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COP-21 Side Event: The Status of Climate Observations in Africa, Friday 4 December, 10 a.m., Africa Pavilion

This side event discussed the status of climate observations in Africa and presented some of the work being done by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to fill these gaps. It was an opportunity for the participants to give their views in the future development of African climate observations and GCOS.

It introduced the GCOS 2015 Status Report of the Global Climate Observing System and presented some of its findings relevant to Africa. While this report outlines significant improvements there are still gaps and limitations in African monitoring. The side event also presented the support and assistance to fill some of these gaps, most recently in Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Zambia provided through the GCOS Cooperation Mechanism.

YSokona_speaking

 

The speakers were:

  • Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO
  • Youba Sokona, South Centre
  • Carolin Richter, Director, GCOS Secretariat
  • Stephen Briggs, Chairman of the GCOS Steering Committee
  • Simon Eggleston, Senior Scientific Officer, GCOS Secretariat - Presentation
  • Tim Oakley, GCOS Network Manager, GCOS Cooperation Mechanism - Presentation

 

Status of the Global Observing System for Climate

GCOS has released its report Status of the Global Observing System for Climate (GCOS-195) which has been submitted to the UNFCCC in December in Paris. The results of the global observing system have proved invaluable and have underpinned the IPCC fifth assessment report. However, as the IPCC identifies, there are gaps in the global observing system particularly with regional information. It is important for climate observations to improve understanding and prediction of climate change not just globally but also regionally. The needs of climate services, such as adapting to climate change and variability on regional and local scales, are adding additional requirements on the observing system.

The report reviews the overall status of each Essential Climate Variable (ECV), assesses progress against the latest Implementation plan, the Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (2010 Update), and identifies gaps. The report does not provide actions or plans to address gaps, deficiencies or additional requirements that have been identified: this is the role of the new GCOS Implementation Plan being developed for release and submission to the UNFCCC in 2016.                                                                                                    

The report can be downloaded here:

Status of the Global Observing System for Climate: Executive Summary (GCOS-194_English) (GCOS-194_French)

Status of the Global Observing System for Climate (GCOS-195) High Resolution - (subject to final copy-edit)

Status of the Global Observing System for Climate (GCOS-195) Low Resolution - (subject to final copy-edit)

This report has been submitted to the 43rd session of the SBSTA, at UNFCCC's Conference of the Parties, COP 21, to be held 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris.

 

GCOS Brochure   

Global Climate Observing System - Sound Climate Plicy requires Systematic Climate Observation English Version

 

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The Road to the Future

GLOBAL CLIMATE OBSERVATION: THE ROAD TO THE FUTURE

2-4 March 2016, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

 

We are very pleased to announce that the registration for the conference Global Climate Observation: the Road to the Future, to be held from 2-4 March 2016 at the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, is now open! 

The participants can register to the conference using the online registration tool on the conference website.

The registration deadline is 15 February 2016.  Since there is a size limitation on the amount of participants, early registration is appreciated. 

We also cordially invite you to submit your abstract and be part of the exciting science at the conference. Abstracts can be submitted for either an oral or poster presentation. The call for abstracts is now open with the deadline 15 December 2015.

Abstracts can be submitted online through the conference website. 

The Science Committee, under the leadership of Prof. dr. A.J. Han Dolman (VU University Amsterdam), will be assisting in shaping up the details of the plenary and poster sessions. The structure of the programme is now available on the conference website.

 For more information, please have a look at the attached 2nd announcement or visit our webpage: www.gcos-science.org

 Please feel free to circulate this email to any interested person.

 Looking forward to seeing you in Amsterdam in March 2016.

 

The Organizing Committee

 

ESA's Free Online Course - 30 November 2015

ESA Online Course

Run to coincide with the start of COP21, ESA's free online course on Monitoring Climate from Space starts on 30 November 2015. Sign up now!

Join leading experts and scientists to explore our planet from space and learn how Earth observations are used to monitor climate change. Aimed at a broad audience, this course takes participants through five themed weeks with online lectures, quizzes, and the chance to engage in discussions with the course educators and other learners.

The course can help decision makers, policy makers, educators and communicators, to gain a better insight into how satellite data can help them assess the state of our climate and its changes, in order to support climate science, and adaptation and mitigation decisions.


