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October 2011


Heavy rainfall over the Indochina Peninsula for June — September 2011
Posted on 31 October

  Click on image for bigger version

Tokyo Climate Center (TCC)/JMA has issued a report of heavy rainfall over the Indochina Peninsula for June - September 2011.

Four-month total precipitation from June to September 2011 was 120% - 180% of the normal for most meteorological observation stations over the Indochina Peninsula. Four-month total precipitation for the period amounts to 921mm (134% of the normal) at Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, 1251mm (140%) at Bangkok (the capital of Thailand), 1641 mm (144%) at Vientiane (the capital of Laos) and 835 mm (107%) at Phnom-Penh (the capital of Cambodia). It is unusual that heavier-than-normal rainfall continued through the rainy season over the entire area of the basins. >> More


Flooding in Thailand
Posted on 28 October

  Bangkok flood 24 October 2011
  Click here for more satellite images from NITAR/UNOSAT

Three months of heavy monsoon rain have flooded a third of the Thailand since late July, most severely in the Chao Phraya but also in the Mekong River basin. Northern and central areas were worst hit initially but now the run-off is draining south, threatening the capital city Bangkok as it combines with a seasonal high tide.

Thailand’s Meteorological Department has been issuing detailed and regularly updated forecasts. According to the most recent one, during 28-30 Oct, the moderate high pressure area from China extends to cover the Northeast of Thailand and the South China Sea. The westerly trough will move across the upper North of Thailand. During 31 October–3 November, another high pressure area from China will extend to cover upper Thailand causing cool weather.

The moderate northeast monsoon prevails over southern Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand. Abundant rainfall is likely over the southern Thailand east coast. Especially in 28–30 October, isolated heavy to very heavy rain is expected in Chumphon southward. Wind-wave in the Gulf of Thailand is about 2 meters high during the period. During 28–30 October, people in the southern Thailand east coast area from Chumphon southward should beware of heavy rain and flooding condition and all ship in the gulf of Thailand should proceed with caution. >> Full story


World Climate Research Programme Conference: Science Serves Society
Posted on 24 October

The World Climate Research Programme’s Open Science Conference taking place this week aims to increase understanding of the naturally occurring variability and human influenced change in our climate system and its impact on our society and ecosystems.

More than 1 700 of the world’s leading scientists will consider the effects of rising global temperatures on polar regions, glaciers and ice caps, and the oceans. There will be a special focus on extreme events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Prospects for predicting the weather and climate months, seasons and even decades ahead, as well as the challenges facing surface and space based observation networks, are among the other topics. See WCRP press release.

“The traditional image of scientists secluded in an ivory tower is now wrong, clearly so for climate scientists,” World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told the opening session of the conference in Denver, the United States. He said that decision-making at all levels is increasingly dependent on the availability of supporting climate information, and that the current demand for such information, based on reliable observations and solid science, significantly exceeds the available supply.

Two overarching World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) objectives will be to determine the predictability of climate patterns and the influence of human activities on these patterns, he said. WMO is a co-sponsor of the World Climate Research Programme.

Statement by M. Jarraud, Secretary-General

Full story


Scientists discuss causes and impact of climate change and extreme events
Posted on 19 October

Priorities for climate observations, research and predictions high on agenda

The latest findings about the relationship between climate change and extreme events such heatwaves, droughts, floods and their impact on Earth’s population and ecosystems will be discussed next week at a conference with more than 1 700 leading scientists from 84 countries. Progress and prospects in forecasting the weather and climate months, seasons and even decades ahead, as well as the challenges facing surface and space based observation networks, are among the other topics.

The World Climate Research Programme’s Open Science Conference takes place in Denver, Colorado 24-28 October. It aims to improve our understanding and prediction of - and ability to cope with - naturally-occurring climate variation and human-influenced change from seasons to centuries, and from narrow regions to the entire globe.

Discussions will include the effect of rising global temperatures on polar regions, melting glaciers and ice caps, sea level variability and change, and thawing permafrost which has the potential of becoming a net source of greenhouse gases.

