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Systematic observation

Systematic observation of the climate system - atmosphere, land and ocean - is a key prerequisite for advancing scientific knowledge on climate change and informing decision making on mitigation and adaptation


The Convention calls on Parties to promote and cooperate in research, systematic observation and the development of data archives, including through exchange of information; to support programmes, networks and organizations; and improve the capacities of developing countries  (Articles 4.1(g) and 5).

Parties provide detailed technical reports on the status of their national systematic observation via their National Communications, in line with the guidelines in decision 11/CP.13.  This reporting must also take into account the new ECVs identified in the GCOS 2016 implementation plan (gcos-200).

The Paris Agreement identifies the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge. This requires strengthening of knowledge on climate, including systematic observation of the climate system and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making.

Implementation of systematic observation is supported through the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other agencies.

Further background information >>

Negotiations on SBSTA Agenda item: Research and Systematic Observation

The SBSTA considers systematic observation during the second sessional period of every year (as mandated in FCCC/SBSTA/2012/5, paragraph 46)

An pdf-icon informal compilation of all mandates on systematic observation (858 kB) , updated annually after the publication of the SBSTA report from the second sessional period, provides a complete list of all decisions and conclusions on systematic observation to date.

Resources for negotiators (see below) for the next session are provided in advance as soon as they become available and include relevant reports, submissions and statements. 

Outcomes from all previous sessions, including information notes, reports, submissions and statements, are available in the chronology section.

The most recent sessions and outcomes are

SBSTA 47 / COP 23 (2017)

  • See SBSTA 47 conclusions FCCC/SBSTA/2017/7, paragraphs 47-61, Agenda item 8: Research and systematic observation 
  • An pdf-icon information Note (673 kB) was provided by the Chair of the SBSTA in advance of the session to support Parties in their work and is referred to in the conclusions   

SBSTA 45 / COP 22 (2016)

Latest reports and updates from WMO, GCOS, CEOS and CGMS




Links to websites and resources of partners and other relevant organizations
Calendar of climate change science-related events from external organizations
Resources for negotiators SBSTA 49 Agenda item. Research and Systematic observation

SBSTA 49 will take place during the 2018 second sessional period, 03 Dec - 14 Dec 2018

 Information will be updated as soon as it becomes available.



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