GCOS certificate of Recognition for GSN and GUAN

The GCOS Surface Network (GSN) is a subset of roughly 1000 baseline surface stations of WMO`s World Weather Watch. A select set of 150 upper air stations was designated as the GCOS Upper-Air Network (GUAN). GSN and GUAN became the initial baseline components of the atmospheric networks. Designation of these networks benefitted the GCOS and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, NMHSs. For the GCOS, designation helped incorporate climate requirements into meteorological service procedures. For NMHSs, designation of a station as part of the global climate network helped sustain support for these long-running sites. These networks provided the foundation for the Regional Basic Climatological Network, which provides far greater spatial detail on the variability of climate.

Both networks, GSN and GUAN, need continuous performance monitoring, regular maintenance and sustained technical and operational support. A dedicated GCOS System Improvement Programme managed by Network Manager Mr Tim Oakley, is assisting and supporting WMO members with these tasks. As a token of appreciation, the GCOS Secretariat has been handing out certificates of recognition to Members who have taken on the responsibility to operate GSN and GUAN stations.

Tim Oakley, GCOS Network Manager, attended beginning of October 2015 the expert team meeting on Surface Based Observations of the WMO Commission for Basic Systems in Tokyo, Japan. At the side lines he took the opportunity to present the Japanese Meteorological Agency, JMA, with GCOS' certificate of recognition for Japan's support of the GCOS Surface Network and GCOS Upper-Air Network stations, GSN and GUAN.

GCOS JMA Certificate

Tim Oakley (left) presenting the GCOS Certificate of Recognition to the Director General of JMA, Mr Noritake Nishide (right).

 

Carolin Richter, Director GCOS Secretariat, and Stephen Briggs, Chairman of the GCOS Steering Committee, presented the Certificate of Recognition to Linda Makuleni, Chief Executive Officer of the South-African Weather Service (SAWS) at the side-lines of the GCOS Steering Committee Meeting, from 29 September to 1 October 2015, in Simon's Town, South Africa.

GCOS SC-23 JMA Certif

(from left to right): Stephen Briggs, Linda Makuleni, Carolin Richter

 

Public Review of 2015 GCOS Status Report

The public review period of the 2015 GCOS Status Report, Status of the Global Observing System, has now finished.

Review comments are now being considered and a revised draft will be presented to the GCOS Steering Committee at the end of September for their approval.

If there are any late comments please send them to gcosreview@wmo.int as soon as possible so that they can be addressed before the meeting of the GCOS Steering Committee.

In November 2012, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change invited GCOS to submit a report on the assessment of the adequacy of the global observing systems for climate. The GCOS Secretariat and leading key experts have prepared a draft Status Report of the Global Observing System for Climate for submission to GCOS' sponsoring organizations and Parties to the UNFCCC. It reviews the overall status of each Essential Climate Variable, assesses progress against the GCOS Implementation Plan and identifies gaps. This report will be submitted to the 43rd session of the SBSTA, at UNFCCC`s Conference of the Parties, COP 21, to be held 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris. It is important for climate observations to improve understanding and prediction of climate change. The needs of climate services, such as adapting to climate change and variability, are evolving. In addition, the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in Paris will be important for future climate policies. Therefore, we would like to invite as wide a range of reviewers as possible to review this report in whole or the parts relevant to you, and submit comments to us. All comments will be considered by the authors.

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The report of the joint GCOS - UNFCCC - IPCCC workshop held on Bonn, Germany 10'12 February GCOS Workshop on Enhancing Observation to Support Preparedness and Adaption in a Changing Climate - Learning from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (GCOS-191) is now available. The final version of this file will be released as soon as possible.

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GCOS Programme Review

20 years of GCOS

After 20 years of operation, a review of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) programme was long overdue. The GCOS programme sponsors accepted the proposal for review, and in December 2012 the WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud appointed a Chair and invited the sponsors to nominate a Review Board.

