On International Women’s Day, WMO is encouraging more women to become meteorologists and hydrologists, and shape knowledge and action on weather, climate and water to meet present and future challenges to build weather and climate resilient societies.
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made in the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming; to review the challenges, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by strong and talented women meteorologists and hydrologists who have played an extraordinary role in WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, universities and other institutions,” said WMO Assistant-Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova. “Regretfully there are still too few women on key positions in WMO’s constituencies. Women can and should play a greater role as both providers and users of cutting-edge meteorological science,” she said.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March is “Equality for Women is progress for all.” >> More
Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal predictions for the forthcoming March-May rainy season, which is vital to agriculture and food security in a region vulnerable to both droughts and floods.
It predicted an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall over northern, western and southern Tanzania; Burundi; Rwanda; much of Uganda; western Kenya; western Ethiopia and much of South Sudan. Specifically, it said there was a 40% probability of near normal rainfall, a 35% probability of above normal rainfall and a 25% probability of below normal rainfall in these areas.
Increased likelihood of near normal (40%) to below normal (35%) rainfall is indicated over much of the northern, eastern and coastal areas, it said, noting a 20% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas. >> More
A pilot National Climate Outlook Forum is taking place in Mozambique as part of the WMO-spearheaded initiative to roll out user-friendly climate services and increase resilience to extreme events and climate change.
The meeting in Maputo from 3 to 6 March brings together providers of climate information together with the users: water managers, city councils, the energy sector, health authorities, research and academic institutes, farmers, fishermen, private sector sugar and banana companies, as well as international development agencies. There will be a special segment devoted to agrometeorology.
It is regarded as a test case for the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services. At the heart of the GFCS lies the principle that building interfaces between user agencies and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) will facilitate climate-smart decisions in critical sectors. Priority is being given to reducing impacts of climate-related disasters, improvement of food security and health outcomes, and efficient water resource management. One of the mechanisms for creating such climate information user interfaces are the National Climate Outlook Forums (NCOFs). >> More
WMO has revised and updated its popular booklet A Career in Meteorology as part of the activities marking this year’s World Meteorological Day “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
Since the first edition was published in 2006, weather and the related concerns of climate and hydrology have gained an increasingly high profile and are seen as fundamental to sustainable development. This new edition reflects the changes in our physical, socio-economic and professional environment. It highlights these challenges and reaches out to young people showing them how they could make a vital contribution to the safety and well being of their community and country.>> More
WMO welcomes the successful launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). ““The GPM Core Observatory, unified with a fleet of satellites, airborne and ground based observations, will form the very first integrated constellation mapping precipitation covering the Antarctic and Arctic Circles,” said Wenjian Zhang, Director of WMO Observing and Information Systems Department. “It will advance our understanding of the global water and energycycle, and improve our understanding the climate system. It represents a major scientific advance which will truly benefit humanity.” >> More
The Governing Board of the International Research Centre on El Niño Phenomenon (in Spanish Centro Internacional para la Investigación del Fenómeno de El Niño, or CIIFEN) has given its support to the growing contribution by the Ecuador-based centre to regional climate predictions and climate services in South America. The Governing Board of CIIFEN is composed by the Government of Ecuador, the national meteorological service of Spain- Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET)- and the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), being WMO and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific permanent observers of the Board. >> More
WMO is organizing an expert mission to the Philippines to assess the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, consider how to help in the rebuilding of meteorological infrastructure destroyed by the tropical cyclone and examine ways of strengthening disaster resilience in the future.
The mission, tentatively scheduled for April 2014, was endorsed by the recent session of Typhoon Committee – a joint body of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and WMO.
The Typhoon Committee meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 10-13 February, discussed the impact of Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). The typhoon, which struck the Philippines in November 2013 was one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record. More than 7,000 people were killed, mainly as a result of tsunami-like storm surges. >> More
The 46th Session of the WMO/ESCAP Typhoon Committee, hosted in Bangkok from 10-13 February 2014 by the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai Meteorological Department, has confirmed that the 2013 typhoon season saw a well-above average number of storms. The Western North Pacific Ocean basin experienced 31 named tropical storms, compared to the long-term average of 25.6 (1981-2010). Thirteen reached typhoon intensity, most notably Typhoon Haiyan, which last November devastated large portions of the Philippines and brought heavy damage to areas of China and Vietnam.
The Committee considered the WMO Emergency Response to Typhoon Haiyan and follow-up actions. It was invited to contribute to the development of these actions, including the WMO expert mission to the Philippines and Vietnam. It decided to send several experts from Typhoon Committee Members as part of the expert mission.
