Climate Data Management Systems (CDMSs)
Long-term, high-quality and reliable climate instrumental time series are key information required in undertaking robust and consistent assessments in order to better understand, detect, predict and respond to global climate variability and change.
The benefit areas include climate monitoring, climate studies and predictions, calibration of satellite data, generation of climate high quality reanalyses data, translating climate proxy evidence into instrumental terms.
WMO Climate Database Management Systems (CDMSs) offer improved data access and security and much greater utility for users. Today, with the Internet delivering greatly improved data access capabilities data management is evolving as an integral part of the WMO Information System (WIS) architecture at national level, thus allowing easy discovery, access and retrieval of historical climate data to the benefit of various users of climate information and services. Any climate database will be based on some underlying model of the data. This model is very important for the quality of the resulting system, and in particular for its maintainability. An inappropriate model will tend to make the system harder to maintain. A requisite part of the quality management of an NMHS is the data Quality Control (QC) process. Quality Control processes should ensure that data is checked and, to the extent possible, is error-free. All errors and mistakes coming from the station site, instrument/sensor, data transmission or data entry stages must be detected and eliminated and, if possible, these should be replaced by correct values (while retaining the original values).
WMO in collaboration with Members reviewed several Climate Database Management Systems (CDMSs) available to WMO members for purchase. Although sometimes more expensive and complex from a technological perspective (and therefore requiring more specialist skills to administer), the new CDMSs offer improved data access and security and much greater utility for users. Relational databases had proven their worth in several NMHSs.
Aside from advances in database technologies, more efficient data capture was made possible through the mid-to-late 1990s with an increase in Automatic Weather Stations (AWSs), electronic field books (i.e. on-station notebook computers used to enter, quality control and transmit observations), the Internet and other advances in technology.
The CCl Expert Team on Climate Database Management developed a guideline document applicable in accordance with the principles of, and as a complement to, the Guide to Climatological Practices (available on CD or via Internet):