2.3 The Development of the VISION for WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) in 2040

Monday, 23 January 2017: 2:15 PM
607 (Washington State Convention Center )
Wenjian Zhang, WMO, Geneva, Switzerland

WMO regularly reviews its Vision of future global observing systems to support weather, climate, water and related environmental applications. The current version of the Vision for the Global Observing System (GOS) in 2025, approved by Sixty-first session of WMO Executive Council (EC-LXI, 2009), provides high-level challenging but achievable goals to guide the evolution of the WMO Global Observing Systems (including both surface-based and space-based components) in the coming decades. 

The new horizon of the vision was set to 2040 by WMO in order to be ahead of currently firm observing systems plans, especially the space-based system plans, since a vision document should serve as guidance in the early planning stage rather than just reflect existing plans. The new vision in 2040, compared to the previous versions of WMO Observing vision documents, will be under the comprehensive framework of WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS). Again the goals of the WIGOS Vision in 2040 shall be ambitious but achievable.

The development of a WIGOS Vision in 2040 will be approached from three different perspectives. First of all, the new vision should aim to respond to the anticipated societal needs of 2040, in the context of WIGOS and of the increasing maturity of observational applications and the emerging requirements of new application areas which are not fully addressed by current plans (e.g. to Global Framework for Climate Services, atmosphere composition and air quality, hydrology, space weather and cryosphere monitoring). A starting point is to address the unfulfilled requirements expressed in the Statements of Guidance of WMO application areas in the Rolling Review of Requirements process.

Secondly, the vision should consider the opportunities opened or anticipated from advances in both space-based and surface-based instrument technology. For example,  the anticipated new observing capabilities above the coming new generation of low earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary meteorological environmental satellites (GEO) launches around the global in the 2016-2030 timeframe will meet the needs of climate and environmental services requirements in 2040; lessons learnt from demonstration space missions that, by 2040, will be mature for transition from R&D or demonstration stage to operational stage (e.g. GPM, GRACE, SMOS, Doppler lidar, etc.), and possible new concepts. Rapid progress in both space-based and surface-based remote sensing technological capabilities will allow improved performances in terms of spectral, spatial, temporal and radiometric resolution, which also bears on the amount of data to be exchanged.

Finally, attention should be paid to emerging changes in the provider community considering the increased number of space-faring nations, the range of possible approaches and the balance between an increasing capability of the private sector to contribute to the system and the specific responsibilities of governmental entities. Opportunities and risks should be carefully analysed considering the possible technological evolution, as well as the key strategies for optimal integration of space-based and surface-based observation capabilities.

The 2040 Vision of the WIGOS is intended to provide a shared, high-level goal to guide the efforts of WMO Members, satellite operators and observing systems providers in the evolution of WMO global observing systems. It is based on an attempted anticipation of user requirements in the WMO application areas, and technological capabilities, in 2040. The Vision, to be developed and finalized by 2019, will be based on consultation of WMO Members,  WMO Technical Commissions, space agencies, and more broadly of user and industrial communities.

The presentation will communicate the Global Societal Needs described in the Strategic Plan, which provides a high-level statement of the future direction and priorities of the WMO. Building on the WMO Strategic Planning process, the latest progress for developing WIGOS vision 2040 will be presented. It takes into consideration the great opportunities and benefits of planned new generation of global observing systems (both space and surface-based systems) and the potential critical gaps for meeting future WMO Members' and Programmes’ requirements for enhanced weather, climate and environmental services.

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