The meeting was attended by 72 participants from 10 of the Committee’s 14 members and from WMO and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); invited guests and observers also participated. Succeeding Mr Shun Chi-ming, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, as Committee Chair, Mr. Worapat Tiewthanom, Director-General of Thai Meteorological Department, presided over the session.
The Dr Roman L. Kintanar Award was awarded to the Shanghai Typhoon Institute in recognition of its dedicated efforts to mitigate the impacts and risks resulting from tropical cyclones. In particular, the Institute was recognized for publishing “Tropical Cyclone Research and Review” and an assessment of the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones in the Western North Pacific Ocean basin.
The mission of the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee is to reduce the loss of lives and to minimize social, economic and environmental impacts caused by typhoon-related disasters through integrated and enhanced regional collaboration. More information about the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee and associated activities can be found online at www.typhooncommittee.org.
For further information, please contact Mr Olavo Rasquinho, Secretary of the Typhoon Committee.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has become the 34th member of MeteoAlarm, which provides comprehensive and coherent weather warnings across Europe through the www.meteoalarm.eu site. The platform will offer an opportunity for improving weather alerts in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as contributing to the overview of severe weather events across Europe.
The move was facilitated by the IPA (Instrument for Preaccession Assistance) project “Building resilience to disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey”, funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement, which provided the necessary budget and collaborative mechanism. This project is being implemented jointly by WMO and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and is supported by European meteorological organizations, including EUMETNET and its European Multi-services Meteorological Awareness (EMMA) Programme. >> More
Parts of the world have witnessed a series of extreme weather conditions in the first six weeks of 2014, continuing a pattern that was set in December 2013.
Much of the United States of America has experienced cold waves and major winter storms, whilst California remains gripped by drought.The United Kingdom has seen its wettest December-January period on record, with severe, widespread and prolonged flooding. A combination of strong winds, storms and high tides caused damage and flooding in other coastal areas of Europe. There has been unusually heavy snowfall in the southern Alps.
Monthly mean temperatures were extremely high from eastern Mongolia to eastern China. In the Southern hemisphere, Australia, Argentina and Brazil experienced extended heatwaves.
Throughout this period, national meteorological and hydrological services provided forecasts and regularly-updated warnings. >> More
“Kick-off” meetings have taken place in the United Republic of Tanzania and Malawi to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa, which aims to build resilience in disaster risk management, food security, nutrition and health.
The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.
“Climate variability and climate change present great challenges to many countries in Africa, Tanzania inclusive,” said Tanzanian Minister for Transport Hon. Dr Harrison Mwakyembe in a statement at the opening session in Dar Es Salaam 5 February.
He said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected an increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather and climate events and reduction of rainfall in some parts and increase on others. “These will significantly impact all socio-economic sectors and livelihood of communities across the country,” said Dr Mwakyembe, citing recent flooding as an example. He said the government of Tanzania was working to improve early warning systems and build disaster-resilient communities. “Therefore, this initiative on climate services adaptation programme has come at the right time for Tanzania,” he said. The speech was presented by Director of Transport Infrastructure Eng Edwin Muhjwahuzi. >> More
“The Weather: What’s the Outlook,” is the theme of the World Weather Open Science Conference (WWOSC2014) which will bring together the entire weather science and user communities for the first time.
The conference, to be held in Montreal, Canada, 16 - 21 August 2014, will will examine the frontiers of knowledge, define new scientific goals and challenges, and explore improved ways of applying our understanding for the betterment of society. The World Meteorological Organization, international Council for Science, Environment Canada, and the National Research Council, Canada, are co-organizers.
“There has never been a more important time for weather science, which is poised for great breakthroughs. Society is extremely vulnerable to weather-related impacts and desperately need that science,” said International Organizing Committee co-chairs Alan Thorpe (European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting) and Michel Béland (former President of WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences).
There will be special sessions on high-impact weather such as the recent heatwaves, droughts, cold snaps and flooding events in different parts of the world.
The overarching theme is ‘Seamless Prediction of the Earth System: from minutes to months’. The Conference has two programs, joined through combined plenary and special sessions:
• The Science Program will cover basic weather research that extends our knowledge of processes and systems as well as the applied research needed to put prediction systems together – including most recently in polar regions - and assess the impacts of weather and climate events.
• The User, Application & Social Science Program will consider the challenges and opportunities associated with communicating and utilizing weather information, science, and services for social and economic benefit.
With more than 50 interactive paper, panel, and poster sessions, WWOSC2014 will provide valuable networking opportunities with scientific experts, young scientists, practitioners, and service-providers from more than 50 countries.
The deadline for submission of is 24 February. Applications for travel support, which will be offered to a limited number of qualified candidates must also be received by that date.
