2nd Climate Observation Conference – 17-19 October 2022, Darmstadt, Germany


Climate observations are of fundamental importance for reconstructing, monitoring, understanding, attributing, predicting, projecting, mitigating, and adapting to climate change. They are instrumental for assessments and policy implementations, such as the IPCC and the 2015 Paris Agreement. The need for systematic climate observations is increasing with the growing urgency for adaptation and mitigation measures that can require high resolution information. It is therefore crucial to make further progress towards achieving a fully implemented and sustainable global observing system for climate applications.

The second GCOS Climate Observation Conference (17-19 October 2022, Darmstadt, Germany) will focus on activities and solutions that help to achieve a fully implemented, sustainable, and fit for purpose global observing system for climate. The Conference will also provide the occasion to celebrate GCOS 30th Anniversary and take stock of the progress achieved by the global observing community in the last three decades.

Since 1992, GCOS has been a responsible program to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) providing guidance for a sustained, long-term and reliable system for monitoring the global climate. GCOS defines Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), knowledge of which is critical to our understanding of the climate: GCOS provides requirements for each ECV, monitors how well they are observed and proposes solutions to any issue identified. Space and in situ-based observations are major contributors to global climate observations. Long time series with historical observation data well distributed across the globe are needed. A wide range of organisations monitor the climate in different ways covering different groups of variables and regions. Overall, this calls for substantial efforts and collaboration at all levels including international organisations, national agencies, and scientific communities with a variety of components covering the atmosphere, oceans, land, cryosphere and biosphere. GCOS does not make observations per se, but responds to the information needs from different stakeholders: policy makers (e.g. UNFCCC, nations and adaptation and mitigation planners), scientific assessments (e.g. IPCC, academia and WCRP), networks and coordinating bodies (e.g. WMO, NMHS, GOOS).

Substantial progress has been made in many areas of the Earth’s climate observing system after the release of the 2016 GCOS Implementation Plan. This progress was assessed and described in the 2021 GCOS Status Report. GCOS has now developed a number of strategic priority areas for activities in the coming years, and these form the thematic basis of the new GCOS Implementation Plan (2022) which is now being drafted. The GCOS Implementation Plan will undergo public review in May 2022 and will be finalised in July 2022.

Abstract Submission

The Scientific Committee invites the submission of abstracts on the following six themes (other relevant papers may also be considered):

Space and in situ-based networks and observing systems – how to address improvements to better meet user needs?

Topics for abstracts may include new and developing technologies and approaches to observations, increasing coverage, temporal and spatial resolution and latency, and reference networks. Contributions can consider challenges and benefits in integrating networks, including consistency between datasets and observing integration strategies. Approaches to improving the observing system such as targeted field campaigns may also be included here as well as the evaluation of the costs/benefit of such observing systems. Moreover, contributions can consider different options and strategies to ensure the sustainability of the observing system. Topics may also include gaps and uncertainties in observations that prevent us from understanding long-term changes, and how current observing systems can be re-designed to observe and forecast future climate and weather events. The role of the private sector in the landscape of data providers can also be discussed.


How can climate observations enhance further the understanding of climate change, extreme events and tipping points?

Abstracts can consider how improvements to current climate data records can increase our understanding of the climate cycles, climate extremes and tipping points and improve modelling capacity and reanalyses.


How can global climate observations better support national and international climate policies?

Contributions can consider how sustainable long-term climate observations can inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective policies for climate change, adaptation, and mitigation, including, but not limited to implement the Paris Agreement. This may include examples on how well climate-related observations support adaptation and mitigation, demonstrators of their use, including integrating societal variables and focusing on socio-economic impacts at all levels. This may also include cases of Earth Observation supporting allocation of climate finance for adaptation and mitigation investments in line with the Paris Agreement.


Data processing, archiving, access, and stewardship – how can new technologies help address existing challenges?

Includes, but is not limited to, issues such as the values and challenges of free and open data and open science; the data stewardship required; and the implications of the use of private data; data access, usability, curation. Implications of the new WMO data policy. Papers may also address new approaches such as cloud computing, big Earth observation data, AI/ML, new methods to make better use of data and integrate multiple observations -including citizen science and indigenous knowledge- into a climate data record and other information for climate decision making.


Climate Data Records: what do we need to do to make this information more reliable?

Descriptions of how calibration/validation activities can be carried out in ways that provide synergistic benefit for both observing system operators are encouraged. So are discussions on consistency of data provided by new platforms or on how reprocessing of prior data can contribute to the establishment of multi-instrument/multi-platform/multi-program data records that can be used in assessing long-term Earth climate system evolution.


GCOS 2050: Shaping the future Global Climate Observing System.

We invite contributions addressing any of the previous points in the Call for Abstracts, which look ahead and present innovative solutions to be implemented by 2050.


Who can participate?

  • Experts interested in global climate observations and their use.
  • Representatives from funding and space agencies and the private sector engaged in the development (and associated scientific research and/or applications utilisation) of Earth Observation as well as in the provision of corresponding data and information services.
  • Users such as governmental, non-governmental, and intergovernmental organisations relying on science-based climate information for adaptation and mitigation decision-making.

Contributions from early career researchers (ECR) are particularly welcome and will be given specific visibility during the Conference. Travel grants may be available for selected ECRs from low-income countries presenting abstracts. Contact the organizing committee for more information here.

You can submit your abstract by 1 June 2022. Confirmation of acceptance will be communicated in the second half of July 2022.

In order to submit the abstract you need to create first an account.

Further information, please follow this link.

via GCOS
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