The GEWEX program, a core project of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), is dedicated to understanding Earth’s water cycle and energy fluxes at and below the surface and in the atmosphere.
Through a network of scientists, GEWEX facilitates in measuring and predicting global and regional energy and water variations, trends, and extremes, such as heat waves, floods, and droughts, through improved observations and modeling of land, atmosphere, and their interaction, thereby providing the scientific underpinnings of climate services. GEWEX also points out important gaps in knowledge and implements ways to fix those gaps, whether through new studies, reviews of datasets, gatherings of experts, or other opportunities. Founded in the early 90s, GEWEX has gone through several evolutionary changes and is currently in its phase 3 (2013-2022) and has seven Imperatives that provide a detailed framework for GEWEX activities by focusing on seven areas where GEWEX can best advance water and energy cycle science.
Currently four different panels help achieve GEWEX’s objective to best advance its knowledge on water and energy cycle science:
- Global Land-Atmosphere System Studies (GLASS) Panel
The Global Land-Atmosphere System Studies (GLASS) Panel coordinates the evaluation and intercomparison of the new generation of land models and their applications to scientific queries of broad interest. Thus, a key objective of GLASS is model development and evaluation, emphasizing comparisons to observational benchmarking datasets.
- Global Atmospheric System Studies (GASS) Panel
The Global Atmospheric System Studies (GASS) Panel facilitates and supports the international community that carries out and uses observations, process studies, and numerical model experiments with the goal of developing and improving the representation of the atmosphere in weather and climate models. Primarily, GASS coordinates scientific projects that bring together experts to contribute to the development of atmospheric models.
- GEWEX Hydroclimatology Panel (GHP)
The GEWEX Hydroclimatology Panel (GHP) aims to understand and predict continental to local-scale hydroclimates for hydrologic applications. There are three types of projects within GHP that allow to do this.
- Regional Hydroclimatological Projects (RHPs) are an essential tool in understanding and predicting hydroclimates as they bring together various disciplines on water-related issues.
- Cross-Cutting Projects allow GHP to propagate knowledge from one region to another and synthesize results at the global scale. They also facilitate the development and testing of applications derived from the improved understanding of environmental water and energy exchanges at the regional scale and from an integrative perspective.
- Global Data Centers collect and distribute important hydrology-related data.
- GEWEX Data and Analysis Panel (GDAP)
The GEWEX Data and Analysis Panel (GDAP) was organized to bring together theoretical and experimental insights into the radiative interactions and climate feedbacks associated with cloud processes. The central question that governs the GDAP mission is: “how sensitive is the Earth’s climate to changes in radiative and other forcings?” Answering this question will enable improved prediction of transient natural climate variations, such as El Niño, and provide better understanding of the consequences of natural and human-induced climate changes.
To promote science of the global water and energy cycles, GEWEX is also involved in the following activities :
- Assessments: GEWEX coordinates the assessment of parameters that are related to the global water and energy balance.
- Capacity Building: One of GEWEX’s goals as it moves forward is to foster capacity building through the training of scientists and outreach to the community that uses the information GEWEX helps to produce.
- Monsoons Panel: This panel explores a more global view of monsoon activities, enabling knowledge and best practice to be shared between the various monsoon regions.
- Outreach: GEWEX brings in the next generation of researchers through its outreach projects, engaging scientists at the beginning of their careers through workshops and other events.
- Process Evaluation Studies: The GEWEX Process Evaluation Studies (GEWEX PROES) intend to provide observational based metrics for a better understanding of climate-related physical processes and thus to advance their representation in research, weather, and climate models.
The activities of GEWEX are governed by the GEWEX Scientific Steering Group (SSG) that guides the formation of GEWEX’s scientific program and is comprised of scientists from across the world who study issues related to the global water and energy cycles. In addition to monitoring and shaping the course for GEWEX, the SSG briefs the Joint Steering Committee of WCRP, on progress made within GEWEX and general advances in understanding in our areas of scientific expertise.
The International GEWEX Project Office (IGPO) supports these activities by planning meetings, implementing research goals, and producing a quarterly newsletter to keep the GEWEX community informed. IGPO is hosted by the Universities Space Research Association and operated in conjunction with the Science and Technology Corporation. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the primary sponsor of IGPO.
For more information and detailed review of their thematic activities, please visit the GEWEX’s website at https://www.gewex.org/