About the Climate Working Group

Since the first International TOVS Study Conference (ITSC) held in Austria in 1983, the ITSCs significantly evolved and formed numerous working groups and subgroups. The Climate Working Sub-Group (CWSG) now has access to data records in excess of 35 years. Accordingly, the objective of this working sub-group is continuing to improve the management, integrity, quantity, quality and collaboration of climate products as more centers fall in to support Climate Data Record (CDR) production in operations around the world.

The ability to access and share both historical, current and planned climate products and data (both raw and meta-data) has become an essential requirement that empowers leaders to make informed, confident decisions based upon solid and credible recommendations from subject matter experts.

Working group activities

Climate Data Record (CDR) Measurement Maturity Index

As the data records from satellites have become longer and the science of applying these data to climate problems has evolved, best practices for compiling CDRs have emerged. The objectives in compiling these best practices into an assessment model has arisen in order to:

  1. Reduce difficulty and confusion in the community about what attributes are important in climate data records,
  2. Produce an easily understood way of identifying maturity of data products and science data stewardship approaches, and
  3. Help identify areas needing improvement.

In an effort to capture these best practices and assess the maturity of various CDRs, three dimensions for assessing the maturity of a CDR have initially been proposed; scientific maturity, preservation maturity, and societal benefits. The particular maturity level is assessed by defining the set of key process areas and the level of best practices that characterize each area. The result is a score ranging from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) that can be used to provide a rating of the total maturity of a specific climate data record. Essential Climate Variable (ECV) Societal Impact and ECV IPCC Impact Indices in HTML format are anticipated to be available for review, consideration and input from subject matter experts.

NOAA-NCEI worked with scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites–North Carolina to develop a Stewardship Maturity Matrix. It specifies nine data stewardship attributes: preservability, accessibility, usability, production sustainability, data quality assurance, data quality control/monitoring, data quality assessment, transparency/traceability, and data integrity. Measureable stewardship practices for each attribute are provided using a progressive five-level maturity scale. More information can be found here.

Within the CORE-CLIMAX project a European-wide assessment of the maturity of Climate Data Records (CDR) production capacity has been performed. A description of the System Maturity Matrix as well as an accompanying instruction manual can be found via the “Reports”-section of their webpage. Within the GAIA-CLIM project a maturity matrix assessment based on the same approach has been performed for non-satellite Earth observation systems.

Metadata and data formats

Observations without metadata are of very limited use: it is only when accompanied by adequate metadata (data describing the data) that the full potential of the observations can be utilized. Data compatibility will also be supported by the use of standardized data representation and formats. Adding metadata and use of standardized data representation and formats improve the interoperability and compatibility through the application of internationally accepted standards and best practices. The WIGOS metadata standards lists requirements for metadata, which should describe the observed variable, the conditions under which it was observed, how it was measured or classified, and how the data have been processed, in order to provide users with confidence that the data are appropriate for their application. In more specific, metadata shall contain the details and history of local conditions, instruments, operating procedures; data-processing algorithms and other factors pertinent to interpreting data should be documented and treated with the same care as the data themselves. Therefore, CDR development and stewardship shall follow guidance similar to the NCEI Data stewardship maturity matrix or the Copernicus Climate Change (C3S) convention (including recommendations for metadata).

ITSC working group reports

At every ITSC the group meets to discuss developments and issues arising in the areas of interest to the working group, listed above. The resulting reports are part of the overall ITWG working group reports.

Status Links

Satellite Status:

  • POES: NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Satellite Operations providing an instrument status update for the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites
  • JPSS  is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its acquisition agent, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous, environmental satellites. JPSS is part of the JPS..
  • JPS: The Joint Polar System is the result of a cooperative effort between the NOAA and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). It is composed of EUMETSAT’s Metop-Second Generation (Metop-SG) satellites, NOAA’s JPSS satellites and shared ground systems and services.
  • MTSAT/HIMAWARI The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has been operating geostationary meteorological satellites since 1977. The Meteorological Satellite Center (MSC), an auxiliary component of the JMA, was established in April, 1977.
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) JAXA’s Earth Observation Research Center (EORC) was established in April 1995, and is a core element for the analysis and research of Earth observation satellite data, The JAXA EORC performs calibration and validation for observed data and observation instruments aboard Earth observation satellites as well as ADEOS (Midori), developing higher-level algorithms, and experimentally generating research products. The JAXA Satellite Applications and Operations Center (SAOC) promotes the utilization of data obtained by Earth observation satellites, and develops, operates, and maintains ground systems for satellite control, data processing, data storage, and data provision.

