COP27 provided an excellent opportunity to give visibility to GCOS. GCOS Chair and GCOS Director (Han Dolman and Anthony Rea) as well as the co-chair of one of the GCOS expert panels (Sabrina Speich, co-chair of OOPC) and Karina von Schuckmann (OOPC expert) participated in the Conference and represented GCOS on several occasions. GCOS was one of the focus of the Earth Information Day on the 9 November 2022. Furthermore, a side event entitled “2022 GCOS Implementation Plan” was held at the IPCC-WMO-MERI-Egypt Science for Climate Action Pavilion on the 11 November 2022.
COP27 provided an opportunity to present GCOS Activities, in particular, GCOS Implementation Plan and to advocate for sustained funding for climate observations.
The Earth Information Day is one of the permanent and most important events at COP. Organised by UNFCCC, it provides a a venue for exchanging information on the state of the global climate system and developments in systematic observation and is generally attended by hundreds of negotiators. The need for systematic observations was clearly put forward by many of the speakers.
In Panel 1 titled Updates on the state of the climate and the global climate observing system Han Dolman, Chair of GCOS Steering Committee presented the role of observations and their value cycle. He highlighted the change in demands of climate data for adaptation, mitigation and understanding the energy and carbon cycle. Dolman introduced the 2022 GCOS Implementation Plan (IP) with the recommendations for observation requirements and presented the six themes of the IP. The outcome of the second GCOS Climate Observation Conference 2022 (17-19 October 2022 in Germany) and the key issues enhanced there, such as the need to engage with nations and a needed improvement o f regional and national climate change information, have been presented.
The GCOS side event was dedicated to highlight the priority activities that need to be undertaken in the next 5-10 years to improve the observing system and the major implementers which will be responsible for their implementation. In 50 minutes, several speakers within the GCOS network presented the GCOS Implementation Plan and the need for a sustained global climate system, summaries the outcome of the GCOS Climate Observation Conference and showed a focus on actions implemented by Satellite Agencies, by GOOS/agencies working in marine observations and by UNFCCC Parties. The panel allowed for questions and discussions.
A global goal for observations as it was called for in the 2022 GCOS Conference Statement was finally not established as Parties are not ready to commit to implementing threshold standards in their observing systems. Nevertheless, GCOS and its ambitions gained important visibility at the COP 27.
With the SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) Decision on the implementation of the Global Climate Observing System, the Conference of parties 2022 recognizes the importance of GCOS for understanding the global climate system and its changes as well as the importance for adaptation and mitigation. The 2022 GCOS IP and the 2022 GCOS ECV requirements were welcomed and Parties encouraged to work towards their implementation. The need to close the gaps in the observing system was emphasized and the Decision recognises the need to enhance coordination of activities, and addresses specifically within the systematic observation community.