Annette Eicker | 2019-09-30

New IAG ICC on “Geodesy for Climate Research”

During the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal the IAG Executive Committee (EC) established a new IAG Inter-Commission Committee on "Geodesy for Climate Research" (ICCC) to enhance the use of geodetic observations for climate studies. The goal is to establish a systematic and comprehensive approach among the various geodetic communities, but also to establish and foster links to climate science.

Geodetic Data for Climate 

The growing data record from numerous geodetic observation provides a new quantitative view on various variables that are relevant for climate research, such as tropospheric water vapor, thermospheric neutral density, terrestrial water storage, ice sheet and mountain glacier mass , steric and barystatic sea level, sea surface winds, ocean waves, subsurface and surface currents, or sea ice extent and -thickness. Many of these are listed as Essential Climate Variables (ECV) according to the definition by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). 


While it is generally recognized that geodetic data provide invaluable information for studying the planet’s changing climate, programmatic obstacles, technical limitations such as the length of time series, and scientifically open questions have been identified that hamper the broader recognition of geodesy as an important source of information for climate research. 


Specific goals of the ICCC are:

  • to deepen the understanding of the potential (and limitations) of geodetic measurements for the observation, analysis and identification of climate signals;
  • to advance the development of geodetic observing systems, analysis techniques and data products regarding their sensitivity to and impact on Essential Climate Variables;
  • to advance the improvement of numerical climate models, climate monitoring systems, and climate reanalysis efforts through incorporating geodetic observations;
  • to stimulate scientific exchange and collaboration between the geodetic and the climate science communities;
  • to make geodetic variables more user-friendly by sharing them publicly and explaining their usefulness.


The activities of the ICC will primarily be carried out through its thematic working and study groups to be set up at the next IAG EC meeting in December. Furthermore, plans of the ICCC comprise the organization of a workshop series to intensify the exchange between different geodetic communities and the climate monitoring and modeling communities, the organization of related sessions at international conferences, and the establishment of links to other climate science related bodies within IUGG and beyond. 

More information

Follow the ICCC on Twitter (@iag_climate) and find more information on the ICCC website: Would you like to contribute and/or have any ideas or comments? Please contact Annette Eicker (

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