The Earth system approach
The quest to project future climate change has over the last two decades resulted in the development of increasingly sophisticated Earth System Models (ESMs), which simulate not only the coupled ocean-atmosphere system but also the global carbon cycle, and several other aspects of atmospheric chemistry and ocean biochemistry. Increasingly ESMs are representing the fully coupled ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere-biosphere-land system and they are applied over shorter time scales. These models make feasible a range of environmental predictions beyond the reach of traditional numerical weather prediction (NWP), including predictions of ocean currents, wind-waves and swells, ocean biochemistry such as algae blooms, hydrology such as stream flow and dam yield, volcanic ash transport, fire outbreaks and spread, atmospheric chemistry (e.g. aerosols, stratospheric ozone) and the global carbon cycle. These Earth System component predictions are of operational importance in terms of managing high-impact environmental events, disaster risk reduction and mitigation processes, as well as for adaptation or planning at multi-decadal time scales.
Advances in supercomputing over the last decade have furthered environmental predictions. Larger ensembles of NWP with increased horizontal and vertical resolutions are generated across all time scales. These developments clearly indicate the potential to evolve Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS) from its current form to a seamless platform, covering predictions for all time scales from minutes to centuries and encapsulating everything known about the Earth system which involves the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere, along with all of the interconnections and feedbacks among them.
Future Integrated, Seamless Global Data Processing and Forecasting System Collaborative Framework
A way forward for vision for a future Seamless Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (S/GDPFS) was approved by the World Meteorological Congress. Building on the existing architecture, the future S/GDPFS will become a flexible and adaptable ecosystem of independent centres that will expand and strengthen prediction of the environment, making impact-based forecasts and risk-based warnings accessible, thus enabling Members and partners to make better-informed decisions. The GDPFS evolution will allow the generation of products and delivery of services in environmental areas beyond the original paradigm of weather delivery system. It will take advantage of technological and social developments in order to increase its usefulness and maintain its relevance to Members by taking a verifiable Earth system approach.
The S/GDPFS will provide standardized state-of-the-art interfaces to facilitate partnerships and collaboration globally and regionally among jurisdictions, academia and the private sector to access and make available related information of relevance to the mandate of WMO across all timescales and domains of the Earth system. The S/GDPFS will, as much as possible, share authoritative weather, water, climate and related environmental data, products and services freely and openly and in a viable and sustainable way, ensuring no Members are left behind. As stated in the WMO strategic plan for 2020-2023 (Strategic Objective 2.3), the fundamental responsibility of GDPFS will be to enable access to, and use of, the state-of-the-art numerical analysis and prediction products at all temporal and spatial scales. It is a high priority that the S/GDPFS will assist Developing and Least Developed Countries to make significant progress towards community resilience and reaching Sustainable Development Goals.
The future S/GDPFS will also bring benefits to broader user communities, including stakeholders responsible for preparedness for a wider variety of high-impact events; sectors impacted by weather and climate (e.g. energy, agriculture, health, integrated water resource management); and urban stakeholders, city planners, United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, including nongovernmental organizations.
Future Integrated, Seamless GDPFS Collaborative Framework