Global Cryosphere Watch

Global Cryosphere Watch

The WMO's Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) fosters international coordination and partnerships between scientific and operational communities with the goal of meeting the cryosphere data and information need of Members adn partners, in support of Earth system monitoring, modeling and prediction.

GCW operates under the remit of the Infrastructure Commission (INFCOM).

GCW is the crosscutting activity area of WMO mandated to support Members in sustainably enhancing their capabilities for observing all components of the cryosphere, for accessing and utilizing the cryospheric data and for developing value-added analyses and indicators based on in-situ, space-based, and airborne observations of the cryosphere, as well as models, to meet defined information needs at the core of the WMO Strategic Plan, 2020-2023, and the WMO Water Ambitions


The 73rd session of the WMO Executive Council (EC-73) approved the GCW pre-operational plan and the key deliverables of GCW cover:

  • Cryosphere Observing Requirements: to support Earth system applications, in the framework of the WMO Rolling Review of Requirements (RRR) process;
  • Integration: Increased use of cryospheric data for coupled assimilation (ocean cryosphere-atmosphere–land) in numerical weather prediction, operational analyses, climate reanalyses, and model verification, and a framework to assess the state of the cryosphere and its interactions within the Earth System;
  • Standardization: Enhance the quality of observational data by improving observing standards and best practices for the measurement of essential cryospheric variables, as an integral part of WIGOS;
  • Improve exchange of, access to, and utilization of the cryosphere data and information products observations and products from WMO observing systems and those of its partners, as part of WIS. This includes near real-time access to available data as well as well documented climate records.
  • Mutually beneficial partnerships between scientists and practitioners and between operational and scientific communities underpinning the delivery of these goals and facilitate the increased access to information on the accelerated changes in the environment and supporting effective hydrometeorological and climate services.