INSPIRE Knowledge Base


WMO Global Runoff Data Centre
Mission and Objectives: 
The GRDC is the digital world-wide depository of discharge data and associated metadata. GRDC's role is to serve as a facilitator between data providers (typically National Hydrological Services, NHS) and data users (international research community). It serves under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and has been established at the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), Germany, in 1988 in order to support the international hydrological and climatological research community by collection and dissemination of a comprehensive and sound data base of historical daily and monthly river discharge data. Recently, GRDC's mission has been extended to the collection of near-real-time river discharge data. The Global Terrestrial Network for River Discharge (GTN-R) is thus currently under development, aiming at drawing together the already available heterogeneous information on near-real-time river discharge data provided by individual NHS and redistributing it in a harmonised way (network service).
Formal Mandate: 
(I) WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION Twelfth WMO Congress, Geneva, May/June 1995 RESOLUTION 21 (Cg-XII, 1995) GLOBAL RUNOFF DATA CENTRE (GRDC) THE CONGRESS, Noting: 1. That the GRDC has its origins in support to the WCRP and to studies of large-scale hydrological processes, 2. The generous support that has been provided by Germany over many years for the establishment and maintenance of the Centre, 3. That the GRDC is now widely-recognized as the principal source of global data on river flows, providing an effective service to an increasing range of users, 4. That the Centre already cooperates in a number of major international projects, 5. That through its Resolution 11 (EC-XLV) - Report of the ninth session of the Commission for Hydrology, the Executive Council had approved Recommendation 2 (CHy-IX) - Support to global data centres, Considering: 1. That new and increased demands are now being put on the Centre, in particular in relation to the global assessment of the world´s water resources requested by the second session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (1994), the need for a global data centre in relation to WHYCOS, and for various climate studies, 2. That the Centre will need considerably more resources if it is to meet these new demands effectively, Recognizing that the GRDC is a major component of WMO´s HWRP, serving also the WCRP and other programmes of the Organization, Encourages Members: 1. To support the GRDC through the provision of the hydrological data and related information that it needs, including through the regional components of WHYCOS; 2. To consider also providing support to the Centre in the form of staff, funding, and other resources; Requests the president of the Commission for Hydrology to ensure that the Commission provides the GRDC with the scientific and technical advice that it requires; Requests the Secretary-General: 1. To invite other international organizations to cooperate with the GRDC, to make use of the services that it offers and to contribute both data and other resources in support of its operations; 2. To provide all possible support to the GRDC from available resources and to seek additional resources for this purpose from external sources. (II) In the Plan the GCOS Steering Committee developed a set of recommendations on actions for formal consideration by the 21st session of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in Buenos Aires in December 2004. One of these recommendations (on Action T4, page 89) relates to the ECV "River Discharge", more specific to a baseline network of around 380 gauging stations providing daily river discharge data with little lag-time, for simplicity called GTN-R (Global Terrestrial Network for River Discharge): Action T4: Confirm locations of GTN-R sites, determine operational status of gauges at all GTN-R sites, ensure that the GRDC receive daily river discharge data from all 380 sites within one year of their observation (including measurement and data transmission technology used). Who: National Hydrological Services, through WMO CHy in cooperation with TOPC, GTOS and the GRDC. Time-Frame: 2006 for finalization of network and reporting of any historical records, complete compliance, i.e., one-year time lag by 2009. Performance Indicator: Reports to WMO CHy on the completeness of the GTN-R record held in the GRDC including the number of stations and nations submitting data to the GRDC, National Communication to UNFCCC.
- Acquisition, storage, dissemination and reporting of historic daily and monthly River Discharge Time Series' on global scale (7222 stations as of Mar 2005) - In the framework of GTN-R, development of a software, that collects near-real-time (NRT)-discharge data from distributed servers in the internet (GRDC NRT-Monitor), harmonises and summarises it, and makes it available again in a single standard ASCII-format via a FTP-server. for the time being, this pragmatical approach has been choosen until more advanced technologies become more wide-spread and accepted in the hydrological community. - Preparation of Data Products (based on the original time series') as well as Reports. - Besides its Standard Services GRDC maintains many close Collaborations, Cooperations & Participations with International Organisations & Programmes and International Projects & Experiments as well as with Research Centres & Universities. This includes specialised services for the research community, water managers and water-related programmes of the specialised agencies of the United Nations (UN). - Participation in / contribution to international coordinating / integrating activities such as 2AR, GCOS-IP (UNFCCC), GEOSS-IP, ET-IDM (WMO-CBS) etc.
GRDC staff currently consists of 5 persons. GRDC is supervised by an International Steering Committee: SC Members: WMO (HWRD, HWRP), UNESCO, UNEP, ICSU/IAHS, BfG, GPCC, GWPO, IGRAC, FRIEND, WCRP, CHy, Government of Japan, represented by the River Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan (MLIT), Representatives of developing countries from WMO regions not represented at the meeting Observers: WWAP, IHP-HWRP Secretariat Germany, Former Chairman, Prof. Hans-Jürgen LIEBSCHER, serving the GRDC SC from 1988-2001

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • submit reference material as input to the Drafting Teams
  • yes
  • allocate experts to Drafting Teams
  • yes
  • participate in the review process
  • yes
  • implement pilot projects to test/revise/develop the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
  • contribute to awareness raising and training
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    Societal Sector
    United Nations
    Specific Expertise
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    - Management of a global data centre for river discharge data - Some knowledge of ISO 19115 (Metadata), ISO 19139 (XML-Implementation Specification of 19115) and ISO 19119 (Catalogue Services Web) - Development of a prototype network service in the framework of the European Flood Forecasting System (EFFS) - Observer in the Expert Team on Integrated Data Management of the Commission For Basic Systems of WMO ( ), providing input from the hydrological point of view to their development of the WMO Core Metadata Profile of ISO 19115 ( - Awareness rising of the need for metadata inventories and a global data infrastructure at numerous meetings/workshops/organisations and authoring of papers on this topic, including: * World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) * World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) * Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), contribution especially to the data integration topic in the Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing Systems for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (2AR) and the Implementation Plan for the Global Observing Systems for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (GCOS IP) * Global Water System Project (GWSP) * Integrated Technologies for Environmental Monitoring and Information Production, NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Marmaris, Turkey, 2001 * Monitoring Tailor-Made IV Conference, Information to support sustainable development: From local to global levels, St. Michielsgestel, Niederlande, 2003 * First International Symposium on Geo-information for Disaster Management, Delft, The Netherlands, 2005 * WCRP and UNESCO/WMO Workshop "Applicability of climate research and information for water resource management in semi-arid and arid regions", Cairo, Egypt, 2005 * International Work Session on Water Statistics, UN Statistics Division, UNEP, FAO, OECD and Eurostat, Austrian Umweltbundesamt, Vienna, Austria, 2005
    Environmental application domains
    Monitoring River Discharge, Hydrology, Water Resources, Global Water and Energy Cycle, Climate Change
    Primary Business
    Managment of a data centre on global river discharge data, data acquisition and dissemination