Report of the GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network Implementation Meeting, Lindenberg, Germany, 26-28 February 2008


World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Last version

v1 (2008)







The Meeting on Implementation of the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) was hosted by the German Meteorological Service (DWD), at the Richard Aßmann Observatory in Lindenberg, recently designated by WMO as the Lead Centre for the GRUAN network. The objective of the meeting, headlined “Start small, but start”, was to develop a work plan for the GRUAN Lead Centre and other interested parties that: ƒ

  • Identifies and addressesremainingscientific and technicalissues; ƒ
  • Ensures observations are being made in a mannerconsistent with the stated GRUAN requirements henceforth at a number of initial sites;and
  • Informs priorities for the GCOS Working Group on Atmospheric Reference Observations.

This report is mainly focusing on the results of discussions at the meeting. The presentations given at the meeting are available on the DWD website at

It should be stressed that the meeting included the representation of a broad range of perspectives and that this report primarily attempts to summarize consensus positions where these were reached. Where they were not, the range of opinions is attempted to be briefly captured. This report should not be interpreted as representing the views of any of the individual participants.

The report “GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN): Justifications, requirements, siting and instrumentation options” (GCOS-112, WMO/TD No. 1379), summarizing the two previous workshops in Boulder and Seattle, serves as a basis for this report and should be read in conjunction with it to provide the necessary context. It should be noted that when deciding upon the format of the requirements tables in GCOS-112 there was much discussion about “objective” and “break-through” criteria, as exists in most NWP-derived requirements tables. The decision was reached that the final tables were only to consist of an objective threshold that was the desired final measuring precision to answer relevant climate questions. The idea was not that measurements at these specifications would be possible from initiation of the GRUAN network operation. Rather the hope was that providing a single objective would spur the manufacture of instruments to meet the scientific requirements in a timely fashion.

Following the meeting in Lindenberg the Working Group has submitted an article about GCOS Reference Upper Air Network in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, providing an outline of the rationale, progress and plans for the implementation of the network to the wider scientific community and inviting feedback and active participation.