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REPORT OF THE FIFTH SESSION
1. ORGANIZATION OF THE SESSION
1.1 Opening of the session
1.1.1 The meeting was opened by the chairman, Mr R.C. Landis (WMO). A full list of participants is given in Appendix A to this report.
1.2 Adoption of the agenda
1.2.1 The agenda for the session is given in Appendix B to this report.
1.3 Working arrangements for the session
1.3.1 The chairman proposed working hours for the session together with a tentative timetable for consideration of the various agenda items.
2. FOURTH SESSION
2.1 Review of the draft report of the fourth session
2.1.1 Following corrections to the final paragraphs under the report by GCOS, the draft report was approved. Follow-up action was taken up under the relevant agenda items.
3. G3OS PROGRESS REPORTS
3.1 Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)
3.1.1 The report on progress within the GOOS was presented by Dr Colin Summerhayes, Director of the GOOS Project Office.
3.1.2 GOOS has made good progress during the past year. Its future development and implementation will be greatly aided by formation of J-COMM (Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology) which will provide infrastructure for GOOS and other marine operations.
3.1.3 The GOOS Initial Observing System (GOOS-IOS), continues to evolve. It unites the main global observing sub-systems supported by the IOC and WMO and includes measurements from ships, buoys, coastal stations and satellites. Recent additions include the Continuous Plankton Recorder System.
3.1.4 In addition to these international elements, as of July 1999 (Initial GOOS Commitments Meeting) many nations are now contributing substantial parts of their national observing systems to GOOS. In several cases the commitments made at the meeting were general and GOOS is developing a mechanism for determining the specifics of what is committed.
3.1.5 Detailed strategies for implementation are being devised by scientific advisory panels on Climate, Living Marine Resources, Health of the Ocean (dealing with pollution and its consequences), and Coastal Seas. The work of the three advisory panels covering coastal seas will finish by the end of the summer, at which point the three panels will be merged into an integrated coastal panel, whose initial task will be to integrate the three design plans. Finalised strategies for implementation are expected to emerge during 2000-2001.
3.1.6 We will see an open ocean GOOS devoted mainly to weather and climate forecasting and related issues, and a Coastal GOOS that has a much higher density of observations and addresses a wider variety of issues including pollution and living marine resources.
3.1.7 GOOS is being implemented not only through international efforts (eg the TAO array, PIRATA, SOOP, DBCP, VOS, GLOSS), but also through regional groupings of Member States and through National GOOS Coordinating Committees. The most successful of the regional groups so far are EuroGOOS and NEAR-GOOS. Within EuroGOOS, the Baltic system (BOOS) is a fine example of putting GOOS into practice.
3.1.8 Several newly created GOOS regional bodies will help the further development of GOOS. They include: Black SeaGOOS; PacificGOOS covering S.W. Pacific island states; MedGOOS for Mediterranean countries; IOCARIBE-GOOS for Caribbean states; an Indian Ocean programme; and a North Atlantic programme involving the IOC and ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea). To assist the development of Indian Ocean GOOS, IOC has opened a Perth Office.
3.1.9 The third GOOS Steering Committee (Paris, May 10-12) agreed that FAO should be approached as a potential co-sponsor. Currently FAO co-sponsors the LMR Panel.
3.1.10 Coastal GOOS has developed good collaboration with GTOS, and we expect this close collaboration to continue in the new coastal panel.
3.1.11 Staff resources increased 16% during the year. Finances remain stable at around $600-$700 thousand per year, with slightly under half from UNESCO and the rest in small grants from a collection of interested national agencies.
3.1.12 The GSC-III recommended the abolition of J-DIMP, and its replacement by a small ad hoc group to review the GOSIC programme. It also recommended that data and information management be a regular part of the G3OS agenda.