The XXII Olympic / XI Paralympic Games «Sochi-2014» will be held in Sochi, Russia, on February 8-23 and/ March 7-16, 2014, respectively. Roshydromet (the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring) is responsible for providing hydrological and meteorological support and services to ensure the safety of the guests and participants and the smooth running of the Games.
The city of Sochi is located at approximately 44°N, 40°E on the Black sea coast. Sochi Olympic venues are separated between two clusters: a coastal cluster for ice sport competitions and a mountain cluster for snow sport events. >> More
The tropical Pacific continues to be ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña). Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to continue into the second quarter of 2014. Current model outlooks further suggest an enhanced possibility of the development of a weak El Niño around the middle of 2014, with approximately equal chances for neutral or weak El Niño. However, models tend to have reduced skill when forecasting through the March-May period. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and assess the most likely state of the climate through the first half of 2014. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization is part of two multi-disciplinary consortia for research projects to increase coastal resilience: Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastal regions (PEARL), and Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISK-KIT).
The European Union launched the two research projects in the framework of the 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7), aiming to develop risk management strategies and tools for weather and water-related extreme events and increase the resilience of coastal communities.
Coastal floods are one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters – as was demonstrated by the deadly tsunami-like storm surge from Typhoon Haiyan in the Pilippines in November 2013. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and inadequate flood management policies has increased the risk. >> More
WMO has revamped its Youth Corner in a more dynamic and user-friendly format to reflect the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day: Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.
WMO For Youth describes the function of WMO in simple-to-understand language and explains key issues relating to weather, climate and water.
WMO For Youth provides answers to questions such as:
• What causes climate change?
• What makes water so valuable?
• How can we predict the weather?
It also contains sections For Fun and Your Stories. It is currently available only in English. There are plans to translate it into other languages during the course of 2014.
The site is easily accessible from computers, tablets and mobile phones, in recognition of the growing trend towards mobile devices. WMO for Youth is meant to be interactive. The Secretariat welcomes suggestions and input to enhance its dialogue with young people and to reach out to a new generation of potential meteorologists, hydrologists and climate scientists.
World Meteorological Day is 23 March. However, WMO plans year-long activities, especially through social media channels, to engage youth in theconversation on burning issues like climate change. “The youth of the world can do much to advance climate action. This is not just about CO2 emissions; it is about people, about the values we share and what we are ready to do to realize them,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a message to a student Model United Nations on climate change 8 January 2014.
“The impacts of climate change are being felt, and will continue to be so, more directly by the youth of developing countries, particularly where communities depend for their jobs and livelihoods on agriculture, forestry, fisheries. However, climate change can also generate new opportunities, like the opening of green jobs across sectors like energy supply, recycling and transportation,” said Mr. Jarraud. WMO will be organizing a second Students United Nations in May as part of the 2014 activities.
Visit the WMO Youth Corner.
The United States was gripped by a cold wave 7-8 January, whilst much of Europe has seen unusually mild weather, and Australia was gripped by a heatwave. The conditions were accurately predicted in advance (in some cases, by more than one week) by meteorological services. >> More
WMO participated in a Model UN conference: Engaging Youth on Climate Issues, organized by the Ferney Lycée International (France), the International Telecommunications Union and hosted by the United Nations in Geneva on 8 January.
Model UN is a global UN programme for senior high school students that gives young people the chance to organize and participate in a simulated UN conference. Students choose a theme, research the topic, elect senior conference officials from among their number, organize their 3-day work programme, and agree on key resolutions. The title of the event reflects the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day: “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
“This theme could not be more appropriate and timely,” said a statement from WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud delivered to 600 students from schools across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. >> More
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Plenary and the Geneva Ministerial Summit will take place 12-17 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. WMO, which is a member of GEO and hosts the GEO Secretariat, will participate in the event, which includes more than forums and panel discussions.
On 13 January, there will be open forums on mitigating disaster risks, observing greenhouse gases from space, and our planet’s “cold regions.” Topics on 14 January include food security, crop monitoring and a new approach to making markets more stable, a cholera early warning system. Forums also will focus on water strategies, biodiversity and ecosystems, and the links between air quality and health. On 15 January, the spotlight will be on citizen observatories and the recent, exciting accomplishments of China’s Earth observation technology.
On 16 January, the fast-accelerating and serious environmental and economic issue of ocean acidification (“osteoporosis of the sea,”) will be explored. There is urgency to addressing this “silent storm,” which is literally causing a sea change and affecting the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole.
GEO is bringing us an outstanding and unique opportunity to see a much fuller, more integrated picture of our planet With membership from 89 nations and the European Commission, and GEO has a mandate to provide a full, integrated picture of Earth. The GEO co-
chairs are China, the European Commission, the Republic of South Africa and the United States.