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Last updated: 28 January 2010


WMO and international consortium to collaborate on geospatial standards
(posted on 28 January)

WMO recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc., to enhance the development and use of geospatial standards. It is anticipated that this collaboration will support the implementation of the WMO Information System, which aims at providing a single coordinated global infrastructure for the collection and sharing of information in support of all WMO and related international programmes.

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WMO meets with space agencies on climate matters
(posted on 22 January)

The tenth session of the Consultative Meeting on High-level Policy on Satellite Matters (CM-10) will be held at WMO headquarters from 28-29 January 2010. The annual meeting, chaired by WMO President Alexander I. Bedritskiy, brings together senior officials from space and meteorological agencies around the world. This year, the focus of the meeting will be on improved international collaboration among major space agencies for a coordinated and sustained monitoring of Earth's climate. Senior officials from Brazil, Canada, China, the Cook Islands, France, Germany, Guinea, India, Japan, Korea, the Russian Federation, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America will join the meeting.

New world record wind gust
(posted on 22 January)

According to a recent review and evaluation conducted by a panel of experts in charge of global weather and climate extremes within the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl), the new record wind gust, not related to tornados, registered to date is 408 kilometres per hour. This record occurred during Tropical Cyclone Olivia on 10 April 1996 on Barrow Island, Australia. The previous record was of 372 kilometres per hour, registered in April 1934 across the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire (USA).

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Fact sheet on tropical cyclones


Global Cryosphere Watch
(posted on 22 January)

The international community is working within WMO towards the establishment of a Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) to serve societal needs for weather, climate and water and related environmental information and services. At its next quadrennial session in 2011, the World Meteorological Congress – the WMO supreme governing body – is to consider how to develop and implement a GCW.

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US National Weather Service assists Haiti
(posted on 15 January)

The Miami Office of the United States National Weather Service has created a weather support page to provide weather conditions and forecasts for Haiti and the surrounding Caribbean in the wake of the recent earthquake. According to the WMO Office for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, based in Costa Rica, meteorological operations in the Port-au-Prince International Airport by the national meteorological services are reported to be down. The airport is closed for commercial flights and the US Army is provisionally preparing the METAR and TAF messages for humanitarian flights. METAR and TAF are concise textual formats used for transmitting weather reports and forecasts for aviation purposes. This meteorological information is essential for flight safety.

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IMO Prize awarded to Eugenia Kalnay
(posted on 14 January)

On 14 January 2010, WMO awarded the fifty-fourth International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize to Eugenia Kalnay (Argentina/United States of America), a leader in the field of global numerical weather prediction and analysis, including data assimilation and ensemble forecasting. The IMO Prize is the highest distinction of WMO. The award ceremony took place at the National Academy of Science in Washington, D.C. (USA), with the participation of Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General, Alexander Bedritskiy, WMO President, and John L. Hayes, NOAA Deputy Assistant Administrator and Permanent Representative of the United States with WMO.

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Press release no. 851


Cold wave in the northern hemisphere
(posted on 14 January)

The cold wave now affecting the northern hemisphere is a meteorological phenomenon caused by the large-scale blocking of atmospheric circulation on a major North-South corridor. The phenomenon is well known by meteorologists and is generally linked with atmospheric oscillations, such as the Arctic oscillation, which has been relatively powerful since mid-December 2009. The blocking episode is nearing its end, and the northern hemisphere winter is now reverting to its normal features from the West and South in Western Europe. Some severe episodes will no doubt linger in several regions of the world and during certain periods of the winter season, which is quite normal.

For more detailed information on the situation in any specific country, please contact the corresponding National Meteorological and Hydrological Service.


Launching the Global Framework for Climate Services
(posted on 14 January)

Representatives from more than 100 countries, as well as from non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11 to 12 January 2010 to follow-up on the decision by World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to strengthen the production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services.  As mandated by WCC-3, the intergovernmental meeting, chaired by WMO President Alexander I. Bedritskiy, approved the terms of reference and endorsed the composition of a High-Level Taskforce of independent advisers, which the Secretary-General of the WMO has been requested to set up. The Taskforce will follow up with recommendations for proposed elements of the GFCS, as well as for next steps to develop and implement the GFCS.  Its report will be published before the next quadrennial World Meteorological Congress in May 2011.

The text with the terms of reference will be posted on the WMO Website as soon as it is available in the six UN official languages. The composition of the taskforce will be made public once its members have notified their acceptance.


Intergovernmental meeting on the GFCS high-level taskforce
(posted on 8 January)

From 11 to 12 January 2010, the Intergovernmental Meeting for the High-Level Taskforce on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) will take place at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) in Switzerland. The meeting is convened in accordance with the Declaration adopted by World Climate Conference-3 (31 August to 4 September 2009). Its purpose is to approve the terms of reference and endorse the composition of a high-level taskforce of independent advisors, on the basis of proposals made by the WMO Secretary-General. This taskforce will follow up with recommendations for the development of the GFC.






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