To monitor the world's climate adequately, scientists need data from the “best” climate stations exchanged internationally on a real-time basis. To make this vision a reality, a global surface reference climatological station network is in the process of being established through the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). To initially select stations to be considered for inclusion in this GCOS Surface Network, a methodology was developed to rank and compare land surface weather observing stations from around the world from a climate perspective and then select the best stations in each region that would create an evenly distributed network. This initial selection process laid the groundwork for and facilitates the subsequent review by World Meteorological Organization member countries, which will be an important step in establishing the GCOS Surface Network.

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*Global Climate Laboratory, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

+Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, De Bilt, The Netherlands.

#Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.