The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have signed an agreement reaffirming their long term cooperation in the field of hydrology and water resources.
The agreement was signed 25 November at UN Headquarters in New York by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud on the sidelines of the U.N. Chief Executives Board meeting at the culmination of the International Year of Water Cooperation.
While maintaining respective programmes in line with their fields of competence, the agreement recognizes the necessity of close cooperation on freshwater, water science and water resources.
UNESCO and WMO have had one of the longest partnerships in the UN system, with the first agreement signed in 1954. Both agencies have the oldest programmes in the field of hydrology in the UN, and this new agreement shows the long-standing joint interest in collaboration on technical and scientific matters.
Water, along with weather and climate, is one of WMO’s areas of focus. Its Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) is concerned with the assessment of the quantity and quality of water resources , the mitigation of water-related hazards like floods and droughts, and to facilitate horizontal cooperation and transfer of technologies to strengthen the capacities of the hydrological services of the world.
The WMO Commission for Hydrology, an intergovernmental body representing almost 150 countries, advises WMO Members on advances in science and technology, basic operations and facilities concerning operational hydrology and water resources management. WMO also co-sponsors integrated flood and drought management programmes in recognition of the need to manage these two major water-related hazards.
UNESCO is a partner of the WMO-led Global Framework for Climate Services and, through its International Hydrological Programme and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, a key contributor in the areas of observation and water resource management as well as a potential user of climate products and information services.
Improved Weather and Climate Forecasting Saves Lives,
Builds Climate Resilience
The WMO Commission on Atmospheric Sciences has concluded its 16th session with a series of decisions designed to respond to challenges such as rising greenhouse gases, air pollution and extreme weather events, and to maximize opportunities from scientific advances in forecasting and prediction.
Oystein Hov (Norway) and Jae-Cheol Nam (Republic of Korea) were elected as President and Vice President of the Commission.
At a meeting in Antalya, Turkey, 20-26 November the Commission discussed how to tailor the activities of the Global Atmosphere Watch and World Weather Research Programmes to meet the priorities of the 21st Century. The role of the Commission is to support research in atmospheric science; reduce and mitigate natural disasters; protect the environment and enhance understanding and response to environmental change.
The Commission issued recommendations for the ten-year future view. These include:
The outcome of the session will inform WMO decisions on investment in research and development to maximize scientific advances which can be transitioned into accessible services which benefit society.
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Saturday, Nov. 30, had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, thanks in large part to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA said this year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes. Thirteen named storms formed in the Atlantic basin this year. Two, Ingrid and Humberto, became hurricanes, but neither became major hurricanes. Although the number of named storms was above the average of 12, the numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes were well below their averages of sixandthree, respectively. Major hurricanes are categories 3 and above.
The World Meteorological Organization brought together international experts from volcano observatories, academia, volcanic ash advisory centres, meteorological services and representatives of aviation regulators, engine manufacturers and airlines to discuss progress on ash dispersal forecasting and produce a roadmap for the future.
A workshop on ash dispersal forecast and civil aviation from 18 to 20 November reinforced the multi-disciplinary collaboration that has grown since the disruption to air transport caused by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland in 2010. The workshop was sponsored by WMO, the University of Geneva, the British Geological Survey, the UK Met Office, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) and the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. >> More
Meteorological observers assisted in a successful two-day emergency exercise involving 58 states and 10 international organizations 20-21 November 2013 to test the national and international preparedness to respond to a simulated dirty bomb explosion. The exercise, codenamed “Bab Al Maghrib” was held in Morocco and organized by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA). It marked the first time such scenario was exercised on such a large and international scale.
“Bab Al Maghrib” is part of the ConvEx-3 IAEA exercise programme. ConvEx-3 exercises are conducted every three to five years and have, until now, always been based on an accident at a nuclear power plant. The scenario this year was different: a dirty bomb explosion with threats of further attacks and widespread radiological consequences.
In the emergency scenario, there were two simulated successive explosions of RDD (Radiological Dispersion Devices), as dirty bombs. They took place in the port of Tangier Med and Marrakech medina in Morocco and triggered a series of ‘actual’, ‘potential’ and ‘perceived’ implications for the participating governments and responding international organizations. >> More
A two-day technical conference “Responding to the Environmental Stressors of the 21st Century" focused onchallenges posed by rising greenhouse gases,extreme weather events, pressures on the water cycle, pollution and an increasing urban-based global population.
