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CHARMe and the WMO Information System

The CHARMe project will provide ECA&D at KNMI the ability to handle commentary data.  This is good for ECA&D climate data, but ECA&D is only one regional climate centre among many centres worldwide.  How can CHARMe be made available to all these centres, hence achieving more impact?  Can the WMO Information System be used for this purpose?  Let’s have a closer look .

 In 2009, the World Climate Conference-3 decided to establish the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) “to strengthen the production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services”. The GFCS is a major initiative for WMO and for which the Copernicus programme will be a fundamental European contribution. 


The Climate Service Information System(CSIS) is the ‘operational centre’ of GFCS .The regional centres including ECA&D will form the backbone of the CSIS. It is the GFCS that promotes effective CSIS-wide use of WMO Information System (WIS). 

What is the WMO Information System (WIS)?  WIS is defined as the global infrastructure for telecommunications and data management functions, suitable for all WMO Programmes, for routine collection and automated dissemination of observed data and products, as well as data discovery, access and retrieval services for all data produced by centres and members within the framework of any WMO Programme.  An important aspect of WIS is that it is open to “other users” (public, institutes) outside the WMO community.


WIS distinguishes three types of centres forming the core infrastructure of WIS: Global Information System Centres (GISCs), Data Collection or Production Centres (DCPCs), and National Centres (NCs). GISCs offer connectivity within their area of responsibility using dedicated and public networks, and together form the “Core Network”. The DCPCs and NCs are the data centres with either national focus (NC) or  regional/global focus (DCPC).  A WMO Regional Climate Centre like ECA&D is typically a DCPC. Other examples of DCPCs are ECMWF and EUMETSAT. 

One required function for a DCPC is the ability “to describe products according to an agreed WMO standard and provide access to this catalogue of products and provide this information as appropriate to other centres, in particular a GISC”.  This concerns creation and discovery of metadata using  the WMO Core Metadata Profile of the ISO 19115 and a Catalogue Server. What if this (discovery) metadata could be extended by commentary metadata using CHARMe ?

There are basically two WIS compliant solutions offering DCPC functionality: OpenWIS® and Discover Weather. KNMI has selected OpenWIS®  because it is open source and the most popular solution.  If CHARMe (plug-in) could become part of this OpenWIS® package, substantial impact can be achieved. This requires support for CHARMe from the OpenWIS® Steering Committee (UK Met office, Meteo France, BOM Australia etc) . Perhaps a feasible opportunity to integrate CHARMe with WIS…..

Nevertheless, before integrating CHARMe with any WIS compliant solution, practical experience with systems like ECA&D is needed first.