Meteorology has made significant progress in the quality and diversity of weather forecast services since the launch of the first meteorological satellites in 1957/1958 gave rise to the World Weather Watch (WWW) in 1963. But current societal challenges – due to the unfolding impacts of climate change – demand further evolution of the Earth observation network: an upgrading of the global space- and surface-based observing systems and the adoption of a new and integrated approach that incorporates recent scientific and technical advances. This is the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) of the World Weather Watch. WIGOS is enhancing understanding of our Earth System and facilitating the production of weather and climate services and products, through the provision of more and better observations.
|An aerial view of a fishing village, Guiwan, Philippines, devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan, 11 November 2013|
WIGOS provides an over-arching framework for the coordination and optimized evolution of existing observing systems, which will continue to be owned and operated by a diverse array of organizations and programmes. It supports better use of existing and emerging observational capabilities. Although aimed primarily at improving the WMO observing systems, it also interfaces with co-sponsored and non-WMO observing systems, thereby engaging the essential regional and national actors for the successful integration of these systems.
WIGOS became operational in 2016. Regional and national implementation is now underway, following approval by respective WMO Regional Associations and national authorities of their tailored WIGOS implementation plans. The immediate goal is to facilitate the production of weather and climate services and products for the five intitial priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) – agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, energy, health and water.
WIGOS achieves interoperability and compatibility through the application of internationally accepted standards and best practices. Data compatibility is supported by the use of standardized data representation and formats. WIGOS aims to improve the quality and availability of data and metadata in order to develop capacity and to improve accessibility.
The principal areas of standardization include all the components of instruments and methods of observation, including surface-based and spacebased elements (observations and their metadata); WMO Information System (WIS) exchange as well as discovery, access and retrieval services; and data management (data processing, quality control, monitoring and archiving). Thus, the implementation of WIGOS focused on integrating governance and management mechanisms, functions and activities among the contributing systems.