WMO GCW home

Overview of the Global Cryosphere Watch

The World Meteorological Organization's Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW)1 is an international mechanism for supporting all key cryospheric in-situ and remote sensing observations. To meet the needs of WMO Members and partners in delivering services to users, the media, public, decision and policy makers, GCW provides authoritative, clear, and useable data, information, and analyses on the past, current and future state of the cryosphere. GCW includes observation, monitoring, assessment, product development, prediction, and research. It provides the framework for reliable, comprehensive, sustained observing of the cryosphere through a coordinated and integrated approach on national to global scales to deliver quality-assured global and regional products and services. GCW organizes analyses and assessments of the cryosphere to support science, decision-making and environmental policy. To meet these objectives, GCW implementation encompasses:

The observing component of GCW is a component of the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS). Through WIGOS and the WMO Information System (WIS), GCW will provide a fundamental contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GCW will organize analyses and assessments of the cryosphere to support science, decision-making, environmental policy and services through, inter alia, its foundational support to the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).

A GCW overview is available in a video sideshow (7.5 min). More information on GCW background and structure is given in the Global Cryosphere Watch Implementation Plan.

What specifically is GCW doing?

GCW is fulfilling its objectives through a number of specific activities. Many build on existing information, observations, and programs. All are done in consultation with the community of cryospheric scientists and organizations. GCW is

See the Current Projects page for more information on some of the above activities.

1"WMO Global Cryosphere Watch" in a few other languages: Veille mondiale de la cryosphère relevant de l'OMM, Vigilancia Global de la Criósfera de la OMM, (WMO) المراقبة العالمية للغلاف الجليدي التابعة للمنظمة, WMO全球冰雪圈观察, Глобальная служба криосферы ВМО