7.4 WMO Vision for WIGOS in 2040: On Observing Network Design in a Rapidly Changing Business Environment

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Lars Peter Riishojgaard, WMO, Geneva, Switzerland

Intended to serve as a reference for its Members and as guidance to other providers of weather, climate and water observations, the World Meteorological Organization is currently in the process of developing a “Vision for the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) in 2040”, to be submitted to the 18th World Meteorological Congress in 2019. The need for taking such a long view of observing system development is largely driven by the very long planning and development cycles of meteorological satellite programs. However, in stark contrast to the relatively predictable world of satellite systems, the so-called conventional or surface-based observing systems have been undergoing extremely rapid and largely unplanned, uncoordinated and unanticipated development during the last decade. Part of this has been driven by changing political and economic realities, part of it by technological developments. The classical paradigm of the World Weather Watch in which central national met services are responsible for the entire meteorological observing network within their respective territories is under immense pressure within many WMO Members. Demand for observational data is growing rapidly, while the budgets of met services have been mostly stagnant or decreasing, and the basic observing networks have suffered as a result. Driven partly by a lack of observations, partly by frustration with policies limiting access to observational data from national met services, many “third party” organizations representing government, academia as well as the private sector have set up their own observing networks in response. These non-traditional networks have been enabled by commoditization of key observing, computing and telecommunication technologies, and the trends behind their development are expected to continue This presentation will discuss how these changes are driving observing WMO’s network design considerations and how data policies and business models surrounding meteorological observations may change as a result.
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