Real-time access to reliable data is critical to weather forecasts and climate analysis. GBON is a new set of global standards that will identify and address major observational data gaps, and so dramatically enhance the global real-time weather observing system.
Over the last several decades, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), the practice of computer-based model simulations of the atmosphere based on observational data, has emerged as the common foundation of all weather and climate services for nations big and small.
Thus, Members are increasingly depending on model data products provided by global and regional modelling and prediction centres. However, like an engine needs fuel, these centres and products are in turn completely reliant on a constant supply of reliable observations from all states to ensure accurate forecasts and climate products.
Currently vast gaps exist over land and sea where essential surface-based observations are missing. For instance, current gaps in surface-pressure observations available to NWP centres are shown here by black dots. Orange dots show where observations are available but are not currently all being shared internationally.
In response, the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) represents a new approach in which the basic surface-based observing network needed to feed the NWP models with input data is designed, defined and monitored at the global level.
Once fully implemented, GBON will significantly increase the availability of the most essential surface-based data. This will have a direct positive impact on the quality of weather forecasts and information, and will enable all WMO Members to deliver better, more accurate and timely weather- and climate-related services to their constituencies.
The implementation of GBON will not only improve timely and spatial availability of observational data, it will also increase the functionality and application of satellite data which require in situ validation.
The Global Basic Observing System (GBON) was approved by the Extraordinary World Meteorological Congress (10-22 October 2021).
The technical regulations establishing the GBON (Res.2, Cg-Ext (2021) can be found here.