WMO Commission for Climatology Circular Letter
19 September 2017

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Potential Reorganization of WMO

WMO is currently in the midst of determining whether and how it should reorganize the eight WMO technical commissions. I will be participating in a meeting of the Executive Council’s Working Group on Strategic and Operational Planning focused on this topic in mid-October. This Working Group’s recommendation will be considered by the Executive Council at their June 2018 meeting, which in turn will make a recommendation to be addressed by the WMO Congress in 2019. In the mean time, the quadrennial Commission for Climatology (CCl) meeting (CCl-17) is scheduled for March 2018. So while we can make plans for CCl that take into account some of the concerns and needs driving potential WMO reorganization, we have to move forward before a final decision is made.

Potential Reorganization of the Commission for Climatology

The main topic for discussion at our July 2017 CCl Management Group (MG) meeting was how CCl should be reorganized. The biggest change we agreed to recommend to CCl-17 is that two of our five Open PAnels of CCl Experts (OPACEs) be combined. (We also agreed to recommend that in the future OPACEs should be referred to as Focus Areas.) There are two reasons why we think that OPACE 1 on Climate Data Management and OPACE 2 on Climate Monitoring and Assessment will be more effective in the future when combined into a single Focus Area on Climate Monitoring, Data and Assessment. The first is because, essentially, we view data rescue, management, quality control, and homogeneity testing, and using those data for climate monitoring and assessments, as part of a continuum. The second reason is because of the recent successes OPACEs 1 and 2 have achieved.

For example, currently we have a joint Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ET-CCDI), which developed a suite of indices derived from daily data that highlight how extremes are changing. The ET-CCDI held workshops around the world that helped NMHS staff calculate these indices and determine how the climate in their countries was changing. These analyses contributed directly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. But now the team’s main challenge is updating these indices. We also have an Expert Team on National Climate Monitoring Products, which is finalizing software that will allow an NMHS to easily monitor their country’s climate. So to move on to the next stage, akin to the common challenge of transferring research to operations, CCl’s MG is recommending that these two teams be replace by a single Expert Team on Operational Climate Monitoring, whose mission will be to help every NMHS monitor their climate every month and update the ET-CCDI’s suite of indices. Not only will this information help the IPCC paint an up-to-date global picture of climate change, it will raise local awareness of our changing climate while increasing the visibility of participating NMHSs.

Another example is that our Expert Team on Data Rescue created an International Data Rescue Portal. And our Expert Team on Climate Data Base Management Systems is finalizing a manual on climate data management. In recognition that the next step in data rescue is integrating data rescue into standard data management practices, we are proposing that these two teams be replaced by a single Expert Team on Data Rescue and Management.

There are many additional CCl successes to talk about and build upon. These will be presented at a Technical Conference (TECO) at CCl-17 to inform Commission members and guide next steps.

At the CCl-17 meeting scheduled for March 2018, the current structure (http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/ccl/cclstructure.php) and all the team memberships will end and new teams will be formed. The future structure and teams that the MG is recommending are listed below, though please keep in mind that the final decision on which teams to form will be made by CCl-17. More details, including proposed terms of reference and deliverables, will be provided to CCl-17. We are expecting WMO to send out a call for nominations for membership in these teams in a few weeks and I’ll provide further information on that in my next circular letter late this year or early next year.

On behalf of the Commission for Climatology, we wish you a happy and productive rest of the year,


Thomas C. Peterson, Ph.D.
President, WMO Commission for Climatology



Proposed Structure for CCl-17 (2018-2022) (as recommended by CCl Management Group)

Focus Area 1: Climate Monitoring, Data and Assessment

1.1 Climate Observations

  • 1.1a Rapporteur on developing reference observing networks and long term observing stations
    • Mission: Provide guidance on requirements and criteria for developing reference observing networks, with special focus on climate change aspects.

