WMO regulates the real-time international exchange of observation data to ensure the availability of high-quality observational data for many applications in particular for meteorological and hydrological forecasts, and allowing Prediction Centers (for Numerical Weather Prediction – NWP as well as climate and hydrological prediction) to be able to produce reliable products. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) use NWP products to monitor and predict the weather and hydrological conditions to issue forecasts and warnings for the protection of the lives and property of citizens against natural hazards, notably in the framework of the Early Warnings for All initiative.
NMHSs operate networks comprising different observing systems to meet the observational data requirements for national, regional and international needs, and to exchange data internationally, in accordance with the WMO technical regulations. Data are collected from the observing platforms, processed and quality controlled before being used nationally and exchanged internationally. WMO does not regulate this initial data collection segment of transmission of data from the observing station to the data collection and processing system (first-mile data collection).
A lack of standardization in the first-mile data collection undermines the interoperability among the observing systems and data collection systems procured and operated by NMHSs. A proliferation of centralized processing hardware seen in many NMHSs is mainly due to this first-mile standardization gap, and NMHSs are forced to introduce middleware to homogenize the data and resolve the lack of interoperability. The resulting diversity of the observing systems, and data collection and processing systems is on the path to being unmanageable as the growth of the observing networks in size and complexity is fueled by the need to protect lives and property from the more frequent and severe natural hazards due to climate change.
WMO calls for the private sector to collaborate in standardizing the first-mile data transmission to support the NMHSs in a difficult time of growing commitments and decreasing budgets to simplify the data transmission between the observing systems and data collection and processing systems by standardizing telecommunication, transmission protocols and data formats.
- To scope the gap we have about data transmission between Automatic Observing Stations/Platforms, smarts sensors and central data collection systems, and their interoperability.
- To learn from the experience in the first-mile data collection at NMHSs regarding Automatic Weather Stations.
- To brainstorm about and create momentum in the idea of defining a recommended practice in the first-mile data transmission from Automatic Observing Stations/Platforms and smart sensors including standardization in data transmission configuration of dataloggers, where we don’t have any standard at the moment.
- To adopt a statement that recommends INFCOM-3 consider this issue and start a process to come up with a recommended practice to ensure interoperability and make system integration easier in data collection and processing systems by standardizing the first-mile data transmission for telecommunication, transmission protocols and data formats.
- To further strengthen the connection between industry, WMO Secretariat and Members.
- A statement to be included in an INF document to be submitted to INFCOM-3 in April, 2024, which:
- Summarizes the challenges that Members face regarding data integration from different Automatic Observing Stations/Platforms into data reception and processing systems, and willingness of the industry to participate, and
- Some recommendation on a possible way forward
- A meeting report, which may become part of the INF document to be submitted to INFCOM-3
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