3.1.13 A new capacity building panel has been formed under the leadership of Geoff Holland, former IOC Chair.
3.2 Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)
3.2.1 The report on progress within the GCOS was presented by Dr A. Thomas, Director of the GCOS Secretariat.
3.2.2 During the last year, GCOS activities were reported in 3 main areas. Firstly, good progress is being made in implementation and further planning of the GCOS Initial Operational System (IOS) in each of the 3 domains. Secondly, interactions with GCOS Sponsors and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been extensive. Two major decisions from COP-5 (4/CP.5 and 5/CP.5), including the adoption of the GCOS Guidance as the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global climate change observing systems, should assist in implementing the global observing systems for climate. Further the GCOS Secretariat is bringing issues from the COP decisions before the Intergovernmental Bodies of its Sponsors (ICSU, IOC, WMO, UNEP). In response to decision 5/CP.5, the GCOS Secretariat is organizing regional workshops to initiate the development of regionally based action plans that address deficiencies in observing systems. A prospectus for a series of regional workshops is available. Using support from the WMO, UNEP, USA and Australia, an initial workshop in the South Pacific is planned for 14-15 August 1999 in cooperation with the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and the WMO Sub-regional Office for the Southwest Pacific. Thirdly, GCOS reported on the informal meeting in Canada to discuss the issue of an intergovernmental process for GCOS. The conclusions urged Sponsoring Agencies (1) to “make more effective use of their congresses, assemblies, executive councils … to develop the links with and the involvement of governments in all aspects of GCOS”; and (2) to increase in the number of "operational" and/or senior governmental representatives on the GCOS Steering Committee to enable it to more properly perform its managerial or oversight role. The meeting also urged GCOS (3) to continue to engage the UNFCCC bodies in order that governments are clearly given the opportunity to address deficiencies in the observational system required to meet their needs in the area of climate change and (4) to develop an Implementation Strategy to clarify its role vis-à-vis the other observing systems for climate and the areas of action in which it would place its priority. In late May 2000, the WMO Executive Council (EC) adopted a resolution, inter alia, urging Members to (1) involve their NMHS in preparing national reports to UNFCCC-COP; (2) ensure that their delegations to the UNFCCC-COP are informed of the key role that these Services play in implementing and operating observing systems necessary to meet national obligations under the Convention; and (3) include representatives of NMHS in national delegations to UNFCCC-COP to provide appropriate scientific advice. A similar resolution will be introduced at the IOC EC and has been adopted by the ICSU Assembly.
The resource situation in the GCOS Secretariat continues to be in an extremely fragile state, with only two FTE positions and an amount of about $250K per year from sponsors and other sources, which must fund contract staff, organization of meetings, travel and all other operating expenses.
3.3 Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS)
3.3.1 The report on progress within the GTOS was presented by Mr Jeff Tschirley, GTOS Programme Director.
3.4.1 The Sponsors expressed satisfaction on progress within the three Observing Systems. Within GOOS the meeting noted in particular the development of the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE), including the profiling float project ARGO, which was now being implemented on a regional basis. The Sponsors also noted the wish of the GOOS Steering Committee (GSC) to invite FAO to become a co-sponsor of GOOS:
3.4.2 Within GCOS, the Sponsors were particularly pleased with the response of the GCOS Secretariat to Decisions 14/CP.4 and 5/CP.5 of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
3.4.3 Within GTOS, the meeting noted the accelerating number and variety of activities being undertaken. In addition to individual projects, a number of regional activities were being developed – in Central and Eastern Europe and in Southern Africa.
3.4.4 The Sponsors again noted that each of the programme offices faced serious difficulties in funding their activities. They agreed to continue their efforts to seek funding from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) and the Turner fund, as well as from governments.
3.4.5 The Sponsors also noted the disparity in staffing among the programme offices and the resulting consequences. They therefore agreed to consider in detail the overall questions of structure, staffing and financing of the offices, in detail, at its next session. It also agreed that this item would be taken up at the next meeting sufficiently early on its agenda to allow adequate time for its consideration. WMO agreed to take the lead in preparing a document for the next Sponsors meeting.
4. G3OS JOINT PANEL REPORTS
4.1 Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC)
4.1.1 The GCOS Secretariat reported on the activities of the AOPC.
4.1.2 The Sixth Session of the GCOS/WCRP Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC) had been held from 10-13 April 2000 at WMO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting had focussed on implementation issues involving the atmospheric and atmosphere-related components of the GCOS Initial Operational System, particularly the GCOS Surface Network (GSN), the GCOS Upper Air Network (GUAN) and the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). Status reports had shown that about 60-70% of GSN and GUAN stations had been reporting observations as desired, and that this rather low rate was due in many cases to problems of inadequate resources, especially in developing countries, to provide the consumables needed for station operation, as well as in communication problems to central points for data which might well have been collected. Analysis of station performance and problems would of course continue and remedial action would be taken to the extent possible through the WMO Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) and GCOS Secretariats.
