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March 2011

 

Polar research boosts understanding of our climate and global environment
(posted on 28 March)

  IPY Summary cover
   
 
 

The largest coordinated research project ever undertaken into the Arctic and Antarctic regions yielded a treasure trove of information which will shape our understanding of the polar regions, global oceans, climate and climate change for decades ahead, according to a summary of the research released today.

Understanding Earths Polar Challenges, was presented to the Arctic Science Summit Week in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The summary prepared by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Joint Committee presents the findings from International Polar Year a massive research effort involving some 50,000 participants from more than 60 nations between March 2007 and March 2009.

Press release

Summary of the International Polar Year

History of the International Polar Year

 

WMO Hurricane Committee retires Igor and Tomas from list of Atlantic Storms
(posted on 24 March

  Hurricane Igor
  Hurricane Igor
  Hurricane Tomas
  Hurricane Tomas

The World Meteorological Organization Hurricane Committee has retired two tropical cyclone names in the Atlantic from the official name rotation because of the deaths and damage they caused in 2010.

The names Igor and Tomas in the Atlantic would have appeared again in 2016 but will no longer be used. In their places will be Ian and Tobias.

The decision was taken at the WMOs Regional Association for North America, Central America and the Caribbeans Hurricane Committee meeting in the Cayman Islands 8-12 March 2011. The committee issues the list of potential names for tropical cyclones to be used every six years for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins.

Media advisory

More on storm naming

 

WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2010
(posted on 24 March)

  cover
   

WMO has published its Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2010. The year was especially notable in that global surface temperatures reached record values at the same level as in 1998 and 2005, consistent with the acceleration of the warming experienced over the last 50 years. The year also signalled the closure of the warmest decade on record. Over this decade, warming was markedly more pronounced in some regions, notably so in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia and the Arctic.

Large and extended climate extremes were recorded in several parts of the world, causing significant socio-economic impacts. In particular the flooding in Pakistan and Australia as well as the summer heatwave in the Russian Federation were among the most remarkable climate extremes of the year.

Brochure

 

World Meteorological Day celebrates "Climate For You"
(posted on 23 March)

 
poster

Climate for You is the theme of this years World Meteorological Day (23 March) celebrating the contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to every aspect of our daily lives.

WMO activities in the area of climate are widely perceived today as key contributions to human safety and well-being and the realization of economic benefits for all nations, said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

Reliable and timely climate information will increasingly be required by decision-makers and by all socio-economic sectors, particularly at the regional and local levels, in view of the grave risks associated with a rapidly changing climate, said Mr Jarraud.

World Meteorological Day Website

WMO Fellowship Fund Appeal
(posted on 23 March)

  website

This World Meteorological Day, WMO is announcing a Web-based appeal to the wider meteorological community for contributions to the WMO Fellowship Fund, Building Capacity, One Fellow at a Time. Contributions will support the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students from least developed countries, developing countries, and Small Island Developing States in the fields of meteorology, hydrology and climatology.

Qualified and well trained meteorological personnel are the backbone of national weather services.

While weather services in developed countries can have a staff compliment numbering in the hundreds, including specialists in various related fields (agrometeorology, severe weather, transport etc), their counterparts in developing countries are often minimally staffed and lacking expertise in specialised areas.

This situation compromises their capacity to effectively service their communities with the information needed to make informed decisions that concern not only their daily lives, but often their economic survival and resilience to natural disasters.

The Appeal duration will last from World Meteorological Day (23 March) to 31 December 2011. It encourages the WMO community to be an advocate and help foster existing practitioners and young talent. More details at: http://www.wmo.int/appeal

 

No restrictions on travel to Japan
(updated on 21 March)

International flight and maritime operations can continue normally into and out of Japan’s major airports and sea ports, excluding those damaged by the tsunami, according to the latest information available from the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Press Release

New brochure: Weather extremes in a changing climate
(posted on 18 March)

Devastating climate and weather-related events recorded in recent years have captured public interest. This brochure provides a sample of extreme events for the past decade (2001-2010), including an A3 map, and reviews whether these extreme events are consistent with scientific assessments of climate.

Brochure

Map

Update on WMO activities in aftermath of earthquake in Japan
(posted on 15 March)

The World Meteorological Organization has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

The International Atomic Energy Agency requested the World Meteorological Organization to activate its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism on 12 March 2011 following the 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami. WMO is providing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with meteorological information. WMOs Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres in Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Obninsk, Russian Federation) are closely monitoring the situation. These centres are responsible for developing predictions of the trajectories and spreading of contaminants following environmental accidents with cross-border implications. The information is made available to the IAEA and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the immediate region concerned. Other Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres in other regions were also activated to provide guidance in their respective regions of responsibility.

