WMO helps its Members to monitor the Earth’s climate on a global scale so that reliable information is available to support evidence-based decision-making on how to best adapt to a changing climate and manage risks associated with climate variability and extremes. Climate information is essential for monitoring the success of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, as well as for promoting efforts to increase energy efficiency and to transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
Scientists have been observing changes in the climate that cannot be attributed solely to natural influences. These changes are occurring rapidly, are significant, and will have consequences for this and future generations. Changes in climate variability and extremes driven by human-induced climate change are some of the key challenges facing humanity.
Our understanding of the Earth’s climate is rooted in observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land surface – including hydrological and carbon cycles and the cryosphere – based on space, aircraft, balloon and surface monitoring systems. Observations are made by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHMHs); marine, oceanographic and space agencies; and operational and research organizations. To ensure that data are accessible and discoverable for climate research, applications and services, assessments and climate policy, WMO helps Members with data rescue activities and access to climate information from climate data centres. To ascertain that climate observations gathered locally can be shared internationally, WMO and partner organizations collaborate on providing guidance on what is essential for observing our climate, based on a shared set of climate monitoring principles. The land and upper-air stations recognized by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) comprise the best possible set of stations required for climate monitoring. Through its mechanism for recognizing long-term observing stations, WMO highlights the commitment of NMHSs to operating networks dedicated to continuously and sustainably monitoring our climate.
WMO coordinates research related to weather, climate and atmospheric composition. The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) brings together the best expertise to address key climate science challenges using a multidisciplinary approach – organizing large-scale observational and modelling projects and providing an international forum to align the efforts of thousands of climate scientists working to provide the best possible climate information. WCRP works closely with the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) on a variety of topics, including examining the linkages between climate and extreme weather. Partners in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) compile reliable scientific data and information on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and its natural and anthropogenic change. This helps to improve the understanding of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. Other work by WMO aims to improve observations, ensure their consistency, and store and disseminate the results.
Monitoring and Prediction Systems
Predictions and projections of future climate are made possible by a combination of international modelling efforts, observations of past climate, and scenarios of potential future greenhouse gas emissions. Such climate projections underpin the expert Assessment Reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and guides the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. Monitoring shorter-term climate conditions and predicting what the next season will bring or how our climate will change in coming years is critical for sustainable development and is an important component of climate adaptation and climate services. WMO collaborates with its Members to issue global seasonal predictions such as the El Niño/La Niña Update and the Global Seasonal Climate Update to help different sectors make climate-smart decisions. The WMO designation process for Global Producing Centres for Long-Range Forecasts (GPCLRFs) helps ensure the consistency and usability of forecast production cycles, products and verification standards. The services provided by these centres set the context essential for predicting climate on regional scales by Regional Climate Centres and Regional Climate Outlook Forums, and on local scales by NMHSs.
Climate services provide individuals, organizations and socio-economic sectors with science-based information to help them mitigate the risks and take advantage of the opportunities that come with climate variability and change. The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) helps countries develop and use climate services, and provides a platform for guiding and assisting activities implemented in climate-sensitive investment areas in support of climate adaptation and mitigation. As such, it contributes to achieving global and national goals identified in policy frameworks such as the Paris Agreement adopted under the UNFCCC in 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among others. The Framework has five priority areas: agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, energy, health and water.
WMO supports UNFCCC through a wide range of scientific and technical inputs, including its support through the IPCC, thereby contributing to adaptation, mitigation and capacity development. Every year, WMO participates in sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) of UNFCCC, providing the latest scientific advice and information to governments, including the Statement on the State of the Global Climate and the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
The vision of Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is for all users to have access to the climate observations, data records and information they need to address pressing...