News  Contact  Publications  Calendar  Site map


Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC)

The Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate was set up to develop a balanced and integrated system of in situ, air- and spaceborne observations of the terrestrial system. The Panel focuses on the identification of terrestrial observation requirements, assisting the establishment of observing networks for climate, providing guidance on observation standards and norms, facilitating access to ECV and climate data and information and its assimiliation, and promoting climate studies and assessments. TOPC is jointly sponsored by GCOS and by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

Key activities

Terms of Reference

Recognizing the need for specific and technical input concerning terrestrial observations for climate purposes, the sponsoring organizations of GTOS and the GCOS have jointly established TOPC with the following terms of reference:

  1. To define the requirements for long-term monitoring of terrestrial properties for climate and climate change;
  2. To liaise with relevant research and operational communities to identify measurable terrestrial (biosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere) properties and attributes which
    • control the physical, biological and chemical processes affecting climate,
    • are themselves affected by climate change, are indicators of climate change and provide information on impacts of climate change;
  3. To assess and monitor the adequacy of terrestrial observing networks (in-situ, satellite-based), promote their integration and promote the development of their capacity to measure terrestrial properties and exchange climate data and information;
  4. To identify gaps in present systems and design, promote and periodically revise plans for a long-term systematic observing system that fills these gaps, makes the data available and so better serves the needs of the research and operational communities;
  5. To coordinate activities with other global observing system panels and task groups to ensure consistency of requirements with the overall programmes;
  6. Publish and update GCOS/GTOS studies and planning documents;
  7. To liaise with the other GCOS panels, WCRP steering groups and other relevant entities, such as WMO Commissions and CEOS, on terrestrial climate observing system issues., and also to other GTOS panels, where relevant.
  8. Carry out agreed assignments from the GCOS and GTOS Steering Committees;
  9. Report regularly to the GCOS Steering Committee and GTOS Steering Committee on issues related to the terrestrial component of GCOS.


Global Terrestrial Networks (GTNs)


Joint Session of TOPC-XVII and AOPC-XX



Members (6 March 2013)

Prof. Konrad Steffen (Chairman)
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
CH-8903 Birmensdorft

Dr Jean-Francois Crétaux
Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales  
Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (LEGOS/CNES)
14 Avenue Edouard Berlin
31400 Toulouse

Mr Ulrich Looser
Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC)
Federal Institute of Hydrology
P.O. Box 200253
56002 Koblenz

Prof. Shaun Quegan
Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics
Sheffield Centre for Earth Observation Science
University of Sheffield, Hicks Building
Hounsfield Road
Sheffield S3 7RH

Dr Kevin Tansey
Department of Geography
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Dr Michel Verstraete
Chief Scientist
SANSA Earth Observation
Enterprise Building
Mark Shuttleworth Street, Innovation Hub
Pretoria 0087  |  PO Box 484
Silverton, 0127
South Africa

Mr Valery Vuglinskiy
State Hydrological Institute of Roshydromet
23, Second Line
199053 St. Petersburg
Russian Federation

Prof. Wolfgang Wagner
Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (I.P.F.)
Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien)
Gusshausstrasse 27-29
1040 Vienna

Dr Michael Zemp
Word Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS)
Department of Geography
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstr. 190
8057 Zürich