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Guide to Climatological Practices

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Guide to Climatological PracticesThe 3rd Edition of the Guide to Climatological Practices (WMO No. 100) has gone through extensive verification both internally in the WMO Secretariat and externally by a group of selected reviewers who met in Geneva, September 2009 (right after the WCC-3).

The verification process was supervised by Dr Ned Guttman, NOAA, USA, who previously served as an author and an editor for the guide. The guide has been confirmed by CCl-XV, February 2010 and EC-LXII, June 2010.

WMO wishes to place on record the gratitude to all those who have contributed to the third edition of the Guide to Climatological Practices (WMO No.100).


Download the Third Edition of the Guide to Climatological Practices

The Guide is also available in:

>> Get the latest updates (19 January 2016)

Download chapters

If you are interested only in a specific topic, please select the relevant chapter.



Chapter 1:


Information on climatology and its scope, the organization and functions of a national climate service and international climate programmes.

Chapter 2:

Climate observations, stations and networks

Specifies the elements needed to describe climate and the stations at which these elements are measured, instrumentation, siting of stations, network design and network operations.

Chapter 3:

Climate data management

Information on the value of climate data, the importance and purpose of managing data, international standards, climate data management system (CDMS), quality control and data rescue.

Chapter 4:

Characterizing climate from datasets

Descriptive statistics used to reduce an otherwise large amount of data to an understandable form. Many methods described are best used with computers to process and display the data.

Chapter 5:

Statistical methods for analysing datasets

Introduces statistical concepts and methods available to climatologists, but does not provide detailed specifics of complex subjects.

Chapter 6:

Services and products

Looks at the dissemination of climate information to the public or specific users and strong partnerships among NMHSs and stakeholders, including government agencies, private interests and academia. Climate services are required to interpret and apply past climate information for decision-making, sustainable development, and to improve climate information products.

Annex 1:


Provides the list of acronyms used in this guide

Annex 2:

International climate activities

Reviews developments in international coordination and efforts to tackle deficiencies in the understanding of climate. Explores how climate impacts society and the environment, while some changes are beneficial and others detrimental.


The latest updates are available here below

WMO Climatological Standard Normals, chapter 4, item 4.8, updated 19.01.2016

Congress, through Resolution 16 (Cg-17), endorsed the recommendation of CCl-16: "The Climatological Standard Normal be calculated every 10 years at the start of every new decade having year digit 1; to serve as the updated official Climatological Standard Normal; that it applies to the most recent 30-year period, with 1981–2010 being the new current standard; and that for specific purpose of long-term climate change monitoring, the period 1961–1990 be retained as a reference period in perpetuity or until such time as a compelling scientific case to change it arises".

How to get the most updated version

The Guide to Climatological Practices is a “living” document which is updated periodically. As updates of various chapters are issued, they are published on and accessible through this web page.  Optionally, you can register to receive notifications of updates to the guide.

» Register to stay informed of updates to the guide


Contact us

Users of the Guide are invited to provide WMO with their comments and suggestions for its further improvement.  Please use the e-mail address below for comments, corrections or questions regarding the Guide.



World Meteorological Organization, 7bis, avenue de la Paix, CP No. 2300, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland - Tel.: +41(0)22 730 81 11 - Fax: +41(0)22 730 81 81
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