Working Group III

Working group III (WG III): Operational Continuity and Contingency Planning

The Working Group on Contingency Planning (WG III) was established in 1992 in order to deal with the risk of discontinuity in the key data services provided to WMO, and with contingency action planning to mitigate such risks. The approach to contingency planning involves global planning supplemented by bilateral agreements based on the “help your neighbour” concept.

The Working Group was initially focusing on key missions for weather monitoring and forecasting. In 2002, CGMS agreed extend its considerations to climate monitoring missions, and, in 2015, also to space weather missions.

Terms of reference of WG III 

WG III Co-chairs: Irene Parker, NOAA / Shihao Tang, CMA

WG III Rapporteur:  Heikki Pohjola, WMO / Anne Taube, EUMETSAT (acting)


Working Group III has the following objectives:

  1. To review the overall baseline for the CGMS observing system, with reference to the WMO Vision of the Global Observing System and taking into account the strategic plans of CGMS members.
  2. To review the status of implementation of the CGMS baseline.
  3. To analyse the mapping of planned missions against the CGMS baseline.
  4. To identify continuity issues and initiate risk analysis as appropriate.
  5. To propose contingency planning addressing specific observational gaps.
  6. To propose optimisation measures for the observing systems as appropriate.

Outcomes and perspective

With reference to the baseline configuration of CGMS missions in support of weather monitoring and forecasting, climate monitoring and space weather applications, global contingency planning measures are being developed to ensure robust implementation of this baseline configuration.

As examples of these measures, bilateral agreements are in place for ensuring mutual back-up amongst several geostationary satellite operators of adjacent regions. Mutual back-up operations were conducted on a number of occasions since 1992 to replace or second a failing satellite by an available spare satellite, e.g. Meteosat-3 was relocated over the Atlantic in replacement of GOES-7, and Meteosat-5, -6 and -7 over the Indian Ocean in replacement of GOMS-Electro N1; GOES-9 was moved westwards over the Pacific to fill the gap between GMS-5 and MTSAT-1R. A multi-lateral approach has been established to ensure a robust coverage of geostationary data over the Indian Ocean after the end of operations of Meteosat-7 in 2017. For the Low Earth Orbit, WGIII proposed the optimisation of the overall configuration by launching the future FY-3 satellite of the China Meteorological Administration to an early morning orbit.

WG III reviews the global satellite planning agreed by CGMS Members in response to requirements expressed by WMO, IOC and other relevant user communities, to monitor the risk of gaps in implementing this planning, and to define individual or collaborative actions to be taken accordingly by CGMS Members if the risk arises, in order to secure continuity of the critical services.