The conclusions of the technical conference 18-19 November will feed into the 16thSession of the World Meteorological Organization Commission of Atmospheric Sciences. Both events, in Antalya, Turkey, are hosted by the Turkish State Meteorological Service. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization supports the Climate Change Convention through a wide range of scientific and technical activities (see a list of the major programmes and activities here). The WMO Secretary-General and other officials will therefore participate in the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties in November 2013 to provide advice and information to governments. In addition, the WMO team will monitor how the Convention’s growing needs will affect WMO programmes and activities. Senior representatives of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will also participate in the conference as part of their national negotiating teams.>> More
Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year and one of the most intense on record. The threat of this catastrophic typhoon prompted extraordinary coordination and cooperation between the World Meteorological Organization, its Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of the Philippines and Viet Nam. Without this mobilization, the tragic loss of life would have been even higher. >> More
Geneva, 6 November 2013 - The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.
Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions, accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. >> More
Concerns about how CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances have damaged the stratospheric ozone layer usually focus on the "ozone hole" over Antarctica. Other parts of the ozone layer, however, are also affected by the release of harmful chemicals. To raise awareness about these broader impacts, a new film entitled The Arctic and the Ozone Layer: Stabilizing our Environment and Climate was launched at the recent annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, held in Bangkok. This film was produced jointly with UNEP Ozone Secretariat, OzonAction Branch, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It is available here on YouTube.
WMO’s Guidelines on the Role, Operation and Management of the National and Hydrometeorological Services (WMO-No.1112) are now available at http://www.wmo.int/eguides. It is WMO’s first fully-interactive, navigable, user-friendly electronic publication (E-publication), which is regarded as a pilot project for similar publications in the future.
These Guidelines are intended to provide a one-stop, consistent and up-to-date reference resource for everything managers need to know about running a National Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Service (NMS).>> More
Africa climate scientists and user community representatives have crafted a common climate research agenda to inform decision-making, climate risk management and adaptation planning in Africa.
More than 300 delegates at the Africa Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013) in Arusha, Tanzania, 15-18 October, adopted a statement identifying four priority areas for research in order to address critical gaps in our understanding of the African climate system and to bridge the divide between climate science and policy
The statement also stressed the need for a platform to coordinate major climate research initiatives working on Africa and to sustain implementation of the African climate research agenda.>> More
The area of the annually recurring Antarctic ozone hole reached its peak at 24.0 million square kilometers on 16 September according to data from NASA. This is more than in 2012 and 2010, but less than in 2011.
The World Meteorological Organization’s newest Antarctic Ozone Bulletin said the ozone hole area averaged over the ten last days of September was 20.9 million km2 (data from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KMNI).
The ozone mass deficit averaged over the same period was 19.59 megatonnes. This is more than in 2010 and 2012 but less than in 2011.
As the temperatures rise after the southern hemisphere winter, the ozone depletion rate will slow down. It is still too early to give a definitive statement about the degree of ozone loss that will occur in 2013. Existing data indicates that this year’s ozone hole is larger than in 2012 and possibly also 2010, but smaller than the one of 2011.>> More
Weather and climate services are essential for sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition – the theme of this year’s World Food Day which aims at increasing understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger.
Today almost 842 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). At the same time, enormous amounts of food are wasted, Unsustainable models of development are degrading the natural environment, threatening ecosystems that will be needed for future food supply. Agriculture is especially vulnerable to natural hazards like heat waves, droughts, heavy precipitation and floods and climate change is expected to exacerbate the challenges.
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will play a fundamental role in helping the agriculture sector, including the estimated 450 million smallholder farms, to meet demands which include: producing more and higher quality food while using less water per unit of output; protecting the health of the ecosystem; and, contributing in a productive way to agricultural and economic sustainability. >> More
WMO joins with the global community in marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction 13 October, which this year focuses on living with disability and disaster. An estimated 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability.
The U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said its new global survey showed why persons living with disabilities die, or are injured, in disproportionate numbers in disasters.
“Whether in multi-hazard prone United States of America or Bangladesh, earthquake-prone Italy or flood-prone Thailand, people living with disabilities across the world say they are rarely consulted about their needs and only 20% could evacuate immediately without difficulty in the event of a sudden disaster event, the remainder could only do so with a degree of difficulty and 6% would not be able to do so at all,” said UNISDR.
