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WMO Information System (WIS) now operational

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced on 31 January that its new weather and climate information system has now become operational. Thanks to this important advance, the WMO Information System (WIS) promises to make a critical contribution to international cooperation on Earth observation and to serve as an exemplar component of GEOSS.

Applying the same interoperability principles as those set out in the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan, WIS has evolved from the closed private network that was WMO’s Global Telecommunication System (GTS) to become much more accessible to users outside the traditional WMO community. In addition to providing the WMO community with access through WMO’s own systems, WIS will make it easier for all GEO societal benefit areas to find and use meteorological observations and products relevant to their activities. WIS can be accessed via the GEO Portal or directly through WMO’s own clearinghouses, known as Global Information System Centres. WIS is an operational system that is based entirely on the interoperable systems operated and maintained by WMO Members.

Tornado and lighting strikingIn his statement announcing the newly operational WIS, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said that “The WMO Information System is the pillar of our strategy for managing and moving weather, climate and water information in the 21st century … It will reduce the costs of information exchange incurred by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and maximize exploitation of advances in communications technology. It will allow users outside the meteorological community to have free access to this information for the first time. This will be especially important as WMO moves ahead with other UN and international partners with the Global Framework for Climate Services, which aims to provide basic climate services for all in the food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health sectors.”

GEO Secretariat Director José Achache points out that another key benefit of WIS going operational is that WMO Members who have registered their data and systems in WIS are automatically registered in GEOSS. The interoperability arrangement between GEOSS and WIS will save both time and money because data contributors will not have to register their data in two different systems.

The GEO Secretariat encourages WIS centres to, in addition to participating in GEOSS through the WIS, register other services and standards they use in the GEOSS components and standards registries to facilitate even greater interoperability with the wider community. It also encourages WMO to continue to work with GEO through the AIP-5 by providing operational data for testing and demonstration purposes and by helping other contributors to realise the benefits of being a contributing system to GEOSS.