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‘Revised Guidelines for Data Rescue Released’

May 28, 2024 | by The Jeuns

WMO Updates Guidelines on Good Practices for Data Rescue

A significant community effort has supported the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in updating its Guidelines on Good Practices for Data Rescue. This initiative involves the crucial task of accessing, organizing, and preserving recorded instrument observations and environmental data that are at risk of being lost.

Data rescue plays a critical role in ensuring that future generations of scientists and data users have access to essential information needed to assess climate variability and change, as well as to provide various environmental services. These rescued data help bridge the gap between historical records and current observations.

Recognizing the importance of long-term observations, WMO has established a mechanism to identify centennial observing stations. This recognition promotes sustainable observational standards and best practices to facilitate the generation of high-quality time series data.

The updated data rescue guidelines, known as WMO-No. 1182, build upon a 2016 technical document and include the guidelines of the European Union Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) as WMO Guidelines for Hydrological Data Rescue (WMO-No. 1146). These guidelines cover the rescue of meteorological, hydrological, marine, and other environmental data.

The guidelines provide an overview of data rescue, emphasize its importance, and offer practical assistance on archiving original media, imaging, digitization, and archiving digital images and data. They also include fourteen appendices with supporting information.

Experts, including Peer Hechler, WMO Scientific Officer responsible for data rescue, and Omar Baddour, Chief of Climate Monitoring and Policy Services Division, highlight the significance of extending the environmental record backward in time to fill temporal and spatial gaps. This process benefits agrometeorological, disease vectorization, hydrological, and climatological numerical models and enables better projections of future climate.

By combining rescued data with existing information, researchers can place current weather and climate in a historical context, assess historical sensitivities to environmental variability, and better understand the impacts of future changes. These assessments can inform policymakers on mitigating losses from environmental disasters and support economic development.

The updated guidelines have undergone a thorough review by experts from meteorological and academic communities globally, including National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, C3S, International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO), and Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE). The WMO Secretariat expresses its gratitude to all those involved in this important initiative.

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