Standards and requirements for climate observations

Standards and requirements for climate observations

Defining standards and best practices for climate observations is critically important for achieving universally common, coherent, traceable and verifiable observations and measurements, and allowing correct operational procedures and management for the technical components including instruments, equipment, stations and networks. These standards cover a range of aspects of climate observations including defining the minimum set of climate elements which need to be observed/measured at the surface, subsurface and upper air, the type, quality and characteristics of instrumentation used for these observations, the siting of climatological stations, the design of climatological networks and the procedures for station and network operations, including time of observations, reporting of observations, quality control of observations, station  documentation and Metadata. To cover all these aspects WMO developed a number of technical references including guides, manuals, guideline documents to provide managers and operators of climate observing networks with a set of recommended procedures/practices by which change can be managed in the observational programs in a manner that best maintains the required integrity of the climate records.

The user requirements for observations are compared with the capabilities of present and planned observing systems to provide them. These requirements are regularly reviewed by groups of experts nominated by several organizations and programmes dealing with earth observations. The output of the review process is used to prepare a Statement of Guidance (SOG). A database records observational user requirements formulated by WMO and co-sponsored programmes.

Technical references:

Guide to Climatological Practices

Guide to Global Observation System

Manual on the Global Observation System

Guide to meteorological instruments and methods of observations


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