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Data Management in support of the Marine Meteorology and Oceanography Programme (MMOP)

The primary objective of the JCOMM Data Management Programme Area (DMPA) is to implement and maintain a fully integrated end-to-end data management system across the entire marine meteorology and oceanographic community. Additionally the programme area will offer its expertise to assist other groups (e.g. OOPC) to specify and implement their own data management requirements, with the overall goal of integrating their data management into the overall end-to end data management system.

WMO is cooperating with the IOC of UNESCO International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE), and is also directly providing support to JCOMM data management activities through a number of expert teams and programmes listed below.

Specific activities and data management topics:


MCSS - Marine Climatological Summaries Scheme

The MCSS, established in 1964 (see celebration of the MCSS 50th Aniversary at CLIMAR-4 here), has as its primary objective the international exchange, quality control and archival of delayed mode marine climatological data, in support of global climate studies and the provision of a range on marine climatological services.  Eight countries are designated to process the data and regularly publish the climatological summaries. Two Global Data Collecting Centres (GCC) were established in 1993 in Germany and the United Kingdom to facilitate and enhance the flow and quality control of the data.  All data are eventually archived in the appropriate World Data Centres, such as the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Modernization of the MCSS: JCOMM and its Data Management Coordination Group recommended a review and restructuring of the MCSS and requested the ETMC—in liaison with the JCOMM Expert Team on Wind Waves and Storm Surges (ETWS), the Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI), the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl), and the joint CCl/CLIVAR/JCOMM Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI)—to explore how oceanographic and ice climatologies could be coordinated with the marine meteorological data, so that the results could be viewed as an integrated product.

At its Second Session, Geneva, Switzerland, October 2006, the DMCG agreed on the need for modernization of the management of the two separate functions of the MCSS:

  • The delayed-mode VOS data handling
  • The preparation of the Marine Climatological Summaries (MCS)

Several developments took place since then with work achieved through task teams. A proposal for establishing a Marine Climate Data System (MCDS, see below) to eventually replace the MCSS was agreed upon by JCOMM at its fourth Session in Yeosu, Republic of Korea, 23-31 May 2012, and Recommendation 2 (JCOMM-4) on the MCDS adopted.

Marine Climate Data System (MCDS)

According to the vision fora Marine Climate Data System (MCDS) in 2020 (Annex 1 to Recommendation 2 of JCOMM-4) JCOMM will strive to address the WMO and IOC applications requirements for appropriate marine-meteorological and oceanographic climatological data (met-ocean climate data), and particularly address those for long term climate monitoring (Global Climate Observing System – GCOS), seasonal to inter-annual climate forecasts, for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), and ocean climate requirements of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

To address those requirements, the Vision for a Marine Climate Data System (MCDS) is to formalize and coordinate the activities of existing systems, and address gaps to produce a dedicated WMO-IOC data system operational by 2020 in the view to have compiled coherent met-ocean climate datasets of known quality, extending beyond the GCOS Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). These will be of known quality collected from multiple sources to be served on a free and unrestricted basis to the end users through a global network of less than ten WMO-IOC Centres for Marine-Meteorological and Oceanographic Climate Data (CMOCs) covering specific JCOMM data domains. Data, metadata and information will be fully interoperable with the WMO Information System (WIS) and the IOC/IODE Ocean Data Portal (ODP), will be compatible with, and contribute to the High Quality Global Data Management System for Climate (HQ-GDMSC) that is being developed by the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl).

This system is expected to improve timescales for met-ocean climate data availability, facilitate the exchange of historical met-ocean climate data sets between countries, and thereby increase the amount of ocean observations eventually made available to the relevant end user applications. Furthermore, integrated data and metadata will be available containing comprehensive dataset information e.g. historic details on current and past data codes and formats.

The data management structure will be standardized, well defined and documented for existing and new data across JCOMM activities and state of the art marine climate and statistical products will be easily accessible.

