propose and promote the establishment of new systems, or enhancements to current systems and practices, to eliminate deficiencies.
  6. To promote the transfer, as appropriate, of research observing systems to operational networks.
  7. To promote the rehabilitation of historical observational and proxy climate data sets.
  8. To promote and review institutional arrangements to ensure that:
    • GCOS observations are of the highest quality and are collected in accordance with the highest standards of practice;
    • GCOS data products are relevant and of the highest quality;
    • GCOS data are archived and accessible to the user community.
  9. To liaise with the other GCOS panels, WCRP steering groups and other relevant entities, such as WMO Commissions and CEOS, on atmospheric climate observing system issues.
  10. To carry out agreed assignments from the GCOS Steering Committee.
  11. To report regularly to the GCOS SC and the JSC for WCRP on issues related to the atmospheric component of GCOS.


Members of the panel participate in several working groups assigned particular tasks. These are:

Adivisory Group on GSN and GUAN (AGG)

The AOPC Advisory Group on GSN (GCOS Surface Network) and GUAN (GCOS Upper-air Network) (AGG) assesses the developments of these two essential climatological networks and makes recommendations for improvements of specific stations, station density, data quality and availability of the existing networks and the data distributed.

Joint Session of TOPC-XVII and AOPC-XX

AOPC Initial GCOS Plan for Atmospheric Observing Systems

Members (April 2015)

Dr Kenneth HOLMLUND AOPC Chairman Head, Remote Sensing and Products Division
Eumetsat-Allee 1
64295 Darmstadt
Dr Albert KLEIN-TANK  AOPC Vice-Chair KNMI
P.O. Box 201
3730 Ae De Bilt
The Netherlands
Dr Andreas BECKER AOPC Member Head of GPCC
Deutscher Wetterdienst
Frankfurter Str. 135
D-63067 Offenbach
Dr James BUTLER AOPC Member NOAA Global Monitoring Division, R/GMD
325 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80305
United States
Prof. Philip JONES  AOPC Member Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
Dr Matthew MENNE AOPC Member NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
United States
Mr Nozomu OHKAWARA  AOPC Member Atmospheric Environment Division
Global Environment and Marine Department
Japan Meteorological Agency
1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8122
Dr Roger SAUNDERS AOPC Member Met Office D2, Met Office HQ
FitzRoy Road
Exeter EX1 3PB
United Kingdom
Vacant AOPC Member  
Vacant AOPC Member  
Vacant AOPC Member  
Vacant AOPC Member