The GAW program is a worldwide network of measurement stations and related facilities coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The purpose of GAW is to describe and to interpret the physical state and the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Therefore, the background level of atmospheric pollutants and other trace substances are measured, to determine long-term environmental trends in global climate systems. The goal of GAW is to supply the scientific community with the means to predict future atmospheric states as well as to provide reliable scientific high quality data and information for national and international policy makers. Currently (2021) the GAW network consists of 31 Global, more than 400 Regional and 100 Contributing Stations.

The GAW community has set high data quality objectives (DQOs) that should be met by all participating stations. Training and education for GAW station personnel are therefore an integral part of the GAW program and critical to the long-term success of the GAW program. As a part of the WMO’s capacity building strategy the German Quality Assurance/ Science Activity Centre (QA/SAC Germany) has established in 2001 the GAW Training and Education Centre (GAWTEC). 

GAWTEC objectives include the enhancement of the ability to identify measurement errors to increase data quality within the GAW station network. Therefore, one important topic in GAWTEC training courses is data evaluation and quality control. One tool used in data evalution ist the programme R. R provides a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, …) and graphical techniques and is highly extensible. This course introduces GAWTEC participants to the programme's basics and data handling. The online course serves as preparation for in depth excercises in the presence courses.