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21 February 2012

 

Regional Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa

The World Meteorological Organization is one of the sponsors of the Regional Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa which will look ahead to the March-May rainfall season. It takes place 27-29 February 2012 in Kigali, Rwanda, and is organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC).

The meeting will also focus on the role of the regional climate outlook forum in providing early warnings for drought emergencies and other climate related disasters in the Greater Horn of Africa.

The Forum will bring together national experts from all the countries in the Greater Horn of Africa, along with regional and international experts involved in seasonal climate prediction and users of climate early warning advisories from sectors such as food security and disaster risk reduction. It is taking place after the region has been ravaged by severe drought in 2010/2011 followed by excessive rains in various equatorial areas including parts of Kenya and southern Somalia.

The Forum will provide a seasonal climate outlook for the all-important March to May long rainfall season. Among other factors, it will consider the prevailing La Niña event which is historically known to have an impact on the region’s rainy seasons. According to a WMO Update issued 10 February, weak to moderate La Niña conditions have prevailed since around October 2011 and are expected to persist until March to May 2012. The current La Niña is not as strong as the 2010/2011 event which was associated with the severe drought over parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

ICPAC, through its outlook forum process, had predicted that there would below normal rainfall leading to the 2010/2011 drought, and issued regular Climate Watch Updates on the situation.

The challenge lies in ensuring that such information provided by climate prediction scientists is available and appropriate to users and that it is acted upon by decision makers.

Forum participants will address what could be done differently (inter alia, by product developers at global, regional and national levels; through the climate outlook forum process; by the media and communications channels; and by decision-makers in all sectors) to help reduce the negative impacts of future droughts and other climate extremes to provide sustainable solutions to drought emergencies and other climate related disasters in the Greater Horn of Africa.

Several users’ workshops will take place during the Forum: agriculture and food security; water resources and renewable energy resources; disaster risk reduction and conflict early warning; and health with special reference to malaria outlook forum.

WMO has given sustained support to the Regional Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa which has been convened 30 times during the past 15 years. It is sponsoring the Kigali meeting under a project funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency. The Forum is one of the most important activities of ICPAC, which is currently implementing a demonstration phase to become a WMO Regional Climate Centre.

WMO has been encouraging the implementation of Regional Climate Outlook Forums around the world, ever since the inception of the first forum in Southern Africa in 1997. Where needed, WMO and other partners and sponsors provide support for their initiation as well as sustained operations. Regional Climate Outlook Forums presently serve more than half the world’s population (see map of regions currently benefiting from active forums), most of which is in developing countries. Further information on Regional Climate Outlook Forums around the world (the concept and links to products) can be found at:

http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcasp/RCOF_Concept.html
http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcasp/clips/outlooks/climate_forecasts.html
http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/wcasp/documents/RCOF_Flyer1.4_July2009_EN.pdf

In some parts of the world where the vulnerability to climate variability and change is high, assistance is needed to support sustained and effective climate services. In the Global Framework for Climate Services for which the draft implementation plan is being developed by WMO and partnering agencies, the Regional Climate Outlook Forums are recognized to be key mechanisms for regional cooperation and user engagement of climate services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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