If given sufficient time, the percentage of those who could evacuate with no difficulty rises from 20% to 38% but 58% feel they would still have either some, or a lot of, difficulty while 4% would still not be able to evacuate, according to the survey.
Over the last 30 years natural disasters took the lives of over 2 million people. Almost 90 percent of such disasters, more than 70 percent of the casualties and almost 80 percent of the economic losses were caused by weather-, climate- or water-related hazards such as tropical cyclones, storm surges, heat waves, droughts and floods.
Disaster risk reduction is therefore one of the top priorities of the Global Framework for Climate Services to provide accurate, user-driven climate services around the world.
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services play a vital role in protecting life and property through weather forecasts and early warnings. Improvements in early warning systems and preparedness have allowed significant reductions in casualties.
Advances in mobile technology are helping to strengthen early warning systems, giving people – including those living with disabilities – vital additional time to evacuate or take precautions in the event of a disaster. The meteorological, disaster risk reduction and information technology communities will continue to cooperate in future to protect the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.
The Budapest Water Summit (8-11 October) is focusing on the vital role of water in sustainable development and food security, and the challenges posed by a changing climate.
Only 2% of the world’s water resources are made up of freshwater. This scarce resource however plays a crucial role in all segments of nature, society and economy. In view of the projected growth in popular demand for water and an accelerating climate change it is expected that by 2030 some 40% of the world’s population will suffer from water shortages.
“We must address unsustainable use,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the opening session. “We must use what we have more equitably and wisely. We cannot expect governments to do this alone. Guaranteeing a water secure world will require the full engagement of all actors, not least the world of business,” he told the session attended by heads of U.N. agencies including WMO Secretary-General and current UN-Water chair Michel Jarraud.
At a high-level panel discussion 9 October: “How to serve a growing population with water in a changing climate?” Mr Jarraud highlighted the need for more and better climate services to cope with the challenges. Improved water management is one of the priorities of the Global Framework for Climate Services spearheaded by the WMO. >> More
Africa is the continent most vulnerable to natural variations in our climate and human-induced climate change, and to associated extremes like droughts and floods. There is an urgent need to strengthen scientific understanding of the present and future climate and ensure that this knowledge is available and relevant to decision makers.
The Africa Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013) in Arusha, Tanzania, 15-18 October, aims to strengthen the relationship between the scientific and policy-making communities. It is expected to result in a set of concrete research proposals to address critical gaps in our understanding of the African climate system and to strengthen the science base for decision-making on the continent for the rest of the 21st Century.
The Africa Climate Conference isorganized under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) and the University of Dar Es Salaam. The first of its kind, the conference brings together more than 300 stakeholders from Africa and around the world. >> More
Neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) continue in the tropical Pacific. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to be maintained through the boreal autumn of 2013 and winter 2013-14. Two or more consecutive years of neutral conditions have been observed in the past and the situation is not unusual. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and provide outlooks to assess the most likely state of the climate through the remainder of 2013 and into early 2014.
Since the boreal spring of 2012, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific (e.g., tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally been at neutral levels, indicating that neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions have been present. Since May 2013, sea surface temperatures have been well below average in the far eastern tropical Pacific, only recently returning toward normal. However, these cold sea surface temperatures have been positioned too far to the east to be considered indicative of a basin-wide La Niña episode, even though they caused some minor impacts over local climate conditions in western parts of South America.
The latest outlooks from international climate models and expert opinion suggest that sea surface temperatures and atmospheric anomalies associated with El Niño or La Niña are most likely to remain neutral through the end of 2013 and into early 2014. Less than one-fifth of the models surveyed predict weak La Niña conditions to develop during the October to December period, and likewise less than one-fifth predict weak El Niño development during that period and into the first quarter of 2014. Therefore, while there is a very slight chance for La Niña or El Niño development during the next one or two seasons, neutral ENSO conditions are considered by far the most likely scenario.>> full report
The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum has issued a new climate outlook for rainfall for October-December 2013 and looking ahead to the first three months of 2014. The outlook also gives details of expected impacts in the region.
