WMO: 60 Years and Beyond is the theme of the latest WMO Bulletin, now available online.
From tracking ash from the Icelandic volcanic eruption, to restoring forecasting services after the tragic Haitian earthquake, to advocacy for climate services, a global network of meteorologists are providing essential information for decision-makers every day. This story of scientific progress, cooperation and climate-related advocacy is recounted in the second 60th anniversary edition of the WMO Bulletin. Articles include:
Read these articles at: www.wmo.int/pages/publications/bulletin_en/index_en.html
At the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun, there was broad recognition that adapting to a changing climate is a must. The UN’s role must be centred around “green growth”, said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United Nations, she added, must help countries address the twin challenges of climate change and bridging the gap between rich and poor.
Developing countries recognise the need to reconcile environment and economic challenges. The World Bank pointed out that about 85% of country strategy papers (in which countries outline their development assistance priorities) now emphasize climate change.
Even if the most stringent mitigation measures were put in place today, the impacts of climate change would continue for centuries. Decision-makers in all sectors increasingly have to manage the risk of the adverse impacts of climate variability and change but often are not getting information they need to do so, and to do so efficiently.
“We all share the same planet, the same atmosphere, the same ocean, the same multi-faceted climate. Every community, every socio-economic sector is affected by climate variability and climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“I am convinced that all the investment made on adaptation, mitigation and managing the risk of climate will be suboptimal – maybe wasted – if it is not informed by the best possible science, the best possible information. This is what the Global Framework for Climate Services is. It is about making the best possible information available to decision-makers.
“We need to strengthen research in all parts of the world. We need to develop more appropriate services for climate, similar to what we have for weather services. There is no way any country can do it alone, not even the largest one. We need a multilateral, multidisciplinary system,” he said in reference to the proposed GFCS.
Alcinda Abreu, Mozambique Minister of Coordination of Environmental Affairs, noted that her country needs the multilateral platform that the Global Framework for Climate Services offers. Mozambique learned much from the floods of 2000, where more than 800 people died and 500 000 were displaced. “It was a turning point for disaster management in Mozambique,” she said. “How do we limit the risks of something so unpredictable, for which we are not responsible?” She outlined that Mozambique’s national adaptation programme focuses on prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, gender and climate change strategy.
Earlier during the conference, Mr Jarraud underlined the “serious consequences" if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut immediately. A series of weather-related disasters and the warmest decade on record underline the need to take action on climate change.
WMO’s new Antarctic Ozone Bulletin provides the latest update on the state of the annually recurring ozone hole. It says that the Antarctic polar vortex (a large low-pressure system where high velocity winds circle the Antarctic continent) was still depleted early December, although no new depletion was occurring.
During the first half of August, the ozone hole area increased more slowly than at the same time in most of the recent years. From the end of August the ozone hole area started to increase but remained lower than for any other year since 2003 until around 20 September. From late September until early November the ozone hole area was similar to that observed in 2007 and on many days larger than in 2009. From early November until early December the ozone hole was larger than both in 2007 and 2009. From 4-6 December, the ozone hole has been larger than any year during the 2003-2009 time period.
Antarctic ozone holes are expected to reoccur annually as long as the stratosphere still contains an excess of ozone depleting substances due to the long atmospheric lifetimes of these compounds. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, ozone depleting gases will slowly disappear from the atmosphere over the next decades.
The latest issue of the Ozone Bulletin reports observations from nineteen stations, with special emphasis on ground-based and balloon measurements. WMO and the scientific community will keep a close eye on the development during the coming weeks. The fifth and final ozone bulletin of the season will be issued in February 2011.
WMO organized three press conferences and participated in several side events during the first week of COP 16.
The WMO's provisional statement on the status of the global climate in 2010 showed that it is almost certain to be one of the three warmest years since 1850, and possibly the warmest, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a press conference on Thursday 2 December. The final ranking will be completed when data for November and December are analyzed. The 2001-2010 ten year period will be the warmest on record.
Extreme events are becoming more common, Ghassem Asrar, Director of the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme, told a press conference on Tuesday 30 November. According to the current trend, the European heat wave of 2003 and the Russian heat wave of July 2010 may be the norm by the end of the century.
Climate science is essential to planning for a warmer world, said Jan Egeland, Co-Chair of the High-level Taskforce for the Global Framework for Climate Services, and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, at a press conference on Wednesday 1 December. Climate research is not translating into services for those most vulnerable to climate and weather hazards, and "the most vulnerable are the least well-covered," said Mr Egelund. Gaps in observation networks are especially critical in developing countries, where many areas receive less than 5 per cent of observation network data, and at least 70 countries do not have basic climate services.
Global climate in 2010
For more: See the WMO special COP16 segment
The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top three warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850. And 2001-2010 is the warmest ten-year period on record, according to data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization.
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