The conference will bring together experts from across a large number of disciplines from physical sciences (atmospheric, oceanic, polar regions, ecosystems) as well as social and information sciences. It also aims to nurture the next generation of scientists, with workshops for early career professionals and students.

The outcomes of the conference will be published and benefit the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other forthcoming assessments of freshwater resources, ecosystems, biodiversity and ozone.

Press release


WMO: better climate services would improve drought management
Posted on 18 October

  UNCCD logo

Scientific progress has laid the basis for more effective policies to combat and manage drought and desertification. The challenge of climate change means it is imperative to translate that science into action, according to a World Meteorological Organization presentation to the High-Level Segment of the Tenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Changwon, Republic of Korea.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a roundtable session that food security and water are among the top priority areas singled out by a new Global Framework on Climate Services currently being developed by WMO and its U.N. and humanitarian partners. It aims to boost the availability, timeliness and relevance of climate information to all countries and all communities, especially the most vulnerable. For instance, there have been big advances in the accuracy of regional and national seasonal forecasts, but all too often this information does not reach those who need it most, such as subsistence farmers who have to decide on the planting of crops or the rearing of livestock. The Framework aims to rectify that with a permanent platform to link providers of climate information with the users, among others.

“The new Global Framework for Climate Services will be an important tool in the struggle against drought and land degradation,” said Mrl Jarraud. “The Framework will contribute to more integrated drought management policies which embrace pro-active disaster risk reduction rather than reactive crisis response as is currently the case. We are confident that its benefits will filter down to all levels of society.”

Press release


Symposium discusses leveraging satellite applications to enhance emergency response
Posted on 18 October

  thai flood map

The role of satellites in a wide range of humanitarian and emergency actions including tropical cyclone monitoring, flood relief and prevention, post-crisis reconstruction, disease eradication and human rights protection was examined at a two-day seminar organized by the World Meteorological Organization and UNOSAT, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

The Symposium “Leveraging satellite applications for global challenges” featured speakers from the United Nations System, non-governmental organizations, Member States and the commercial sector to discuss the latest advancements of satellite technology and the practical innovative solutions being used today for humanitarian purposes.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud recalled that in 1960 the first meteorological satellite TIROS-1 (Television InfraRed Observation Satellite) began providing unprecedented pictures of cloud distributions and the potential for an advanced observing system was recognized immediately.

Over the half-century since TIROS-1, satellite information has evolved from qualitative “pictures” to high-resolution quantitative digital data on the atmosphere and its land-sea interface. Furthermore, environmental satellites are being used today for a wide variety of applications, spanning scales ranging from nowcasting to climate prediction, and it would indeed be difficult to mention an area in operational meteorology that might function equally well without any satellite information,” Jarraud said in a closing speech 12 October.
He said the World Meteorological Congress has launched the decisive phase for the establishment of a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), in particular to sustain decision-making by providing climate information to all socioeconomic sectors. “GFCS will be a common undertaking of the UN System As One and I am indeed confident that UNITAR, through UNOSAT, will make significant contributions to this new challenge,” he said.

Francesco Pisano, Manager of UNOSAT, underlined the importance of deriving concrete and usable solutions using the rapidly evolving technologies offered by the satellite industry and space agencies. Barbara Ryan, Director of WMO’s Space Programme underlined the importance of maintaining the dialogue between users and providers so that gaps can be bridged and practical solutions can be devised.

>> Full story


WMO and AEMET strengthen cooperation
Posted on 18 October

  Mr Jarraud and Mr Herrera
  Ricardo Garcia Herrera (left) and Michel Jarraud (right)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew and strengthen a 2007 cooperation agreement.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and AEMET President Ricardo Garcia Herrera signed the MoU at a ceremony 14 October.

AEMET promises to continue its financial support to various trust funds administered by WMO with the purpose of supporting the Programme of cooperation for NMHSs of Ibero-American countries, the International Research Centre on EI Niño (CIIFEN) and the Programme of Cooperation for Development of West African NMHSs.

Under the accord, AEMET also intends to support the development of a regional centre to coordinate sand and dust storms forecasting activities in the Mediterranean area.

