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GCOS: Open Review of the Current Requirements for ECVs

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is launching an open review of the current requirements for Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) and would like to invite a wide range of reviewers to participate.

The open review will be the first step for a revision and update of the requirements planned for 2021/2. Revisions to the existing ECV and ECV products, or proposals for new ECV or ECV products, can be made and, support for the existing requirements is also encouraged. Comments should be submitted by the end of 2017 using the online form at

Established in 1992 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and other partners, GCOS maintains a list of ECVs that are required to understand the climate system, to monitor changes to the climate system as well as provide the basis for adapatation and mitigitation plans induced by a changing climate system. In addition to the latter, GCOS recognises that as observation capabilities improve and the needs of users evolve, so too must the list of ECVs and their requirements.

Note the current list of 54 ECVs and their individual observation requirements were published in the recent GCOS Implementation Plan and were welcomed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016.