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The GCOS Surface Network (GSN) - Program Overview

The GCOS Surface Network (GSN) is a baseline network comprising a subset of about 1000 stations chosen mainly to give a fairly uniform spatial coverage from places where there is a good length and quality of data record. A particular product of these stations, additional to their synoptic data, is a monthly CLIMAT message that, in principle, can include monthly averages, extremes and threshold exceedances for temperature, precipitation and sunshine duration (WMO, 2014a). Transmission, completeness and quality of CLIMAT data are monitored, and coding corrections made where possible, by Deutcher Wetter Dienst (DWD) and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in their capacities as GSN Monitoring Centres (GSNMCs). Production of monthly CLIMAT messages is also expected of the close to 3000 stations that comprise RBCN; increasing the number of RBCN stations that actually supply such messages has been one subject of recent attention. Another recent initiative has been to develop a message template for reporting daily values within the monthly message; steps are now being taken towards implementation of this additional reporting.analysis. (from the Status of the Global Observing System for Climate, GCOS-195 October 2015)

GSN Data Access


Program Management

The Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC) was established to define the requirements for meteorological observations for GCOS. AOPC is responsible for the planning and implementation of the GSN in cooperation with WMO CBS.

Coordinating Bodies

Data Collection and Management

The data collected by the network of GSN stations is transmitted on the GTS in the form CLIMAT reports. The CLIMAT messages are sent monthly and contain averages of observed variables for the previous month.

Most climate related products produced by operational centers are based on the CLIMAT reports. The individual observations from the GSN stations are available for further detailed study and for later more rigorous quality control of the CLIMAT data. Meta data supporting the CLIMAT data are not transmitted on the GTS, but are made available to the final archives at a later date by the national collecting centers.

Selection of the GSN Stations

The initial selection of a GCOS surface network of approximately 800 stations from the existing 10,000 or so station is described in a study by Thomas Peterson, Harald Daan, and Philip Jones. Further work by the AOPC has produced a final list of stations. (Initial Selection of a GCOS Surface Network by Thomas Peterson , Harald Daan, and Philip Jones - GCOS-34)


Reference Documents

Contact Information

Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)

Tobias Fuchs and Udo Schneider
Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC)
GSN Monitoring Center & CBS Lead Center for GCOS Data

National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

Matthew Menne
Federal Building
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville NC 28801-5001

Email: Matthew Menne
+1 (828) 271-4449

Japan Meteorological Agency

Hidehiko Isobe
GSN Monitoring Center &
CBS Lead Center for GCOS Data Climate Prediction Division Global Environment and Marine
E-mail: climatemonitor@met.kishou.go