In Situ Status

  • NOAA’s National Operational Model Archive and Distribution System (NOMADS) addresses the growing need for remote access to high volume data outputs from numerical weather prediction and global climate models. NOMADS was initiated by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI, formerly National Climatic Data Center), National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). NOMADS provides both real-time and historical data from Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models and other datasets as a distributed format neutral Web Service.

Instrument Status

The different satellite providers give an overview on the status of the satellite and sensors to help users to assess the current and previous performance and health condition of the instrument, which might impact their applications. The list below gives a selection for a number of satellites:

  • POES: NOAA/NESDIS/Office of Satellite Operations providing an instrument status update for the Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites. POES Level 1B Notices from NOAA/NESDIS/OSDO as well as general satellite messages – History of  notifications including visible calibration updates, instrument performance changes, format changes, version changes, corrections, etc.
  • GOES status page: up-to-date status information on each GOES-satellite and its sub-systems.
  • EUMETSAT – satellite status: Information on the status of the EUEMTSAT geostationary and polar satellites and the data (scheduled maintenance outages, new product releases and enhancements, service alerts when anomalies occur, etc.).
  • JMA/MSC Operational Information: operational status, orbit and schedule information, eclipse periods and more for Himawari-8/9  and MTSAT including monthly operation reports for Himawari/MTSAT/GMS back to 2001.

Data Source Access

  • Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) A Japanese 55-year ReAnalysis (JRA-55) produced high quality meteorological datasets for seasonal prediction models and climate research use. The analysis period covers the 55 years from 1958. Data may be accessed via  The predecessor was the Japanese 25-year Reanalysis (JRA-25, covering the period from 1979 to 2004) jointly conducted by the  Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI).
  • ERA-5:  A reanalysis by ECMWF covering the years 1950 to present, ERA-5 is ECMWF’s fifth generation of atmospheric reanalyses of the global climate.
  • Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS) Radiance data from polar-orbiting and geo-stationary satellites (MetOp, JPSS and POES; GOES; and DMSP), as well as, satellite derived products.  Free delivery via FTP and HTTP, otherwise, contact CLASS Help Desk for bulk order delivery.  Subscription services for near real-time data available.
  • Access to EUMETSAT data sets: EUMETSAT provides access to their satellite data via different mechanisms such as, e.g., their Product Navigator or via EUMETCast for near real-time delivery of satellite data. The product navigator allows searching for data generated by EUMETSAT and its Satellite Application Facilities. The EUMETSAT Data Store provides users with a single point of access to a growing catalogue of EUMETSATs meteorological, climate and ocean data. Eventually, it will offer the full data catalogue, including near-real time and historic data and climate data records. The EUMETSAT Data Centre provides a long-term archive of data and generated products from EUMETSAT, which can be ordered online.
  • JAXA G-Portal: G-Portal is a portal system allowing users to search, and download products acquired by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Earth observation satellites.
  • JMA geostationary data: Information on how to access satellite data from JMA can be found via their dissemination and distribution webpage. 
  • NOAA CDR program: The mission of NOAA’s Climate Data Record Program is to develop and implement a robust, sustainable, and scientifically defensible approach to producing and preserving climate records from satellite data. The page gives access to different Fundamental and Thematic Climate Data Records generated by NOAA.
  • Scientific Data Stewardship (SDS) for assistance to agencies and organizations in prioritizing measurement strategies for understanding, detecting, and adapting to climate change. SDS helps foster wide participation in the process of developing measurement strategies and informs interested individuals and organizations about the connections between climate, climate change, and measurements. IPCC Issues and ECVs are discussed in conjunction with Societal benefits and impacts.

