A National Climate Monitoring Product is something like the “mean temperature anomaly for the UK” or “Highest daily rainfall total in Spain in 2019”. It’s a summary of the weather and climate for a particular country.

The WMO Expert Team on National Climate Monitoring Products has written guidance to define a set of six basic National Climate Monitoring Products (let’s call them NCMPs from now on) which are:

  1.  Mean temperature anomaly averaged across the country
  2.  Total rainfall anomaly averaged across the country
  3.  Standardised precipitation index averaged across the country
  4.  Warm days averaged across the country
  5. Cold nights averaged across the country
  6.  Counts of station records (the odd one out)

The idea is that all Met Services that measure temperature and rainfall – which, by survey, we know is most of them – can calculate these products and use them to understand how weather and climate are changing in their country. Some countries produce some or all of these already and the idea’s not to replace what’s already being done, but to give countries with fewer resources a core set of products to aim for.

NCMPs are useful for understanding the local climate, the relationship between climate variability and change, providing context for what’s happening, raising awareness of the importance of monitoring the climate, for public interest and, well, lots of other reasons. From a different angle, it helps to harmonise what countries are producing, which means that consistent information can then form the basis of regional and global assessments like the BAMS State of the Climate report.

There are numerous potential barriers to doing this. To overcome some of them, the team put some quite-easy-to-use software together that covers the process from quality control of observations, calculation of extremes indices, gridding of the data and calculation of the NCMPs.

You can find the National Climate Monitoring Product code and instruction manuals on GitHub. The code was written and, in part, adapted from ETCCDI software by Megan Hartwell and Lucie Vincent at Environment Canada and then worked on further by Simon Grainger at the Bureau of Meteorology. The different parts of the code produce a range of useful by-products: quality-controlled data, extremes indices, gridded maps of data and the NCMPs themselves.

The code has been run on data from a number of countries including Tanzania, Canada, UK, Morocco, USA and Australia and has been trialled in other countries.