The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is intended to be a long-term, user-driven operational system capable of providing the comprehensive observations required for monitoring the climate system.
GCOS is vital for:
It addresses the total climate system including physical, chemical and biological properties, and atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic, cryospheric and terrestrial processes.
GCOS builds upon, and works in partnership with, other existing and developing observing systems such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), and the Global Observing System (GOS) and Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) of the World Meteorological Organization.
It is co-sponsored by three UN bodies, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) plus by the non-governmental organisation, the International Council for Science (ICSU).
The GCOS Joint Planning Office is based with the WMO Secretariat.
In the UK climate change mitigation policy is managed (with energy policy) by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
The UK Climate Change Act (2008) established the Committee on Climate Change as an independent body to advise the UK Government on setting and meeting carbon budgets and on preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Various agencies in the UK contribute to the GCOS networks. These commitments, and additional contributions, to GCOS are described in the periodic reports on systematic observations for climate, prepared as part of the regular National Communication to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In addition, ozone measurements from two stations (one in UK, one overseas) are also contributed to GCOS.
Last updated: 15 June 2011