The Review Board gathered evidence in four ways: 1) a self-assessment by current and former GCOS Steering Committee Chairs and former GCOS Secretariat Directors, 2) a survey questionnaire distributed to the broader GCOS community, 3) a number of targeted personal interviews with senior representatives of the GCOS programme sponsors, and 4) active and considered appraisal and interpretation of results by the Review Board members. The findings were summarized thus:

"There is no doubt that the GCOS programme should be continued. It is indispensable. If it ceased to exist it would need to be re-created. To make GCOS fit for the future, the GCOS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be redrafted on the basis of careful consideration of all its chapters and annexes. A revised MoU should reflect all items that were previously included, along with new understandings and commitments by sponsors, such as a better cooperation mechanism and an optimized structure for the Secretariat, Steering Committee and its Panels. This should be supported by a more stable financial foundation as a prerequisite for everything else."

The main outcomes of this review are summarized in a synthesis report:

pdf GCOS Review synthesis report - english                 pdfGCOS Review synthesis report - spanish

pdfGCOS Review synthesis report - french                   pdfGCOS Review synthesis report - russian

pdfGCOS Review synthesis report - chinese

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New GCOS panel brochures

GCOS has published new information brochures for both the GCOS/GTOS/WCRP Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC), as well as the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC). The science panels have been established to define the observations needed in the domains of atmosphere and land, to prepare scientific programme elements and to make recommendations for implementation.

Please find the new brochures here:

Brochure for the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC)

Brochure for the GCOS/GTOS/WCRP Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC)

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The concept of ECVs in support of climate research, applications, and policy

In September 2014, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has published a paper written by the GCOS community that describes the concept of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) developed under the Global Climate Observing System for a range of applications, as well as to provide an empirical basis for understanding past, current, and possible future climate variability and change.

The paper can be found here.

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Adrian Simmons handing over GCOS Steering Comittee Chair to Stephen Briggs

GCOS Chairman hand-over 2014

 

Adrian Simmons, who recently retired from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), has completed his four-year term as Chairman of the GCOS Steering Committee. Stephen Briggs (ESA) has accepted to chair the GCOS Steering Committee with effect from 1 March 2014. Carolin Richter (centre), Director of the GCOS Secretariat, met Adrian (left) and Stephen (right) for a brief hand-over ceremony at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT), based at the Harwell Science, Innovation and Business Campus in Oxfordshire, UK, on 3 April 2014. 

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Joint GCOS/GOFC-GOLD Workshop on Observations for Climate Change Mitigation

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), in collaboration with the Land Cover Project Office from the Global Observation for Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD), is organizing an international workshop from 5-7 May 2014 at WMO Headquarters in Geneva to consider the climate observation requirements to support mitigation to climate change. The workshop will bring together approximately 25 representatives of sectors in which mitigation to climate variability and climate change is, or is likely to become, an important concern. These also include the communities of agriculture, forestry, and land use.

The goals of the workshop are to identify observational requirements for mitigation, to review the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) and associated guidelines to determine their adequacy for mitigation, and to develop a plan to address these gaps and deficiencies identified. The workshop results will directly feed into the preparation of the next GCOS Progress Review and the new GCOS Implementation Plan, to be developed in the 2015-2016 timeframe.

Workshop documents and further information can be found here. The final workshop report can be found here.

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GCOS Reports by National Climate Observing Systems

The reports, prepared by National Climate Observing Systems, were developed in response to conclusions FCCC/SBSTA/2005/10 Paragraph 95 (2005) and FCCC/SBSTA/2007/L.14 (2007) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). They present the progress made in the implementation of GCOS on a national level, and give an overview of the observations made according to the list of GCOS Essential Climate Variables (ECVs).

Four reports have been published so far:

FINLAND - National Activities with Respect to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan, Finnish National Report on Systematic Observations for Climate, Finnish Meteorological Institute, November 2013

GERMANY - German Climate Observing Systems, Inventory report on the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Deutscher Wetterdienst, January 2013

GERMANY - Third Report of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on Systematic Climate Observations in Germany as a contribution to Germany's Fifth National Communication under UNFCCC, August 2009

pdfPDF

JAPAN - Japanese National Report on Systematic Observations for Climate - National Activities with Respect to the GCOS Implementation Plan, Japanese Meteorological Agency, August 2014 pdfPDF
NETHERLANDS - Climate Observation Systems in the Netherlands - National activities contributing to GCOS, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), October 2014 pdfPDF

SWITZERLAND - The National Climate Observing System, GCOS Switzerland, MeteoSuisse,October 2007