The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, in its role as a WMO Regional Climate Centre (in demonstration phase), coordinates the Climate Outlook Forum, which received input from national meteorological services.from the region
WMO is promoting the collaborative development of seasonal climate outlooks in many regions of the world as part of its contributions to the Global Framework for Climate Services with an overarching objective to increase the availability of user-friendly climate information for decision makers and local communities. >> Full details
The African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) has launched a new, improved website to give greater visibility to its work in fostering political will to strengthen National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, enabling them to improve the delivery of weather, climate and water services in Africa and to promote sustainable socio-economic development.
Africa is particularly vulnerable to weather and climate extremes such as drought and flooding and to the impact of natural climate variability and human-induced climate change.
Despite covering a fifth of the world's total land area, Africa has the least developed weather and climate land-based observation network of all continents, and faces severe human, financial and technological constraints, and obsolete technologies limiting their capabilities to produce the best services needed by policy makers and other decision-makers. >> More
A major international assessment of climate change adopted here by 110 governments provides conclusive new scientific evidence that human activities are causing unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate.
Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988, the report confirms that it is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that most of the warming since 1950 has been due to human influence.
The IPCC’s previous assessment, released in 2007, described the evidence for human-caused global warming as “unequivocal,” with at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct.
The new report further states that greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in the oceans, ice caps, glaciers, the biosphere, and other components of the climate system. Some of these changes would very likely be unprecedented over decades to thousands of years. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. >> Press release
26 September celebrates World Maritime Day, with the theme for 2013 “Sustainable Development:IMO’s contribution beyond Rio+20”. The last century has seen a steady increase in total trade volume carried by sea, which today amounts to more than 90 per cent. With the volume of global trade to increase of one-third by 2020, it is imperative that maritime transport is developed sustainably, ensuring safety of ships and seafarers, protection of the environment, efficiency of operations, security.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has been providing a longstanding contribution to the requirements of the maritime sector in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These requirements lie at the origin of WMO itself as 160 years ago, in 1853, Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury from the U.S. Navy prompted the organization of the First International Maritime Conference in Brussels to ensure the establishment of a uniform system of meteorological observations at sea through standard logbooks, to improve safety of navigation and facilitate international trade. Ships around the world started taking measurements at sea in a more standardized way; the first global charts of sea currents and atmospheric winds were produced, our understanding of physical oceanic processes improved, travelling by sea became safer. Fromthat seminal experience in international cooperation and exchange of data and information, in 1873the International Meteorological Organization, the precursor of WMO, was born.
Today, through its Marine Meteorology and Oceanography Programme and in collaboration with the WMO-IOC Joint Technical Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology, WMO facilitates operational and research activities in support of the maritime sector. Observations from voluntary observing ships, buoys, other ocean platforms, aircraft and meteorological satellites ensure the collection and dissemination of marine meteorological data for storm warnings and the protection of life at sea. WMO Members have taken responsibility to issue warnings for the highseas and coastal waters through the World-Wide Metocean Information and Warnings Service. In collaboration with the International Hydrographic Office (IHO), WMO facilitates the use of meteorological information for hydrographic purposes and the optimization of shipping routes.
Climate change adds opportunities and challenges to the expansion of maritime transport. With the Arctic summer sea ice cover shrinking fast, the Northwest Passage is likely to become a viable commercial route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and WMO and IMO have established a special system for providing services to these Arctic areas. Another seaway connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific, the Northern Sea Route, is now a reality and tomorrow may provide a cost-effective alternative to other routes. These undertakings are highly dependent upon reliable and timely weather and climate information and this demonstrates the need for sustained oceanographic and meteorological observations in the Arctic.
WMO wishes to acknowledge the importance of sustainable maritime transport to the global economy and reaffirms its commitment to contribute to ensure safety at sea through the timely and quality provision of marine meteorological information.
A meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Stockholm 21-27 September is due to finalize a summary for policymakers of a comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change.
The summary for policymakers, an accompanying technical summary and 14-chapter assessment form the contribution of Working Group I on the physical science basis to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Working Group II’s contribution on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and Working Group III’s work on mitigation of climate change will be published in March and April 2014 respectively. The synthesis report of the Fifth Assessment report will be considered in October 2014.
“A Healthy Atmosphere, the Future We Want” is the theme for this year’s International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone layer on 16 September.