  • 1.1b CCl Advisor on minimum requirements for specific climate applications on using non-NMHSs and volunteer networks (sitting in CCl- MG to liaise with CSIS, WIGOS, and GCOS)
    • Mission: Provide advice on minimum data and metadata requirements for specific climate applications on using non-NMHS and volunteer networks

1.2 Expert Team on Data Rescue and Management

  • Mission: Oversee implementation of WMO international data rescue initiative, provide guidance on projects and maintain and update CDMS specifications and user support

1.3 Expert Team on Data Development and Stewardship

  • Mission: Provide guidance on quality control, homogeneity, uncertainty, traceability and maturity of climate data, and liaise with other programmes to pursue unified approaches to manage data for climate services

1.4 Working Group on Climate Data Exchange

  • Mission: Support implementation of and compliance with Resolution 60 (Cg-17), including through review and definitions of data requirements as well as promotion of mechanisms and incentives

1.5 Expert Team on Climate Policy Support

  • Mission: Support regular and high-quality WMO Climate Statements, ensure synergy with IPCC and GCOS on climate indicators, lead assessments of world records on weather and climate extremes and guide use of climate change information

1.6 Expert Team on Operational Climate Monitoring

  • Mission: Provide guidance to NMHSs and RCCs on tools, techniques and software for operational climate monitoring and assessment related products, including the promotion of the use of remote sensed data

Focus Area 2: Climate Services Information System (CSIS) Operations

2.1 Inter-Programme Expert Team on Regional Climate Activities (Joint CCl/CBS)

  • Mission: Support RCC and RCOF operations, including technical guidance and assessment for formal designation of RCCs, on the entire range of CSIS functions

2.2 Inter-Programme Expert Team on Operational Prediction on Subseasonal to Longer-time Scales (Joint CBS/CCl)

  • Mission: Provide guidance on operational climate prediction on global scale and their optimal utilization at regional and national scales

2.3 Task Team on Climate Services Toolkit and Downscaling

  • Mission: Lead the development and deployment of the Climate Services Toolkit on regional and national scales and development of guidance on downscaling of seasonal predictions/projections

2.4 Expert Team on Tailoring Climate Information (This team is joint with Focus Area 3 and is the same team listed as ET 3.4)

  • Mission: Provide guidance on the tailoring of climate information for user level decision making, including good practices on the applications of climate information

Focus Area 3: Climate Services for Societal Benefits

3.1 Expert Team on Climate Risk Management

  • Mission: Demonstrate regional approaches to climate risk management and effective user engagement, and provide guidance on national implementation

3.2 Expert Team on Sector-specific Climate Indices

  • Mission: Enhance software tool for sector-specific climate indices, and expand the community of developers and facilitate customization to meet region-specific needs

3.3 Expert Team on National Frameworks for Climate Services (NFCS)

  • Mission: Provide guidance on establishing NFCS including NCOFs, accessing relevant global/regional products, linking to National/Regional/Global Strategies, and complement National Platforms for DRR and climate change adaptation

3.4 Expert Team on Tailoring Climate Information (This team is joint with Focus Area 2 and is the same team listed as ET 2.4)

  • Mission: Provide guidance on the tailoring of climate information for user level decision making, including good practices on the applications of climate information

Focus Area 4: Capacity Development for Climate Services

4.1 Expert Team on Human Resources Development

  • Mission: Provide guidance on implementation of competencies and performance criteria for climate services. Advise on curriculum and training modules for climatology to be used by Regional Training Centers (RTCs) in coordination with WMO’s ETR Programme.

4.2 Task Team on Guide to Climatological Practices

  • Mission: To keep WMO Mandatory Publication 100, the Guide to Climatological Practices, up to date and incorporating the current state of the science in the Guide.

4.3 Expert Team on Communication and Outreach

  • Mission: Advise on the best communication skills and policy on climate information in coordination with the WMO Secretariat and its co-sponsored bodies (e.g. IPCC, GCOS and WCRP).

4.4 Expert Team on Capacity Development for Service Delivery including Quality Management

  • Mission: Liaise with Focus Area 3 to advise on capacity development for delivery of climate services by NMHSs and contribute to GFCS pillar in this area also provide training material to facilitate implementation of QM in climate services in NMHSs and provide guidance to NMHS transitioning to the new standard of ISO9001:2015.

Implementation Coordination Team on Climate Services Information System.

Given this team’s work crosses all CCl Focus Areas as well as other WMO Technical Commissions, this team will be constituted by the President after CCl-17.

  • Mission: Advise and coordinate across CCl, ensuring the involvement of all the Focus Areas, on developments and contributions to the CSIS in close liaison with GFCS implementation projects