The First 30 Years of GEWEX

Graeme Stephens, Jan Polcher, Xubin Zeng, Peter van Oevelen, Germán Poveda, Michael Bosilovich, Myoung Hwan Ahn, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Qingyun Duan, Gabriele Hegerl, Christian Jakob, Benjamin Lamptey, Ruby Leung, Maria Piles, Zhongbo Su, Paul Dirmeyer, Kirsten L. Findell, Anne Verhoef, Michael Ek, Tristan L'EcuyerRémy Roca, Ali Nazemi, Francina Dominguez, Daniel Klocke, Sandrine Bony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Global Energy and Water Cycle Exchanges (GEWEX) project was created more than 30 years ago within the framework of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The aim of this initiative was to address major gaps in our understanding of Earth's energy and water cycles given a lack of information about the basic fluxes and associated reservoirs of these cycles. GEWEX sought to acquire and set standards for climatological data on variables essential for quantifying water and energy fluxes and for closing budgets at the regional and global scales. In so doing, GEWEX activities led to a greatly improved understanding of processes and our ability to predict them. Such understanding was viewed then, as it remains today, essential for advancing weather and climate prediction from global to regional scales. GEWEX has also demonstrated over time the importance of a wider engagement of different communities and the necessity of international collaboration for making progress on understanding and on the monitoring of the changes in the energy and water cycles under ever increasing human pressures. This paper reflects on the first 30 years of evolution and progress that has occurred within GEWEX. This evolution is presented in terms of three main phases of activity. Progress toward the main goals of GEWEX is highlighted by calling out a few achievements from each phase. A vision of the path forward for the coming decade, including the goals of GEWEX for the future, are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E126-E157
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • Budgets
  • Climate change
  • Climate variability
  • Hydrologic cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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