The event coincides with the signing in 1987 of an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which protects Earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
“Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary responses. A generation ago, the world’s nations agreed to act definitively to protect the ozone layer, initiating an inter- governmental process that blazed new trails,” said U.N: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message to mark the occasion. >> More
Namibia – sub-Sahara’s driest country which is currently gripped by its worst drought in three decades – is hosting the Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the U.N. Convention on Drought and Desertification (UNCCD) 16-27 September.
The theme of COP11 is a stronger UNCCD for a land-degradation neutral world and it will focus on financing, knowledge brokering and the Rio+20 outcome in which world leaders called for global action towards a land- degradation neutral world; monitoring of land degradation and land restoration; and strengthening of the scientific basis of the Convention.
The World Meteorological Organization will be attending the conference to promote the need for integrated drought management and science-based national drought policies, as recommended by a High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy organized by WMO, UNCCD and the Food and Agriculture Organization in March 2013.
Integrated Drought Management is a critical component of disaster risk reduction programmes, climate adaptation strategies including land management and national water resources policies, bringing together the needs of the different stakeholders affected by droughts. In order to address drought issues in a more effective and coordinated way, WMO and Global Water Partnership have launched the Integrated Drought Management Programme together with partners as the UNCCD. This aims to provide preventive and demand-driven support mechanisms for the communities, countries and regions affected by drought with especial attention to those affected by desertification.
The Integrated Drought Management Programme will be showcased at a side event Wednesday 25 September organized by WMO.
Arid, semi-arid and dry-sub humid areas, which are collectively known as drylands, make up 34.8% of the Earth and are inhabited by over two billion people. Due to their extensiveness, dryland ecosystems play a critical role in the regulation of the global climate. The sensitivity of the dryland ecosystems to human and climatic variations makes land degradation, commonly referred to as desertification, a persistent problem.
The drylands are also particularly prone to droughts. Droughts are slow-onset events that cause more loss of lives, livelihoods and permanent displacement of people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined. From 1991 to 2000, drought took over 280,000 lives and cost billions of US dollars in damage. The scientific community predicts that droughts may become more intense, more frequent and more severe as a result of climate change.
Namibia, the conference host, is characterized by arid conditions and recurring droughts and has a long history of battling its vulnerability to desertification and the marginal nature of farming that dominates much of the country. Namibian President Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, in March declared an emergency situation because of the 2012/2013 drought, which has been described as the worst for 30 years.
The bulk of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall in the forthcoming October-March rainy season, according to the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum. Owing to the differences and evolution patterns in the predominant rainfall-bearing systems, the rainy season has been subdivided into four overlapping three-month periods.
Most of the SADC region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for the period October to December 2013. However, south-westernmost Angola, coastal areas of Namibia, west coastal South Africa and northernmost Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are more likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall, according to the Outlook.
In the November-December 2013-January 2014 period, bulk of the SADC region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall, while the greater part of DRC, northernmost and south-western Angola and western fringes of Namibia and South Africa are likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall.
Bulk of both contiguous SADC and the islands states of Madagascar and Mauritius are likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall during December 2013 to February 2014. However, south-western Angola, most of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa and Lesotho are likely to receive above-normal to normal rainfall while the eastern half of Tanzania is likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall. >> More
More than 100 scientists have completed a project which seeks to assess the vulnerability of water resources in mountain regions such as the European Alps, the Central Chilean Andes, and the mountains of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). Declining snow and ice in these regions are likely to strongly affect hydrological regimes in a warmer climate, impact on water availability, and increase competition among economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism or hydropower.
The project aim is to use model results to quantify the environmental, economic and social impacts of changing water resources in order to assess the suitability of current water governance strategies and consider adaptations in order to alleviate the most negative impacts of climate change on water resources and water use.
The results of the project known as ACQWA (Assessing Climate Impacts on the Quality and Quantity of Water) were presented at a conference at WMO headquarters 4 September. The project was conducted by a consortium of 30 partners from 10 countries and coordinated by Prof. Martin Beniston of the University of Geneva. The European Union contributed nearly 6.5 million Euros in funding.
ountains account for 20 percent or less of continental surface area and yet are the source of more than half the world’s rivers, and 60 percent of surface water, Benniston told the conference. He said the project therefore examined how future shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns, and changes in the behaviour of snow and ice in many mountain regions would change the quantity, seasonality, and possibly also the quality of water originating in mountains and uplands. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization’s International Symposium on Education and Training takes place from 2 to 6 September, hosted by Météo-France, with the theme Training With a Purpose.
