Global Atmosphere Watch

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programme of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a partnership involving 80 countries, which provides reliable scientific data and information on the chemical composition of the atmosphere, its natural and anthropogenic change, and helps to improve the understanding of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere.
The GAW network of designated global stations

One of the core tasks of the GAW programme is the coordination of the activities and data of currently 30 global and more than 400 regional atmospheric research stations to produce data that are relevant to climate change.

Conceptual GAW quality assurance system
The GAW monitoring programme targets six classes of variables (i.e. ozone, UV radiation, greenhouse gases, aerosols, selected reactive gases and precipitation chemistry). Each of the six variable groups is supported by a Scientific Advisory Group and so called GAW Central Facilities (Quality Assurance/Science Activity Centres, Central Calibration Laboratories, World and Regional Calibration Centres and World Data Centres) responsible for quality control, scientific guidance and technical details of the global network.
GAW at Empa
The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have been designated by WMO to operate two Central Facilites: the World Calibration Centre for Surface Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, Methane and Carbon Dioxide (WCC-Empa), and a Quality Assurance/Scientific Activity Centre (QA/SAC Switzerland).  Funding for both activities by MeteoSwiss is greatfully acknowledged.
Mission Statement

The mission of WCC-Empa and QA/SAC Switzerland is to improve and maintain the quality and public access of surface ozone, carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide data measured at Global Atmosphere Watch stations, primarily through system and performance audits at GAW stations, inter-comparison and calibration of instrumentation, one-to-one training and workshops, as well as continuous operational and strategic support for the GAW programme, in order to contribute to the scientific basis of our understanding of climate change.

Currently (2011-2016), the GAW team at Empa is also involved in the CATCOS (Capacity Building and Twinning for Climate Observing Systems) project that is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) with MeteoSwiss as the coordinating partner. Within CATCOS, Empa is responsible for the implementation of greenhouse gas observation capabilities in Vietnam, Chile and Kyrgyzstan & associated twinning / support.

Please direct questions and/or comments about Empa’s GAW activities to  (Head of Department), Martin Steinbacher (QA/SAC Switzerland) or Christoph Zellweger (WCC-Empa).

More information

WCC-Empa (World Calibration Centre for Surface Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, Methane and Carbon Dioxide)

QA/SAC Switzerland (Quality Assurance/Scientific Activity Centre)

WMO/GAW Glossary of QA/QC-Related Terminology

CATCOS Webpage @ Empa


The Global Atmosphere Watch Programme: 25 Years of Global Coordinated Atmospheric Composition Observations and Analyses

GAW Report No. 229: 18th WMO/IAEA Meeting on Carbon Dioxide, Other Greenhouse Gases and Related Measurement Techniques (GGMT-2015)

GAW Report No. 213: 17th WMO/IAEA Meeting on Carbon Dioxide, Other Greenhouse Gases and Related Tracers Measurement Techniques (GGMT-2013)