UNITED STATES - The United States National Report on Systematic Observations for Climate for 2008: National Activities with Respect to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan, Working Group of the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) on behalf of the US Government, September 2008

UNITED STATES -The United States Detailed National Report on Systematic Observations for Climate: US Global Climate Observing System (US GCOS) Program,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on behalf of the US Government, August 2001

pdfPDF

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Artist's impression of GCOS

GCOS encourages the use of Digital Object Identifiers

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) attribute a unique reference to an electronic data set. They provide a permanent identifier that links the user to the current version of the relevant data sets. In view of the growing importance of data sharing, scientific experts from both the Atmospheric and Terrestrial Observational Panel for Climate recently discussed DOIs, as these can help researchers to discover relevant data more easily and attribute the data in a way that appropriately acknowledges its source. DOIs will in future enable to measure data usage to estimate its impact and influence. GCOS Panels encourage international data centres to introduce DOIs for their data records of Essential Climate Variables and recommend dataset producers in general to follow this practice.

For more information on this topic, read the discussion paper from the 2013 Session of the Terrestrial Observing Panel for Climate (TOPC): pdfPDF

 

GCOS newsletter

 

The following GCOS reports have been published recently:

Minutes of the working Meeting for GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN), Geneva, Switzerland, 18 November 2015 GCOS-197 pdfPDF
Report of the Twenty-Third Session of the WMO-IOC-UNEP-ICSU Steering Committee for GCOS, Simon’s Town, South Africa, 29 September-1st October 2015 GCOS-196 pdfPDF
Status of the Global Observing System for Climate - Full Report GCOS-195 pdfPDF
Status of the Global Observing System for Climate: Executive Summary GCOS-194 pdfen_PDF pdffr_PDF
GCOS Workshop on Enhancing Observation to Support Preparedness and Adaptation in a Changing Climate - Learning from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. Bonn, Germany, 10-12 February 2015 GCOS-191 pdfPDF
Report of the 20th Session of the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC-20) WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland 17-20 March 2015 GCOS-190 pdfPDF
Report of the 17th Session of the GCOS/GTOS/WCRP Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC-17) WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland 16-18 March 2015 GCOS-189 pdfPDF
Report of the Twenty-Second Session of the WMO-IOC-UNEP-ICSU Steering Committee for GCOS, Geneva, Switzerland, 1-3 October 2014 GCOS-188 pdfPDF
Report of the Seventeenth Session of the GCOS/GOOS/WCRP Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), Barcelona, Spain, 21-23 July 2014 GCOS-187 pdfPDF
Summary Report of the Ninth Session of the GCOS Cooperation Mechanism Board, Bonn, Germany, 3 June 2014 GCOS-186 pdfPDF
Report of the joint GCOS/GOFC-GOLD Workshop on Observations for Climate Change Mitigation, Geneva, Switzerland, 5-7 May 2014 GCOS-185 pdfPDF

Report of the Tropical Pacific Observation System 2020 (TPOS 2020) Workshop, Vol.1 - Workshop report and recommendations, Vol.2 - White papers, La Jolla , United States, 27-30 January 2014

GCOS-184

Vol.1 pdfPDF

Vol.2 pdfPDF

Summary Report and Recommendations from the Nineteenth Session of the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC), Ispra, Italy , 9-11 April 2014 GCOS-183 pdfPDF
Workshop on the review of the GCOS Surface Network (GSN), GCOS Upper-Air Network (GUAN), and related atmospheric networks, Ispra, Italy, April 2014 GCOS-182 pdfPDF
GCOS Programme Review - Synthesis Report, Geneva, Switzerland, March 2014 GCOS-181

pdfPDF - english

pdfPDF - french

pdfPDF - spanish

pdfPDF - russian

pdfPDF - chinese

Report of the Fifth GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network Implementation and Coordination Meeting (GRUAN ICM-6), Greenbelt, USA, 10-14 March 2014 GCOS-180 pdfPDF
Summary Report of the Sixteenth Session of the GTOS/GCOS/WCRP Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC), Ispra, Italy, 10-11 March 2014 GCOS-179 pdfPDF
Scoping Meeting for the Assessment of the Adequacy of the Global Observing System for Climate, Geneva, Switzerland, 12-13 December 2013 GCOS-178 pdfPDF