Making further progress towards a fully implemented, sustainable, global observing system for climate is crucial for improving understanding of the workings of the climate system and assessing its impacts. The conference aims to provide the forum for:
- A community assessment of the quality of the current observing system. We aim to highlight key achievements in producing ECVs in the domains of GCOS: atmosphere, ocean and land and identify gaps.
- A discussion on how the definition of ECVs contributes to understanding the key Earth System cycles of energy, water and carbon. While GCOS expects the list of ECVs to be stable as it is used as the basis for planning (e.g. by satellite agencies) it needs to be re-considered periodically to ensure it still meets the needs of users.
- Identifying future needs in relation to adaptation and mitigation requirements and other conventions such as desertification, biodiversity and the SDG goals. An increasing focus on adaption and mitigation of climate change puts different demands on observing systems.
- New developments, arising from requirements coming out of COP 21, and developments in technology, IT and communication of climate issues with the general public and policy makers.