Instrument Calibration

  • Satellite instrument calibration information through WMO -OSCAR webpages
    The WMO-OSCAR webpages contain satellite instrument calibration information provided by different space agencies (e.g. for the SEVIRI instrument on Meteosat-8:, click “Show instrument status and calibration”, and then click on one of the links in the column “Instrument landing page”).This link brings users to a unique landing page where one can find a lot of information on instrument calibration. Several space agencies have prepared similar landing pages.This information is useful for the climate community.
  • NOAA/STAR/Integrated Calibration Validation System (ICVS)
    The ICVS webpages provide near real-time as well as long-term monitoring of JPSS instruments on their health status and long-term performance.  The long-term monitoring of instrument calibration parameters are useful for the instrument measurement in climate change applications and development of climate data records.
  • SCOPE-CM projects
    The SCOPE-CM website,, contains main information on the plans and the point of contacts for SCOPE-CM projects that aim at providing FCDRs of heritage instruments.
  • FIDUCEO project
    The Fidelity and uncertainty in climate data records from Earth Observations (FIDUCEO) project produces FCDRs of the heritage instruments listed below:
    • Meteosat Visible and Infra-Red Imager (MVIRI), 1982-2016
    • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), 1982-2016
    • High-resolution Infra-Red Sounder (HIRS), 1982-2016
    • Microwave humidity sounder series (SSM/T2, AMSU-B, MHS), 1992-2016
  • GSICS (Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System)
    GSICS is an international collaborative effort initiated in 2005 by WMO and the CGMS to monitor, improve and harmonize the quality of observations from operational weather and environmental satellites of the Global Observing System (GOS). So far, GSICS has been concentrating mostly on present and future satellite systems, rather than historical satellites. GSICS provides these recalibrations for IR/WV/VIS channels on the geo-satellites. They are now expanding to microwave and UV, as well as to the Leo-Satellites. Relevant information can be found in the Objectives section on the GSCIS webpage.

Instrument Uncertainties

Knowledge of the consistency with respect to each other and with respect to radiometric uncertainties of the bias corrections applied to the instruments assimilated in e.g. reanalysis or generation of thematic climate data records is providing useful insights into the performance of the data records and interpretation of the time series. 

The following section gives an overview of some webpages and presentations holding information on hyperspectral instruments. Other instrument groups will be added in the future.

Hyperspectral Instruments

  • The NOAA ICVS website provides real-time information on monitoring JPSS hyperspectral instruments (includes Satellite – CRTM biases).
  •  EUMETSAT’s IASI pages provide monitoring of the IASI family.
  • In addition, information is routinely presented in GSICS Annual meeting (check for CrIS/IASI/AIRS presentations). Information can be found on the GSICS wiki in the GSICS Meeting and Conferences section. Below is a selection of presentations from previous years:


  • NOAA Polar Orbiter (POD) User guides for NOAA-14 and earlier and NOAA-15 thru NOAA-19 (NOAA-KLMNN’).
  • HIRS/3, AMSU-A and -B channel spectral response and HIRS/3 thermal band-correction coefficients – NOAA KLM User’s Guide – Appendix D
  • TOVS channel spectral response and HIRS/2 thermal band-correction coefficients – Polar Orbiting Data User’s Guide – Section 1.4
  • Technical Documentation  and Science Documentation as well as a description of formats are available via the EUMETSAT webpages. For products available via the EUMETSAT product navigator, the accompanying documentation is available in the “resources” section of the product details.
  • Publication on GMS. MTSAT and Himawari including user’s guide and technical notes, response functions and calibration information are available via JMA/MSC

Climate-related working groups

This section provides links and information to a selection of different climate-related working groups.

CEOS/CGMS Working Group on Climate

The CEOS/CGMS Working Group on Climate is a joint group including CEOS Agencies and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellite (CGMS). It coordinates and encourages collaborative activities between the world’s major space agencies in the area of climate monitoring with the overarching goal to improve the systematic availability of Climate Data Records through the coordinated implementation and further development of a global architecture for climate monitoring from space. Some major outcomes of these activities include a strategy towards an architecture for climate monitoring from space, an ECV Inventory or the CEOS Response to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Implementation Plan (IP) & Satellite Supplement (SS). More details on the activities, meeting and documents (such as the ECV inventory) can be found on the linked webpage.

A selection of reports from the document section:


  • TBD