4.1.3 AOPC-VI also considered the need for improved collection of other parameters important for AOPC and GCOS objectives such as water vapour, upper-air temperatures and atmospheric trace gases and greenhouse gases. These parameters had been included in the WMO/CEOS data base of GCOS needs and it was agreed that AOPC members would review these specifications to ensure their validity. It was also recognized that 'gap-analysis' activities were required for a number of climate issues, some of which were being addressed by the WMO/CBS Expert Team on Observational Data Requirements and Redesign of the Global Observing Systems. Others might be considered through the GCOS/GOOS/GTOS Global Observing Systems Space Panel (GOSSP) or other mechanisms, and it was requested that the GCOS Secretariat liase with the CBS Expert Team to assess the most appropriate mechanism to be used. AOPC members had also agreed to complete the draft GCOS Plan for Atmospheric Observations and to look into the issue of a possible GCOS 'Atmospheric Observations for Climate' conference, along the lines of the recent, highly successful OceanObs99 conference (San Raphaël, France, November 1999)
4.2 Joint Data and Information Management Panel (JDIMP)
4.2.1 The GOOS Steering Committee reviewed the functions of the Joint GCOS/GOOS/GTOS Data and Information Panel (J-DIMP) at its session in Paris from 10-12 May 2000. The GSC agreed that the J-DIMP had fulfilled its initial role quite adequately, and it appeared that a permanent standing committee is no longer necessary. As a result it requested the Director of GOOS to seek the advice of the other two observing systems through their Directors and Chairs of the relevant Steering Committees to discontinue J-DIMP and to use other mechanisms when and if required. The Sponsors agreed to this recommendation and suggested that there may be several other bodies involved in data management of climate data and information and that further investigation may be needed to avoid duplication of efforts among activities such as WMO's INFOCLIMA, the GOSIC, and others.
4.3 Global Observing Systems Space Panel (GOSSP)
4.3.1 The GCOS Secretariat reported on the activities of GOSSP.
4.3.2 A joint meeting of the Global Observing Systems Space Panel (GOSSP) and the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Oceans Theme Team had been held on 5-6 August 1999 in Pasadena CA, USA. The main objective was to advance the development of the report of the Oceans Theme Team to the IGOS Partners. Based on the work carried out at the meeting, a new draft of the report was produced which led to development of the latest version to be presented to the fifth IGOS Partners meeting on 7 June 2000.
4.3.3 A brief meeting of the GOSSP was held in conjunction with the above-noted meeting on 6 August 2000, primarily to discuss the role of GOSSP in the current Theme Team activity and in future potential IGOS theme initiatives. Five GOSSP members were present (F. Bretherton, J. Christy, J. Cihlar, D. Halpern and I. Robinson), as well as M. Ichihasi representing Y. Haruyama as a CEOS representative. The GOSSP Terms of Reference were reviewed, as well as the report and action items from the previous GOSSP meeting (GOSSP-IV, 22-23 October 1998, GCOS Report 47). The GOSSP role in the current activity was clear: participation in this meeting, 'gap analysis' activities carried out by the Chairman, and review of the eventual report. It was noted that much of this activity had placed a very large load on the Chairman and that it was not apparent that such involvement would be feasible for other potential themes, certainly not if they were to be implemented simultaneously. A mechanism for distributing the overall responsibilities more widely among GOSSP members and experts would be needed if GOSSP were to continue to play this role in the IGOS theme activity. It was, however, not totally clear that such a continuation would be necessary, at least under the current structure of GOSSP. Members had agreed to consider this and related issues for future consideration.
4.3.4 The meeting considered the current nature of GOSSP and various possibilities for its future operation. After considerable discussion, it was suggested that GOSSP be restructured as an ad-hoc group, meeting as and when required to address specific issues. Two members would be named by each of GCOS, GOOS and GTOS (as is the case now), with the intention that one of each of those pairs of members would represent climate issues and, for GOOS and GTOS, the other could represent the non-climate issues of concern. The climate-oriented members from each observing system would also be members of the relevant GCOS science panel and would be charged with representing the space perspective there. An additional member could be named as Chair to ensure that the cross-cutting perspective be included, and would be responsible for ensuring that the SC received appropriate advice in this regard. It was agreed that formal proposals for changes to GOSSP would be presented to the respective steering committees of each of the G3OSs at the next opportunity, leading to appropriate approval for final changes.
