Development of the GCOS Networks

The requirements of the GCOS for climate observations are specified by the following scientific panels:

  • Surface, upper air, marine, meteorology and atmospheric chemistry composition - Atmospheric Observations Panel for Climate (AOPC)

  • Ocean climate - Ocean Observing Panel for Climate (OOPC)

  • Terrestrial climate - Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC)

Upper Air Data and Analysis Centers:

Surface Meteorological Observations

The GCOS Surface Network (GSN) is a global network of  stations collecting surface meteorological observations. For a more complete discussion of the requirements for GSN and GUAN data including accuracy and homogeneity, historical records, and national commitments to observations see the GCOS publication Guide to the GCOS Surface and  Upper-Air Networks: GSN and GUAN (Version 1.1) GCOS - 73.

Upper Air Observations

The GCOS Upper Air Network (GUAN) is a global network of upper-air stations collecting profiles of temperature, winds, humidity, etc. using radiosondes.

Atmospheric Chemical Observations

The GCOS requirements for atmospheric chemistry observations are implemented within the Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) network of monitoring stations. The global stations  are measuring atmospheric chemistry, surface meteorological data, and with an upper air station nearby.

Ocean Climate Observations

The GCOS requirements for ocean climate observations have been developed jointly with those of GOOS by the Ocean Observing Panel for Climate (OOPC). For more information see the GOOS Ocean Observing Systems.

Terrestrial Climate Observations

The GCOS requirements for land surface climate observations have been developed jointly with those of the GTOS by the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC).

Space Based Climate Observations (Atmosphere)

The GCOS requirements for space based climate observations are of three types. Those having to do with the ocean surface have been specified by the OOPC, a joint GCOS/GOOS panel. Those that have to do with the earth's surface have been specified by the TOPC, a joint GCOS/GTOS panel. The requirements described here are related to the atmosphere and soundings of it.