The development of the MCDS requires using state of the art integrated and standardized international systems for the improved data and metadata-flow and management of a wide range of met-ocean climate data. This includes integrating collection, rescue, quality control, formatting, archiving, exchange, and access of in situ and satellite sources. This system will be based on improved quality management, documenting processes and procedures, using higher level quality control, added value data processing, including bias correction, and comparison of the observations with satellite and meteorological and oceanographic model gridded fields.

It is expected that the relevant data and associated metadata will be of known quality, and extend to products that satisfy the met-ocean climate data requirements for climate monitoring, forecasting, and services.

Table driven codes

Most of the requirements for the encoding of marine observational data to be distributed in real-time need to be relayed to the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) for adoption. Considering the diversity of the requirements, the number of groups and Panels involved, and cross-cutting issues, JCOMM has established a Task Team on Table Driven Codes (TT-TDC) under the DMPA. TT-TDC is responsible for collecting all JCOMM-related coding requirements, for compiling them in a consolidated JCOMM proposal and for submitting them to the CBS Inter-Programme Expert Team on Data Representation Maintenance and Monitoring (IPET-DRMM). A representative from the group can also represent JCOMM in the CBS IPET-DRMM.


Platform/Instrument metadata (description of the observing platforms, siting of the instruments, platform identification and operator, etc.) are important for operational applications, climate studies, quality monitoring, instrument evaluation, and programme operations. A number of activities relate to instrumental metadata as far as marine applications are concerned. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Metadata on Ocean Data Acquisition Systems (ODAS) are provided by the National Marine Data & Information Service, China (NMDIS) through the trial WMO-IOC Centre for Marine-Meteorological and Oceanographic Climate Data (CMOC) of China.
  • WMO Provides for the management of observing ship metadata through its Publication No. 47.
  • The Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) is working at defining a format for the collection of instrument/platform metadata of moored buoys.
  • JCOMMOPS is directly collecting metadata from in situ observing platform operators and providing such information on-line.

The ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition Systems) Metadata Service (ODASMS) is provided by

Ocean Data Standards (ODS)

JCOMM and IODE have established a process to manage the development of standards and broad communication of both the process and results. This includes:

  • A pilot project organized under the IODE/JCOMM ETDMP that will further refine the process and apply it to the standard candidates recommended by the Forum;
  • Documenting the standards process and promoting it at national and international meetings where appropriate;
  • Establishing close collaboration with other organizations such as GEOSS, Ocean.US, and World Data Centers immediately to widely advertise and promote the adopted standards;
  • A web site ( with a clear identity related to ocean data standards
  • Undertaking other communication to further promote the Process and adopted standards.

More information can be found here.

Quality Management

See details here.

GDSIDB - Global Digital Sea Ice Data Bank

This project, the GDSIDB, initiated in 1989 in support of global climate monitoring, research and prediction, as well as specialized services, has as its primary objective to implement a consolidated data bank of digital sea-ice information. Several countries are participating, and contribute to the merging of digitized sea-ice data into a single data bank. The two main centres are the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, USA and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St Petersburg, Russian Federation. Comprehensive data sets now exist for the Arctic Ocean and other northern hemisphere sea ice areas, for the period from the 1960s to the present. Some digital data for the Antarctic are also available.

GTSPP - Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Programme

A cooperative international programme, the GTSPP maintains a global ocean T-S resource with data that are both up-to-date and of the highest quality possible. Both real-time data transmitted over the (GTS), and delayed-mode data received by contribution countries are acquired and quality controlled by the Integrated Science Data Management (ISDM, Canada) and eventually incorporated into a continuously managed database maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), USA.  Countries contributing data to the project are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

GOSUD - Global Ocean Surface Underway Data Pilot Project

A cooperative international programme, the GOSUD is seeking the collection, data processing, archiving, and real-time distribution of Ssea Surface Salinity (SSS) and other variables collected underway, by research vessels and ship of opportunity.

GOSIC - Global Observing System Information Center

The Global Observing System Information Center (GOSIC) provides information on the observing requirements, the operational data systems, and the access procedures for finding and obtaining data and products of the G3OS. The G3OS consists of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS). GOSIC is supported by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. GOSIC is housed at the University of Delaware, USA.
(page last updated 7 October, 2015 )



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