The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)

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The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council for Science (ICSU). Many observing systems contribute to the GCOS network of global observing systems for climate. In many cases they also serve other functions, such as weather forecasting or air-quality monitoring. The contributing systems include the climate-observing components of the IOC-led Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS), the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the WMO Global Observing System (GOS) and Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). A number of other research and operational systems provide important contributions. The observations themselves may be ground-based, or from airborne or satellite systems. GCOS is both supported by and supports the international scientific community, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) co-sponsors the expert panels set up by GCOS for the atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial domains. The composite observing system designated as GCOS serves as the climate-observation component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

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[Page updated October 3, 2014]

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