Climate observations and climate models are producing significant amounts of data and information. Research and development of Earth observing systems, models and field experiments comprise an intrinsic part of WCRP activities and contribute to the continuation and expansion of global environmental monitoring. Every WCRP project develops data and information and has a set of observation activities. The WCRP Data Advisory Council (WDAC) acts as a focal point for all WCRP data, information, and observation activities with its sister programmes, and coordinates their high-level aspects across WCRP, ensuring cooperation with main partners such as GCOS and other observing programmes.  WDAC works with the WCRP Modelling Advisory Council (WMAC) to promote the effective use of observations with models and to address issues related to the coordinated development of data assimilation, reanalysis, Observing System Sensitivity Experiments, and paleoclimatic data and their assessments.

The Joint Scientific Committee of WCRP, at its extraordinary JSC 2011 meeting in October 2011 in Boulder, CO U.S.A., confirmed the establishment of WDAC to strengthen the coordination and synergies between the various observational and data analysis efforts across the program. The establishment of the Council was the result of a preparatory process that considered evaluations and findings from a number of groups and events, including the OceanObs’09 Conference; the Framework for Ocean Observing; the ICSU Visioning Process and the Belmont Forum and the subsequent creation of the Earth System Sustainability Initiative; the World Climate Conference-3 and the subsequent establishment of the Global Framework for Climate Services; and the WCRP Open Science Conference focusing on “Climate Research in Service to Society”, and calling for ‘actionable science’ and closer connection with decision makers. The Council embraces the former WCRP Observations and Assimilation Panel (WOAP) as one of its major mandates. WDAC meets annually and reports to the subsequent JSC session and partner programmes.