The symposium, held every four years, is normally attended by around 80 educational experts and managers, directors of WMO Regional Training Centres and instructors from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. It aims to stimulate the development of a vibrant and robust education and training community to address the WMO Members requirements for competent and qualified staff. .
The ultimate aim of the symposium in Toulouse, France, is to assist WMO members to meet current and future meteorological and hydrological education and training challenges . This is at a time when the WMO education and training community is striving to improve the skills and ability of personnel to produce better forecasts and services to protect life and property, capitalizing on improved observing networks and better meteorological and hydrological data.
The five-day event will be opened by WMO President David Grimes. Key objectives include: to identify and analyze education and training needs for critical service areas; to review the roles of Regional Training Centres; to examine WMO qualifications and competency strategies and to discuss the expansion of e-Learning opportunities.
"Water Cooperation - Building Partnerships" is the theme of World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, September 1-6. The World Meteorological Organization is participating in a number of events highlighting the need for coordinated action to manage and protect water resources which face increasing pressures as a result of climate change, socio-economic development and population growth.
Water is one of the priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services, an international partnership of governments and organizations that produce and use climate information and services. Spearheaded by WMO with the support of a wide range of partner agencies, this groundbreaking initiative is meant to improve the quality and quantity of climate services worldwide in order to strengthen water resources management, reduce the impact of climate-related disasters, improve food security, and enhance health outcomes.
In view of evolving water-related risks and challenges, the Global Framework for Climate Services is intended to establish a permanent dialogue between meteorological and hydrological services which provide climate information and the user community including city and coastal planners, agricultural and land managers and the transport and energy sector.
High quality climate services are an essential part of coordinated, multi-disciplinary strategies for drought and flood management. The value of an integrated approach will be examined at a side event Sunday 1 September convened by WMO, the Global Water Partnership and UNESCO on Stakeholders’ Contribution to Drought and Flood Management. >> More
About 150 stakeholders attended a successful workshop in Pretoria, South Africa, to elaborate a Road Map for the implementation of a Framework for Climate Services in the country and future needs and opportunities for user-driven services such as seasonal climate outlooks; drought and flood monitoring and warning services; and heat-health alerts.
The workshop was organized by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African Weather Service in conjunction with the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Office and the World Meteorological Organization. It brought together representatives from the environment, water resources, agriculture and forestry, marine, health, energy and disaster management sectors which are climate sensitive and need scientifically-based information and data to adapt to climate variability and change. Universities and research institutions also attended the 19-22 August event. (link to programme)
The outcomes of the workshop are expected to support the integrated delivery and uptake of climate services within the ambit of the National Climate Change Response Policy, which sets out South Africa’s vision for an effective climate change response and long-term transition to a climate-resilient and lower-carbon economy.
The GFCS speaks to the core of service delivery of weather services around the globe, said Hon. Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister, Water and Environment Affairs of South Africa. She said it would provide a useful basis for coordination of climate services to support South Africa’s disaster risk reduction and emergency response work. (link to speech) >> More
Measurements with ground based instruments and with balloons show early signs of ozone depletion in several areas, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Antarctic Ozone Bulletin – the first of the 2013 series.
As the sun returns to Antarctica after the polar night, ozone destruction will speed up. It is still too early to give a definitive statement about the development of this year's ozone hole and the degree of ozone loss that will occur. This will, to a large extent, depend on the meteorological conditions. However, the temperature conditions and the extent of polar stratospheric clouds so far indicate that the degree of ozone loss in 2013 will be similar to that observed in 2011 and larger than in 2010 and 2012, according to the Bulletin.
The meteorological conditions in the Antarctic stratosphere found during the austral winter (June-August) set the stage for the annually recurring ozone hole, which is expected to continue as long as the stratosphere contains an excess of ozone depleting substances. As stated in the Executive Summary of the 2010 edition of the WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, severe Antarctic ozone holes are expected to continue during the next couple of decades.
WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch Program and its network of scientific stations in some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain will use ozone observations from the ground, from balloons and from satellites together with meteorological data to monitor developments during the coming weeks and months.