4.4 Global Ocean Observation Panel (OOPC)
4.4.1 The GOOS Programme Office reported on the activities of OOPC.
4.4.2 The design of an ocean observing system for climate was the subject of active consideration at an ocean observations conference in France in October 1999. The Conference welcomed the introduction of a new paradigm for oceanographic data systems, where rapid dissemination and wide sharing of data is the norm. Conference recommendations have been integrated into the oceans theme document.
4.4.3 GODAE, the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment continues its development. Funding has enabled setting up of a GODAE Bureau in Melbourne. GODAE plans are developing fast. To provide the global coverage of upper ocean temperature and salinity required by GODAE, the Argo Pilot Project will seed the ocean with 3000 profiling floats. Added to satellite data from the ocean surface these profiles will underpin models of ocean behaviour and of climate. Several Member States have already made significant contributions to Argo, and we are confident it will go ahead more or less as planned.
4.4.4 We plan to meet the requirements of IOC's Resolution to inform Member States about Argo by employing a part time Technical Coordinator who will work in Toulouse under the supervision of Etienne Charpentier. Funds for one third of the post are assured from the USA, and several other Member States have indicated a willingness to contribute to the costs.
4.5 Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC)
4.5.1 The GTOS Programme Office reported on the activities of TOPC.
5. PREPARATIONS FOR IGOS-P5
It was agreed that the chairman would brief the IGOS-P5 meeting on relevant discussions during the present session.
5.1.1 The meeting was informed that the Director of the GCOS Secretariat would address the next session of SUBSTA (Bonn, 12-16 June 2000), brief them on the follow-up to COP Decisions 14/CP. 4 and 5/CP. 5 and on the activities of G3OS. Particular mention would be made of the IGOS Oceans Theme with a view to its further consideration at COP-6 (and SUBSTA) in November. Sponsors were invited to provide ideas to the Director of GCOS for further presentation to the SUBSTA and COP-6 session in November.
5.2 IOCCG membership in IGOS Partners
5.2.1 The meeting had before it the request for membership in the IGOS Partners from IOCCG, as well as the interim reply from the chairman of the IGOS Partners indicating that the Partners had not yet established procedures for the selection of new members. The Sponsors agreed that, under the present arrangement, IOCCG should participate as an advisor to ICSU.
5.3 Other items
5.3.1 The representative of UNEP informed the meeting of the document which he was submitting to IGOS-P5 regarding close cooperation with the Convention Secretariats and with the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD). The meeting agreed that stronger efforts should be made to provide more focus on G3OS and IGOS within these bodies, particularly in the preparations of CSD-9.
5.3.2 The meeting was also informed that, as a result of a recent UN Informal Consultative Process on Ocean Affairs (UNICPO), the ACC Subcommittee on Ocean and Coastal Affairs had been given the responsibility for reporting on ocean activities within the UN system. The UNIPCO emphasized the need to improve coordination with regard to the Global Plan of Action for Marine Pollution, the Integration of Coastal Zone Management and Marine Science and Technology. The latter area would encompass the coordination of Ocean Observations.
5.3.3 The representative of FAO informed the meeting of the intention of FAO, in concert with GTOS, to convene an International Conference on Information and Decision Support Systems for Environmental and Sustainable Development, Cosponsorship by other IGOS Partners would be welcome.
6. OTHER BUSINESS
6.1 No additional matters were raised under this item.
7. NEXT SESSION
7.1 Host for 2001
7.1.1 It was agreed that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) would host the G3OS Sponsors meeting for the year 2001. The Executive Secretary of IOC would assume the chairmanship of G3OS.
7.2 Date and venue for the next session
7.2.1 The sixth session would be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris at a date to be confirmed. In this connection, it was noted that the WMO Executive Council would be meeting during the first half of June 2001.
8. CLOSURE OF THE SESSION
8.1 The session closed at 17.45 on 6 June 2000.
Alan R. THOMAS
Hans W. TEUNISSEN
Michael J. COUGHLAN
1. ORGANIZATION OF THE SESSION
1.1 Opening of the session
2. FOURTH SESSION
2.1 Review of the draft report of the 4th session
3. G3OS PROGRESS REPORTS
4. G3OS JOINT PANEL REPORTS
5. PREPARATION FOR IGOS-P5
5.1 UNFCCC COP 6
6. OTHER BUSINESS
7. NEXT SESSION
7.1 Host for 2001
8. CLOSURE OF THE SESSION