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Systematic observation

Worldwide systematic observation of the climate system is a key prerequisite for advancing scientific knowledge on climate change and advising informed policy making.

The Convention calls on Parties to promote and cooperate in systematic observation of the climate system, including through support to existing international programmes and networks (Articles 4.1(g) and 5). Implementation is supported through cooperation with the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other agencies. Further background information >>

Parties provide detailed technical reports on systematic observation via their National Communications and in line with the revised UNFCCC reporting guidelines on global climate change observing systems (decision 11/CP.13).  

Relevant events

At SBI 41 (Lima, December 2014), the compilation and synthesis report of the sixth, and latest, Annex I national communications was presented and included information on research and systematic opbservation (FCCC/SBI/2014/INF.20/Add.2).                        

Workshop by GCOS in collaboration with IPCC and UNFCCC, Feb 10-12 2015, Bonn, Germany. Enhancing observations to support preparedness and adaptation in a changing climate – Learning from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.


Resources on climate change research related information from external organizations
Calendar of upcoming climate change science and research related events from external organizations

Outlook to SBSTA 43


At COP 20, 2014, Lima, Parties re-emphasized the importance of systematic observation for the UNFCCC process at large and the continued need to secure funding to meet the essential needs for national, regional and global climate change observations on a long-term basis.

SBSTA 43 will consider matters related to systematic observation.

  • GCOS secretariat will provide a report on the workshop Enhancing observations to support preparedness and adaptation in a changing climate – Learning from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report;
  • GCOS will present its status report on implementation of the 2010 updated GCOS implementation plan. The SBSTA encouraged Parties to actively engage in the review of the status report, (and support the development of the new implementation plan, including on aspects related to ocean observation and acidification, to be presented at SBSTA 45);
  • CEOS will report on progress made by space agencies providing global observations, in their coordinated response to relevant needs of the Convention, and developing an architecture for climate monitoring from space;
  • WMO will report on progress made in the implementation of the GFCS. SBSTA encouraged Parties to make use of the opportunities provided by GFCS now it has moved to its implementation phase.


SBSTA 44 will address matters related to research.

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