GCOS was established in 1992 to ensure that the observations and information needed to address climate-related issues are obtained and made available to all potential users. It is co-sponsored by the
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO),
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), and
- International Council for Science (ISC).
The terms of reference of the co-sponsorship are detailed in the GCOS Memorandum of Understanding. The original version was signed in 1992 and was updated in 1998.
GCOS Memorandum of Understanding (1992)
GCOS Memorandum of Understanding (1998)
The GCOS programme stimulates, encourages, coordinates and facilitates the taking of needed observations by national or international organizations to support their own requirements as well as common goals. It provides an operational framework for integrating and enhancing the observational systems of participating countries and organizations into a comprehensive system focused on the requirements for climate issues. The GCOS programme does not directly make observations nor generate data products.
GCOS Milestone Conclusions, Resolutions and Decisions - 1997 – 2019
1992 Establishment of GCOS as an outcome of the Second World Climate Conference (1990)
1995 Plan for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Publication No. GCOS-14 GCOS Plan for Space-based Observations, Publication No. GCOS-15
1998 Report on the Adequacy of the Global Climate Observing Systems – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Publication No. GCOS-48, COP-4, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2003 Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing Systems for Climate in Support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Publication No. GCOS-82, COP-9, Milan, Italy
2004 Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC, Publication No. GCOS-92, COP-10, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2006 Systematic Observation Requirements for Satellite-based Products for Climate – Supplemental Details to the Satellite-based Component of the Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC, Publication No. GCOS-107
2009 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC 2004–2008, Publication No. GCOS 129, COP-15, Copenhagen, Denmark
2010 Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (2010 Update), Publication No. GCOS-138, COP-16, Cancun, Mexico
2015 Status of the Global Observing System for Climate, Publication No. GCOS-195
2016 The Global Observing System for Climate: Implementation Needs, Publication No. GCOS 200, and COP-22 Decision