Report on Coordinating Climate Science Observations and Guidance Note on Sources of Information for ECVs published

Coordinating Climate Observations (2012-2014)

UKEOF is working to promote a better understanding of UK climate observations and ensure a coordinated approach to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) activities in the UK.

Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)
GCOS is an international network established to meet national and international requirements for climate observations. GCOS has assigned 50 Essential Climate Variables (ECV) to support the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Observation of these ECVs is required for global scale climate monitoring.

More information about GCOS can be found in this brochure published in 2012, marking 20 years of GCOS

Coordinating Climate Observations Group

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In 2012, UKEOF set up a group of experts to oversee coordination of UK climate observing activities, advise on UK user priorities, and encourage implementation of common observing standards and methods. As a first step, this group commissioned a project to: 

  • review UK observations relating to climate science and risk assessment
  • identify what UK climate observations are being used for and gaps in our knowledge of where more data are needed
  • identify and promote information within the UK about international climate standards such as the GCOS ECVs.

A report summarising this work and a Guidance Note detailing sources of information relevant to ECVs were published in 2013. The UK's 6th National Communication and First Biennial Report under the UNFCCC (December 2013) drew heavily on this work.

Building on the recommendations of the report, the group will work with the UKEOF Management Group, the Living With Environmental Change Programme, the GCOS Secretariat and other relevant stakeholders to ensure better coordination of climate observing activities within the UK.

Coordinating Climate Observations Group Members

  • Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Department for International Development
  • Met Office
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • NERC Data Centres
  • UK Environmental Observation Framework


UK Response to the GCOS Implementation Plan (2011)

UKEOF consulted members of the climate science community during 2011 to input into the DECC-led UK response to the GCOS Implementation Plan (for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC). The consultation generated an informed view of the activities contributing towards each of the 137 recommendations and is summarised in the UKEOF report GCOS IP10 - A UK Response: A summary of consultation responses from the UK.

Further Resources 

The UKEOF Catalogue contains information on UK environmental observation activities