Press release: "WMO monitoring meteorological conditions in quake-hit area"

WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, interview with UNTV

 

Earthquake and tsunami damage updates by Japan Meteorological Agency
(posted on 15 March)

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has set up a specific information site for areas damaged by the earthquake. It is available on the JMA home page by clicking on the banner "The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohuku Earthquake and Tsunami portal or directly at: www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/2011_Earthquake.html

WMO monitoring meteorological conditions in quake-hit area
(posted on 14 March)

The World Meteorological Organization has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

WMO is coordinating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the meteorological situation, and in particular with respect to WMOs Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres in Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Obninsk) that are closely monitoring the situation. These centres are responsible for developing predictions of the trajectories and spreading of contaminants following environmental accidents with cross-border implications.

The information is for the use of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to advise their respective government agencies, and for the IAEA which manages nuclear safety for its State Parties. 

Further information:

 

Update on the earthquake aftermath
(posted on 14 March)

Aftershock activities

Aftershocks of "The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake" have been very active. As of 15:10JST 14 March, the aftershocks larger than magnitude 7.0 occurred 3 times, and those larger than 6.0 occurred 44 times. The aftershocks have occurred in the large area off the coast of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki Prefectures. When compared to past cases, the activity of aftershocks is very high.

Aftershock outlook

  • Near the epicenter, maximum JMA Seismic Intensity of aftershocks may be 5- or higher.
  • A strong aftershock may occur tsunami. Be cautious when a tsunami warning or advisory is issued.
  • Estimating from the occurrence of aftershocks so far, the possibility of aftershocks with maximum JMA Seismic Intensity of 5+ or higher is 40% for the 3-day period from 2 p.m., 14 March, followed by 20% for the 3-day period from 2 p.m., 17 March to 2 p.m., 20 March.

Responsible national organization and the source of information: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

Further information:



Information on the earthquake/tsunami
(posted on 11 March)

  tsunami map

Date/time: 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC), 11 March 2011
Epicenter: about 130 km off Pacific coast of the northern part of the main island (Honshu)
Depth: about 24 km
Magnitude: 9.0 (updated from 8.8). The largest earthquake recorded in Japan.

Tsunami warning: The first tsunami warning for major tsunami was issued at 14:49 JST (3 minutes after the occurrence of the earthquake) for the Pacific coast.

Subsequent updates on tsunami warnings and the information on the observed tsunami have been issued.

Observed tsunami: Maximum observed tsunami: 7.3m (or more) at 15:50 JST at Soma station

Damages to JMA facilities: not yet known

Note: Earthquakes occurred prior to this earthquake in the same area
- Magnitude 7.3, 11:45 JST 9 March 2011
- Magnitude 6.8, 06:24 JST 10 March 2011

Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory: The first tsunami advisory was issued at 06:01 UTC (15:01 JST) by JMA as the Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory Center within the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS) of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC of UNESCO).

Responsible national organization and the source of information: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

Further information:

 

World-Wide Met-ocean Information and Warning Service & World-Wide Navigational Warning System expanded into Arctic waters
(posted on 10 March)

Ships in the Arctic region will be able to receive early warning about navigational and meteorological hazards thanks to the expansion of the World-Wide Navigational Warning System into Arctic waters.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Admiral Alexandros Maratos, President of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), marked the creation of five new Arctic navigational and meteorological areas, delineated by IMO and WMO respectively, at a ceremony in London this week.

As Arctic waters have become more accessible, the three agencies have worked to strengthen early warning systems for ships facing extreme and less predictable weather in the Arctic region.

Sea ice is projected to increasingly shrink under all scenarios and for some projections the Arctic late-summer sea ice would vanish almost entirely by the middle of the century, opening unprecedented challenges to maritime safety which were unpredictable just one generation ago, said Mr. Jarraud.

The expansion to the Arctic region closes a gap in the World-Wide Navigational Warning system, which was developed in the late 1970s by IMO, in collaboration with IHO. This divided the worlds oceans into l6 navigational areas, with one designated country in each area responsible for disseminating navigational information. Meteorological areas with identical limits were also subsequently established.

WMO, IMO and IHO have collaborated since 2006 to improve information for the Arctic region. The five Arctic navigational and meteorological areas were established in June 2010 and are currently in an Initial Operational Capability phase. The transition to Full Operational Capability is expected in June 2011.

Responsibility for the Arctic navigational and meteorological areas is divided between Canada, Norway and the Russian Federation.

See also: IMO news release
WMO Secretary-General remarks

 

WMO adds gales To Severe Weather Information Website as visitors soar
(posted on 7 March)

Gales and high winds now feature on the World Meteorological Organization Severe Weather Information Centre Website as part of the continuing drive to improve public weather forecasts and reduce risks from natural hazards.

The gale warnings will help users around the globe to be aware of the latest high wind areas and conditions so as to take necessary precautionary measures. Winds with gale force or above (speed greater than or equal to 34 knots or 18 meters per second) cause disruption, damage and potential loss of life. The gale webpage displays the locations of gales in the past 24 hours based on reports from land stations and ships of WMO Members. It provides detailed information including the position (latitude, longitude and altitude in case of land stations), the observed wind speed and wind direction.

Press release

 

 

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