Sir John Houghton, First Chairman of GCOS Joint Scientific and Technical Committee died April 15.
This image shows the inaugaral meeting of of the GCOS Scientific & Technical Steering Committee April 13 – 15, 1992, at WMO. The chairman Sir John Houghton sits in the middle.
Sir John Houghton, world famous climate scientist, enthusiastically supported the GCOS Program since its inception in 1992 and chaired its Joint Scientific and Technical Committee until 1995. He has been instrumental in setting up the program and though GCOS had to share him with his first love, the IPCC, Sir John envisaged GCOS to become eventually the underpinning element of the World Climate Program.
Sir John noted at its second session in 1993, that “… it will be necessary for GCOS programme to include many nations and international organizations to participate in building a coherent earth observing and forecasting system for the climate, a clear plan describing what observations are needed and how to obtain them is required. Thus, the development of an initial draft plan should be the central activity of the meeting. …”
He chaired the JSTC lastly in 1995, and then stressed that GCOS is a key element in the future strategy needed to address the scientific understanding of climate, including its uncertainties and potential impacts. Sir John observed that the strategy put forward by GCOS, namely: 1) development of requirements, 2) assessment of current systems, and 3) recommendations for improvements, were being adopted by existing global observing systems. He also noted that the plans for space-based observations and for data management should be of great value to the other systems as they proceed.
At the 20th anniversary of GCOS, in 2012, Sir John was not able to travel to Geneva, but sent a video message to the invited symposium participants reiterating this strategy and his support to the concept shaped under his leadership between 1992 and 1995, which is providing the base line for the program until today.
Public sources to his death: