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Last updated: 30 April 2010


South-West Pacific Region to strengthen defences against natural hazards
(posted on 30 April)

The 15th quadrennial meeting of WMO’s South-West Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in Bali, Indonesia, (30 April - 6 May 2010) will address the region’s increasing vulnerability to climate change and natural hazards. In his inaugural address, WMO Secretary-General M. Jarraud noted that some NMHSs in the region have adopted new responsibilities such as geo-hazards and climate services, incorporating the provision of tsunami warnings. Highlighting the need to support NMHSs as investments in sustainable development and the protection of lives and property, he outlined some key issues for the Regional Association to consider. These include further improvement in forecasting and warning services through numerical weather prediction products; strengthening the role of NMHS in risk reduction coordination and multi-hazard early warning systems; and collaboration with relevant international and regional institutions. 


WMO pays tribute to Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen
(posted on 29 April)

  Professor Wiin-Nielsen
  Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen

WMO expressed condolences at the passing away on 26 April of Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen, who was WMO Secretary-General from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1983. A Danish national, Professor Wiin-Nielsen led a distinguished career in meteorology.  Before assuming the stewardship of WMO, he was co-founder and first Director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Appointed as the first Director of ECMWF from I January 1974. Professor Wiin-Nielsen’s leadership in the formative years of ECMWF was critical in building the Centre as a world-renowned scientific research and operational institution. In 1984, he became Director of the Danish Meteorological Institute and in that function attended sessions of the ECMWF Council. He was elected vice-President of Council in 1985 and President in 1986. In 1987, he became Professor of Physics at the University of Copenhagen, and in 1995, Professor Emeritus of the University. He continued his research interests well after his retirement. WMO Secretary-General M. Jarraud will be attending the funeral ceremony of Professor Wiin-Nielsen, to be held in Denmark on 4 May 2010.


WMO booth at the Geneva International Book Fair
(posted on 28 April)

WMO, which this year celebrates its 60 anniversary, will have a special booth set up in collaboration with the United Nations at the Geneva International Book Fair (booth n° G–920). The booth illustrates how the Organization makes a difference in peoples’ lives. The book fair, which is being held at Palexpo, has been opened today and will last until 2 May 2010.

Opening hours: all day from 9h30 to 19h00, except on Friday open until 21h30.

More information


Low pressure will help disperse Iceland's volcanic ash
(posted on 20 April)

  volcano eruption
  Photo: UK Met Office

Despite signs that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is calming, the European Meteorological Offices remain on full alert to monitor the atmospheric conditions. Conditions are changing with volcanic ash now being thrown up to a height of only 3 to 4 kilometres, compared to 6 to 7 kilometres earlier. The advent of a low air pressure system over Iceland in the next three days is expected to move the volcanic ash towards the Arctic, while the accompanying rains could wash down the ash at lower heights.

More information in WMO’s Q&A on Volcanic Ash

Nairobi Declaration Adopted by Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa
(posted on 16 April)

logo More than 30 African Ministers responsible for Meteorology adopted the historic Nairobi Declaration on 16 April in Nairobi, Kenya. By this decision, the Ministers agreed to strengthen the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and enhance inter-regional cooperation. They recognized the importance of weather and climate information services and products for social and economic development in various sectors, particularly agriculture, natural resource management, food security, transport, health, energy and disaster risk reduction. Organised by WMO, in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Conference also established a high-level mechanism, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which is expected to meet every two years to further develop meteorology and its applications in the continent.

Press release

NOAA: Hottest March on Record
(posted on 16 April)

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States of America, a WMO partner for global climate monitoring.

Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.

For more information

Haiti: As Hurricane season nears, restoring meteorological services urgent
(posted on 14 April)

The rainy season has started in Haiti. The official Hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November in the Atlantic, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. On average, the peak of the season is from mid-August to late October with the maximum in early September and the annual number of named storms is 10.6. Haiti is more likely to be affected by Hurricanes in August and September in the average hurricane season.

Weather forecasts and early warnings are essential for preventing further disasters and for emergency contingency planning and recovery. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is working with Haiti and countries in the region to ensure the availability of meteorological and hydrological information during the rainy and hurricane seasons, and to support the longer-term development of the National Meteorological Service.

The restoration of a bare-minimum level of operational meteorological services within the next four to twelve months is a key objective in the UN Revised Flash Appeal and various bilateral supports. The estimated cost amounts to US$ one million. It includes basic capacities such as a secure operational office space (the building was significantly damaged during the earthquake), computers and printer, communication and dissemination systems, restoration of few automated weather stations, back up generators, and access to forecasting guidance and hands-on training of the forecasters and observing staff.  


Investing in Weather and Climate Services for Development in Africa
(posted on 14 April)

The First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, opened under the theme "Investing in Weather and Climate Services for Development" on Monday, 12 April 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Opening remarks on the first day of the expert segment were made by Ramadhan Seif Kajembe, Assistant Minister, Environment and Mineral Resources, Kenya, Joseph Mukabana, Kenyan Permanent Representative, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Jerry Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary-General, WMO, and Olushola Olayide Sodeko, African Union Commission (AUC).

Participants met in morning plenary to endorse the objectives of the conference and adopted the agenda of the conference. In the afternoon, participants addressed the developing needs for providing weather, water and climate services on the continent; and the benefits of meteorological, hydrological and climate services.

For more information

Science documentary producers invited to compete for ‘China Dragon Awards’
(posted on 13 April)

The Huafeng Group, an audiovisual company of the China Meteorological Administration, is inviting science documentary producers to submit entries by 30 June 2010 to a major science film competition it is co-organizing. The “China Dragon Awards” is an integral part of the China International Conference of Science & History Producers, to be held from 17 to 20 September 2010 in Suzhou. The six categories include Nature & Environment, Life & Medicine, Archeology, Discoveries & Inventions, People, and Education. The best films in each category will be rewarded with one Gold, two Silver and three Bronze Awards. Only programs first broadcast or publicly released after 1 January 2008 are eligible.

For more information 

African Ministers Responsible for Meteorology to address Climate Change challenges
(posted on 12 April)

More than 30 Ministers in charge of meteorology in Africa have responded to the call by WMO and the African Union, to recognize and strengthen the role of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) on the continent. The First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, hosted by the Government of Kenya in Nairobi from 12 to 16 April 2010 begins with the experts-segment first, to be followed at the level of Ministers. This will be the first time that Ministers in charge of meteorology will be meeting at the pan-African level. While the continent is the most vulnerable to climate change, it is the least equipped to deal with its consequences.

For more information

Strengthening Meteorological Observations Reference Standards
(posted on 1 April)

  group photo
  From left to right: Ms I. Ruedi, Mr L. Barry, Mr A. Wallard, Mr M. Jarraud, Mr E. Goebel, , Mr W. Zhang,
Ms S. McCrory, Mr M. Ondras

Today, WMO became a signatory of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM). The objective of the MRA is to establish the degree of equivalence of national measurement standards, to provide for the mutual recognition of calibration and measurement certificates and thereby to provide government and other parties with a secure technical foundation for wider agreements related to international trade, commerce and regulatory affairs. This is of paramount importance to ensuring the traceability of worldwide measurements to international standards and quality of observations, which is crucial to assess, among other, climate change. Indeed all measurement made at different location and different time needs to be comparable. Some laboratories are hosting world-reference standards for WMO, such as for solar irradiance, surface ozone, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride and carbon monoxide concentrations. All measurements need to be linked to these standards to ensure they are comparable.  Signature of the MRA by WMO allows WMO to designate laboratories, which will now also be recognized by the international metrology community and will allow them to participate in CIPM activities, which aim at ensuring world-wide measurement traceability.

For more information

Improving Climate Science and Climate Change Monitoring
(posted on 1 April)

About 120 scientists ended a three-day workshop at the WMO headquarters in Geneva on 1 April 2010 to explore ways to deliver ever more accurate and reliable observations of the Earth’s climate. Entitled “Measurement Challenges for Global Observation Systems for Climate Change Monitoring — Traceability, Stability and Uncertainty”, the workshop was jointly organised by WMO and the International Bureau for Weights and Measures (BIPM). Today, many of the challenges faced by climate science are indeed measurement challenges. For example, assessing the trends in concentrations of greenhouse gases and their regional sources and sinks, assessing the radiative impacts of these gases, and assessing the resulting changes in surface and atmospheric temperature. The workshop brought together the relevant scientific communities to debate and review the status of applied meteorology, with respect to metrological traceability, in eight specific theme areas. The outcomes will be published by WMO.

For more information on the workshop:

Background information






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