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The GRDC - the world-wide repository of river discharge data and associated metadata

The Global Runoff Data Centre is an International data centre operating under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Established in 1988 to support the research on global and climate change and integrated water resources management, the GRDC has been serving for twenty years successfully as a facilitator between the producers of hydrologic data and the international research community. GRDC is a key partner in a number of data collection and data management projects on a global scale.

The GRDC - internationally mandated by the United Nations

The exchange of hydrological data and information on the global scale is the principal reason for operating of GRDC. Its primary objective consists in supporting the water and climate related programmes and projects of the United Nations, its specialised agencies and the scientific research community by collecting and disseminating hydrological data across national borders in a long-term perspective.

The Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Climate Observing System for Climate (2AR) published by GCOS in April 2003 on request of the 187 parties who signed the United Nations Framework Convention for Climatic Change (UNFCCC) emphasised the effective data exchange and access in respect of observations of the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). River discharge is one of these ECVs, which needs to be systematically observed to characterise the state of the global climate system, its variability and vulnerability. National services are called by 2AR to ensure that their observations and associated metadata, including historical observations, are available at the established international data centres.

Against the background of increasing data loads and the wide range of data formats and transfer protocols in use, the standardisation and harmonisation of data became essential to efficient data exchange. The GRDC contributes to the process of developing a metadata profile applicable to the description of hydrologic data and based on the relevant ISO standards. The Head of the GRDC was appointed as a permanent co-chair of the newly established OGC Hydrology Domain Working Group of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

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