SBA Description Weather

Statement of Need

Industries need improved and extended-lead-time weather forecasts to improve productivity and cut costs. Achievable improvements in Earth observations (the crucial front-end of weather forecasting and warning) are needed to improve timeliness, data quality, and long term continuity of observations in order to reduce analysis and model initialization error, increase forecast accuracy, extend warning lead times, and maintain the climate record.

Vision and How GEOSS will help

The vision as expressed by WMO is that every country will have the weather information needed to virtually eliminate loss of life and to reduce property damage due to severe weather events. In developing countries for which there are limited or no operational weather capabilities, the vision is to enable them to efficiently and effectively exploit existing weather observations and develop information services.
GEOSS will contribute to providing a timely, comprehensive, and accurate initial state for forecast models, which is crucial to making more specific short-range forecasts. Secondly, GEOSS will provide comprehensive observations necessary to extend the range of useful products, which when acted upon will effectively reduce the adverse impact of weather on a larger number of global inhabitants and regions. Thirdly, GEOSS will help GEO Members and Participating Organizations to more efficiently address the end-to-end weather information services needs, resulting in greater service for less cost.

Existing Situation and Gaps

In situ observations are primarily undertaken at a national level, but there have been some significant developments in Europe on improved coordination through the Network of European Meteorological Services (EUMETNET). Exploiting existing weather information is a particular problem for developing countries, which often lack communication mechanisms to properly receive and act on that information.
Lack of complete global observational coverage of the atmosphere, land and oceans inhibits development and exploitation of extended range products. There is also a need to improve the timeliness and temporal coverage of data delivery from low Earth orbit. There is a need for improved data distribution and coding. Improving the network of observations in the oceans, polar areas, and tropical land areas, as well as developing new observing technologies, are also seen as priorities. Scientific modeling techniques still limit the accuracy and reliability of weather forecasts and warnings, and data are needed to validate the models. Telecommunication and computer processing gaps limit observation exchange, scientific collaboration, and dissemination of critical information to decision-makers and the general public. Parallel improvements in education and training processes are necessary to ensure full user exploitation of that information worldwide.

For more information regarding this SBA, please consult the “10-Year Implementation Plan Reference Document by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)”, available at: