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Facilitator between the producers of data and the research community

The exchange of hydrological data and information on a global scale is the principal reason for the operation of the GRDC. The 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 on global and climate change, and integrated water resources management by the collection and dissemination of hydrological data across national borders with a long-term perspective. The modelling of the global water balance, the analysis of long-term trends or circulation patterns, and the estimation of fluxes of freshwater and pollutants into the oceans, are only some examples of application of reliable and consistent global data sets.

The GRDC maintains the Global Runoff Database. To keep the database up to date, the Centre is in touch with national institutions, trans-national organisations and partner data centres. The National Hydrological and Hydro-Meteorological Services of the WMO Member states are the prime data providers. GRDC data and the associated data products are freely available following data policy that assures non-commercial data uses as proclaimed by the producers of the data.

The GRDC  is a key partner in a number of data collection and data management projects gearing towards the development and use of requirements-driven products on global scale such as the Global Terrestrial Network for Hydrology (GTN-H). The Centre contributes to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), and other international programmes and initiatives focused on Earth observation towards sustainable development and attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Through its contributions to GTN-H, the Centre is linked to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Acting as an international data centre, GRDC is in the role to co-ordinate and disseminate the information about national data holdings and about the conditions of data access. But more than ever, GRDC is asked today for information about the quality of the data received and the observations that generated the data. All this metadata information needs to be standardised to easily identify, access, evaluate, and use the data. The Centre contributes to the development of a standardised hydrologic metadata profile

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