News / Press releases

Global Climate in 2014 marked by extreme heat and flooding
23 March 2015

Report Released for World Meteorological Day: Climate Knowledge for Climate Action

Record ocean heat, high land-surface temperatures and devastating flooding were some of the defining characteristics of the global climate in 2014, which was nominally the warmest year on record, although by a very small margin, according to a detailed analysis by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 confirmed the continuation of the warming trend over the past few decades, with 14 of the 15 hottest years on record occurring this century.  

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World Meteorological Day 23 March 2015: Climate Knowledge for Climate Action
20 March 2015

Climate Knowledge for Climate Action is the theme of World Meteorological Day on 23 March, highlighting both recent advances in climate science and the need for decisive measures to limit climate change.

Ceremonies and events around the world will showcase the contribution of National Meteorological Services to safety, well-being and sustainable development.

Over the last twelve months, thousands of lives have been saved around the world by improved weather forecasting, early-warning systems and disaster readiness.  The economic benefits of climate services such as seasonal outlooks have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Sendai: UN conference adopts new, people-centred disaster risk reduction strategy
19 March 2015

Death, destruction and displacement wrought by natural disasters would be significantly reduced by 2030 under a new framework adopted by countries attending the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan, where they also affirmed the “urgent and critical need” to anticipate, plan for and reduce such risk to more effectively protect people, communities and countries, and to build resilience.

Adopting the Sendai Declaration and Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030after days of discussions and a final 30-hour negotiating session, 187 UN Member States attending the Conference approved seven targets, four priorities and a set of guiding principles, underscoring that substantial reduction of disaster risk requires perseverance and persistence, “with a more explicit focus on people and their health and livelihoods, and regular follow up.”

Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam
17 March 2015

Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, which caused devastation in Vanuatu, is one of the most powerful cyclones to make landfall. It was a Category 5 and was comparable in intensity (900hPa) to Typhoon Haiyan 890hPa), which hit the Philippines in November 2013.

Winds were estimated to have reached 250 kilomters per hour with gusts of 320 km per hour. Its maximum speed was more than enough to lift an airplane when it made a direct hit on the capital Port Vila on 14 March 2015. It is extremely rare for such a severe tropical cyclone to make landfall in Vanuatu. 

EL NIÑO/LA NIÑA Update
16 March 2015

Since late October 2014, sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have remained at near-borderline to weak El Niño levels. However, many atmospheric features of El Niño have displayed only weak or short-lived responses to the warming. For example, the pattern of cloudiness and rainfall anomalies has not been well defined. Models and expert opinion suggest a continuation of warm-neutral to weak El Niño conditions through April and May of 2015.

Most models suggest tropical Pacific temperatures will exceed El Niño thresholds toward the middle of the year. However, many models currently show a substantial spread in their outlooks for tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, consistent with the known period of lower skill in longer lead predictions made at this time of year. This spread indicates that a range of outcomes remain possible, from neutral to a substantial El Niño event. This spread will narrow in the coming months as skill levels increase. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Ocean conditions for further El Niño developments, and will assess the most likely local impacts.

USAID, NOAA, AND WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION ANNOUNCE NEW WEATHER-READY NATIONS INITIATIVE
16 March 2015

SENDAI, JAPAN – This weekend, at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Meteorological Organization announced the creation of Weather-Ready Nations, a new program to improve the understanding of high impact weather, water, and climate events.

The devastating effects of extreme events such as cyclones, floods, and tsunamis can be greatly reduced through improved communication of expected impacts and risk, better delivery of warning information to communities under a threat, and clearer actions that individuals, businesses, and communities can take to be more resilient. Even in places where the crucial step of establishing early warning systems has been completed, advanced warnings are only beneficial if they lead to a public response that moves people out of harm’s way.  The basic need is for more actionable information to reduce the number of weather, water, and climate related fatalities and improve the economic value of weather, water, and climate information.

Multi-hazard early warning systems vital for managing growing risks
15 March 2015

Sendai, 15 March 2015 – As climate change and demographic change boost the number of people exposed to floods, heatwaves and other hazards, improved early warning systems and greater coordination of disaster management activities will be needed to manage risks and protect lives and property, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

As a key contribution to the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), WMO has announced plans to support Governments and other stakeholders in developing effective multi-hazard early warning systems that provide a coordinated platform for managing multiple risks.

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International Women’s Day 2015
6 March 2015

On International Women’s Day, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) calls for action to strengthen the role of women in developing and using weather, water and climate services.  It is also stepping up efforts to encourage more women to choose a career in meteorology and hydrology, and thus make a vital contribution to the safety and well-being of society.  

To mark the occasion, WMO is launching the Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women website (http://www.wmo.int/gender) which features a special section on Women in Weather, Water and Climate.  The profiles of prominent female meteorologists and hydrologists are presented, including their words of advice to young women embarking on a scientific career.  

Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
4 March 2015

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: WORLD THREATENED BY DANGEROUS AND UNACCEPTABLE LEVELS OF RISK FROM DISASTERS

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today warned that “growing global inequality, increasing exposure to natural hazards, rapid urbanization and the overconsumption of energy and natural resources threaten to drive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels with systemic global impacts.” The 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15), prepared by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and launched today by the Secretary-General, states that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of US$250 billion to US$300 billion annually. 

 

Barcelona Dust Forecast Center Activity Report
2 March 2015

The Barcelona Dust Forecast Center has issued its activity report for 2014, covering the onset of its operations as a WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for atmospheric sand and dust forecasts for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Sand and dust storms which have a major impact on the economy, the environment and people’s health and which are expected to worsen as a result of climate change and land degradation.

In response to growing concern about this phenomenon, WMO established the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) to provide timely and quality sand and dust storm forecasts, observations, information and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities. 

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