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Development of a Global Seasonal Climate Update


WMO has been issuing consensus-based El Niño/La Niña Updates on a quasi-regular basis over the past more than a decade, providing useful information on these events of significant importance to regional climate impacts.  There has been a widely expressed need to expand on these products, to provide more comprehensive information on the seasonal climate.  The Fifteenth Session of the World Meteorological Congress (May 2007, Geneva), while appreciating the WMO El Niño and La Niña Updates, recommended that other large-scale indices having regional impacts be considered for future Updates. There have been rapid advances in seasonal prediction in recent years, and a number of centres are routinely producing operational seasonal predictions.  It is considered important that the available multiple sources of monitoring and prediction products be appropriately consolidated, synthesized and communicated to the society as a consensus-based update, including the aspects of the robustness as well as uncertainty in the available information.

Accordingly, the concept for a Global Seasonal Climate Update (GSCU) has been elaborated, for further development under the guidance of the Commission for Climatology (CCl) and the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS).  This new initiative was endorsed by World Meteorological Congress in May 2011. The GSCU, with a vision to be issued on a regular basis by WMO, is expected to summarise the current status (monitoring) and the expected future behaviour (prediction) of major general circulation features and large-scale oceanic anomalies around the globe (e.g., ENSO, North Atlantic Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole, etc.) and to discuss briefly its likely impacts on continental-scale temperature and precipitation patterns. The GSCU is proposed to be designed, and thereby standardised, in a way that allows for comparing qualitatively the climate monitoring results of the current issue with the respective climate outlook issued in the previous issue.

GSCUs are expected to be used primarily by Regional Climate Centres (RCCs), Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) and NMHSs in order to elaborate regional and national climate updates, and also by global user communities as well as the general public.

GSCU Scoping Meeting

In order to facilitate the scoping and development of GSCU, an international expert meeting was held, under the auspices of both CCl and CBS, from 12 to 14 October 2010 at WMO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.


The GSCU Scoping Meeting was attended by representatives from potential globally-acting user organizations, by communication experts as well as by representatives from NMHSs and regional and global centres providing climate monitoring and prediction information. The meeting discussed the GSCU concept and proposed to focus primarily on its development to serve the specific needs of RCCs, RCOFs and NMHSs in order to elaborate their regional and national climate updates. In parallel, prospects of a GSCU version to be targeted at global user communities as well as the general public will be considered.  The Scoping Meeting developed a GSCU outline and recommended on its further evolution leading to a pilot phase to build, demonstrate and implement the GSCU on a sustainable basis. The meeting provided valuable inputs for the CCl Task Team on GSCU to co-ordinate the further development of the GSCU.

Final report of the GSCU Scoping Meeting is available here.

CCl Task Team on GSCU

CCl has formed a Task Team on GSCU (CCl TT-GSCU) to lead the follow-up activities, including a pilot phase, to build, demonstrate and implement the GSCU on a sustainable basis. The CCl TT-GSCU met on 15 October 2010 at Geneva, Switzerland, and reviewed the outcomes of the preceding Expert Meeting on Scoping GSCU, to formulate its work accordingly.  The final report of the meeting of the CCl TT-GSCU is available here.




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