GCOS - 1992 * 2012: 20 Years in Service for Climate Observations
The demand for information on global climate has never been greater.Many regions in the world are clearly impacted by changes in climate, and those changes need to be managed now. It took years of work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), assessing the climate science literature, and by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), advancing the state of climate science, to raise the awareness that observations of climate need to be available on a global scale to underpin decisions.The year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the system dedicated to providing the observational data and information that is the foundation for our decisions on climate: the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). This system, sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Council for Science, formally came into being at the first meeting of the GCOS Joint Scientific and Technical Committee in Geneva in April 1992. This brochure will examine the forces that brought GCOS into being, some of the major highlights and accomplishments along the way, and a perspective on the future for the system.