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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-17 and AOPC-20

AOPC Initial GCOS Plan for Atmospheric Observing Systems


 Dr Kenneth HOLMLUND AOPC Chairman Head, Remote Sensing and Products Division
Eumetsat-Allee 1
64295 Darmstadt
 Prof. Philip JONES  AOPC Deputy Chair Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
 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
 Dr Olga KALASHNIKOVA AOPC Member Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Research Scientist
4800 Oak Grove Drive • MS 233-200
Pasadena, CA 91109
United States
 Mr Shina KOBAYASHI AOPC Member Climate Prediction Division
Global Environment and Marine Dept.
Japan Meteorological Agency
1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8122
 Dr Zhanqing LI AOPC Member University of Maryland
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
5825 University Research Court
College Park, MD 20742-2465
United States
 Dr Matthew MENNE AOPC Member NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
United States
 Dr Roger SAUNDERS AOPC Member Met Office D2, Met Office HQ
FitzRoy Road
Exeter EX1 3PB
United Kingdom
 Dr Peter THORNE AOPC Member

Co-Chair GRUAN
National University of Ireland Maynooth
Geography Department
Maynooth, Co. Kildare

 Dr Peng ZHANG AOPC Member

Deputy Director-General
National Satellite Meteorological Center
China Meteorological Administration
No. 46, South Street of Zhong-Guan-Cun
District Haidian
Beijing 10008

 Vacant AOPC Member