Spain is a Member State of WMO since 1951. AEMET has consistently promoted the development of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and is one of the main contributors to the WMO Voluntary Cooperation Programme.

Agustin Santos Maraver, Ambassador of Spain to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland was present during the signing ceremony at WMO headquarters.


Weather/climate seminars reach 5 700 West African farmers
Posted on 13 October

Increased awareness of risk management boosts self reliance


A four-year pilot project involving 15 West African countries has trained 5 700 subsistence farmers – including 1 000 rural women - in how to access and use weather and climate information to maximize yields and minimize risks.

The project, known as METAGRI, organized 146 roving seminars to increase the interaction between National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and farmers whose livelihoods depend on the weather.

These seminars increased the self-reliance of rural farmers by raising their awareness about effective weather and climate risk management and the sustainable use of weather and climate information and services for agricultural production. They also provided crucial feedback from the rural agricultural community to the NMHSs.

Press release


WMO Conference on Weather Modification Discusses Research, Environment
Posted on 11 October

  weather modification logo

About 100 scientists from 29 countries attended the 10th WMO Scientific Conference on Weather Modification that was kindly hosted by the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology in Balli between 4 and 7 October 2011.

The conference focussed on the following topics:

  • Weather Modification Research and the study of cloud and precipitation processes:
    • Observational and laboratory studies;
    • Modelling studies;
    • Developments in seeding material and methods of delivery;
    • Data analysis and statistical methods as applied to current and previous experiments and projects;
  • Weather Modification and the physical and socio-economic environment:
    • Environmental issues, user requirements and cost-benefit studies
    • Inadvertent weather modification, Climate Change and Geo-engineering

The conference again highlighted the growing desire of human kind to modify weather specifically to augment water resources, reduce the damage of hail and other severe and damaging weather phenomena. However, despite promising advances being made, several scientific issues remain unsolved. Fortunately the technology to observe, model and analyse the intentional interventions made by weather modification now exist to make great progress in this field. There is also the realisation that many of the outstanding issues are also central to improve weather and climate predictions and that more effected cooperation on a regional and global scale between scientists will be beneficial to all.

Conference statement

Weather modification Website


Launch of MyWeather – Worldwide Official Weather Information at your Fingertips
Posted 10 October


The World Meteorological Organization and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) today announced the launch of “MyWeather” – a mobile app on iPhone platform featuring the World Weather Information Service (WWIS). It is the world’s first ever location-specific weather service providing official city weather forecasts around the world for people on the move.

“MyWeather” is developed by the Hong Kong Observatory on behalf of the WMO. Equipped with location-based technology to detect the user’s location, the application automatically displays the latest official weather forecasts and climatological information of the city nearest to the user. It provides a quick search function that allows users to obtain the latest official weather information from over 1,400 cities around the world.  The application also enables users to create bookmarks for easy access to weather forecasts for cities of their choice in the future.

Press Release


WMO Hosts Workshop on Extreme Seas
Posted 5 October

  ship in wave
  © Commander Richard Behn, NOAA Corps

WMO is hosting a workshop with representatives of the International Maritime Organization, classification societies, shipyards, marine designers and ship operators on Extreme Seas: Improving Wave Observations, Maritime Safety and Ship Design.

The aim is to enhance safety of the merchant fleet in extreme seas and meet future challenges – especially given that the anticipated shrinking of the Arctic ice will lead to an increase in shipping and oil and gas exploration in unpredictable northern waters which were previously closed to navigation.

“WMO has a long standing culture of cooperation with the international merchant fleet. Presently, about 4 000 carriers provide platforms for observation of various types around the globe. Needless to say, these observations contribute in part to the safe and economic operations of all marine activities,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a message to the workshop.

“Safety for shipping starts at the drawing table of the ship designers where structural matters are considered to make the new ships resilient to the environmental impacts. Weather and sea state observations from the open seas are part of the information bedrock of better ship design,” he said.

The conference 4-6 October is meant to promote the harmonization of ocean observation practices with the needs of modern applications of these data in marine design and risk based management of ship operations. >> Full story







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