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Global Producing Centers of Long-Range Forecasts (GPCs)

Global Producing Centres are WMO-certified centres, that assist WMO Members by providing operational long-range forecasts on the global scale as input for regional and national climate services.

Climate change and its potential impacts have boosted social demands for tailored climate services. By the same time, advances in science and technology provide a multitude of opportunities to build up sustained routines for such services. In order to meet WMO Members needs in enhanced service delivery capacities, a worldwide 3-level-structure has been implemented with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services acting on the national scale, Regional Climate Centres providing regional, continent-wide climate information and services and Global Producing Centres delivering global scale information and services.

The complex nature of the Earth’s climate system with processes like El Niño, with strong potentials of influencing climate patterns around the world, requires a systematic approach in order to forecast its behavior. Global predictions – covering phenomena like El Niño – set the frame, essentially needed for regional and local predictions. The process of computing long-range forecasts (forecast range from 30 days up to two years) on the global scale requires huge amounts of computer power along with a very specialized knowledge. Hence, provision of global scale services by some global centres enable WMO Members to focus their capacities on the local end user in order to provide best possible climate prediction services.

Global Producing Centres Centres are proposed by WMO Member States and follow a strict designation process through the WMO’s Technical Commissions for Climatology (CCl) and Basic Systems (CBS).

Through this designation process, GPCs adhere to certain well-defined standards – aiding consistency and usability of output:

  • a fixed forecast production cycle
  • a standard set of forecast products
  • WMO-defined verification standards (for retrospective forecasts)

A comprehensive set of standard verification measures, with which to communicate the skill of forecasts, has also been defined (the WMO Standard Verification System for Long-Range Forecasts – SVSLRF).

The primary users of an GPC are Regional Climate Centres, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and other GPCs including Lead Centres for the Standardised Verification System for Long-range Forecasts (Melbourne and Montreal) as well as for Long-range forecast multi-model ensemble (Seoul and NOAA/NCEP).

RCCs and NMHSs typically use GPC products as input for their Long-range Forecasting services vis-à-vis their end user community. Especially RCCs and RCOFs use global scale products to apply downscaling methods or Regional Climate Models to compute more precise predictions for certain regions. It is, however, important to note, that NMHSs retain the mandate and authority to provide the liaison with national user groups, and to issue advisories and warnings.

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