The latest session of the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has concluded that, in the forthcoming September-December rainy season, most parts of the region are likely to receive near normal rainfall. September to December constitutes the second most important rainfall season, after March-May, over southern Somalia and other equatorial parts of the Greater Horn of Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and northern Tanzania). Temperature outlook indicates increased likelihood for warmer than average temperatures over the southern and equatorial sectors during the September to December 2013 season.
The Forum issued a consensus-based regional climate outlook following a review of the current and expected future state of the global climate system, large-scale climate anomalies and their implications for the 11 countries in the Greater Horn of Africa region. Meteorological experts as well as representatives from disaster risk management, water resources, agriculture and food security, health and development sectors were among the participants. The 35th session of the forum was held from 21-23 August in Kenya and was convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) with the support of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other partners.
The key factors which are expected to influence the evolution of regional climate during the September to December 2013 rainfall season include the expected continuation of colder than average Sea Surface Temperatures over western Indian Ocean and warmer than average sea surface temperatures over eastern equatorial Indian Ocean; and anticipated continuation of neutral El-Nino/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions over the tropical Pacific Ocean.
WMO is promoting the collaborative development of seasonal climate outlooks in many regions of the world as part of its contributions to the Global Framework for Climate Services with an overarching objective to increase the availability of user-friendly climate information for decision makers and local communities.
Rainfall Outlook for September to December 2013
Zone I & V: The area is usually dry during September to December season
Zone II: Increased likelihood near normal to below normal rainfall
Zone III&IV: Increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall
The numbers for each zone indicate the probabilities of rainfall in each of the three categories, above-, near-, and below-normal. The top number indicates the probability of rainfall occurring in the above-normal category; the middle number is for near-normal and the bottom number for below-normal category. For example, in zone II, there is 20% probability of rainfall occurring in the above-normal category; 45% probability of rainfall occurring in the near-normal category; and 35% probability of rainfall occurring in the below-normal category. It is emphasised that boundaries between zones should be considered as transition areas.
The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) has launched a new version of mobile App "MyWorldWeather." With the assistance of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology of Oman, Mètèo-France, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), MyObservatory incorporates support for Arabic and French languages. The user interface of the app has also been enhanced to enable user to select the home city, whose weather forecast would be automatically displayed on startup screen of the app.
The "MyWorldWeather" app features the World Weather Information Service under the auspices of the WMO. The mobile app was first launched in October 2011, and currently supports nine languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Polish and Spanish. It was the world's first ever weather service providing official city weather forecasts around the world for people on the move. At present, official weather forecasts for about 1,700 cities supplied by 133 WMO members are available on the "MyWorldWeather".
"MyWorldWeather" is a free mobile app available for iPhone and Android platforms.
>> HKO press release
WMO is considering how best to update the Cloud Atlas and produce it as a digital version which is authoritative, comprehensive and useful for operational observation systems. The Cloud Atlas was developed as a standardized reference documentand training tool for meteorologists, as well as for those working in aviation, at sea and in agriculture. It has also been very popular with amateur cloud enthusiasts.
The existing Cloud Atlas has two volumes and was originally published in 1956. Volume I is a lengthy technical manual of standards. Volume II contains around 220 plates of photographs of clouds and certain meteors. Each photograph is accompanied by an explanatory text to enable the pictures in Volume II to be understood without the detailed technical definitions and descriptions contained in Volume I.
The Cloud Atlas has been revised and updated on several occasions, most recently in 1987 with the addition of new photographs.
The need to update and digitize the Cloud Atlas is widely recognized. This important task will be time consuming and technically challenging.
WMO’s Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO), has set up a task team of experts from all over the world to examine the feasibility of updating the Cloud Atlas as a web-based tool. Consultations on any new Atlas will be extensive and include a wide range of interested parties.
The team of experts is expected to consider how to improve the usefulness of the Cloud Atlas. Digitized existing Cloud Atlas images would comprise the core level of information as far as possible (to preserve traceability) but additional imagery may be desirable with new photographic examples of the different cloud types.
As before, any revised Cloud Atlas will be primarily targeted at a professional observer audience but easily adaptable – if this is possible - for use by other audiences. The team of experts will also consider how to make it adaptable to presentation in different media include mobile telephones and computers.
It is too early to say whether any 'new' cloud types will be added.
There are ten cloud genera (basic classifications), 14 species (secondary classifications), and 9 varieties (tertiary classifications). Not all genera have all species, and not all species have all varieties, but in all there are about 100 combinations.