The Sultanate of Oman and WMO sponsored a workshop to improve operational tropical cyclone forecasting and warning, through providing training for forecasters in the most up-to-date techniques.
The Sultanate of Oman represented by the Directorate of Meteorology in the Public Authority of Civil Aviation hosted the WMO/Oman International Workshop on Dvorak Technique and Tropical Cyclone Forecasting, at the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, from 28 September to 2 October 2014.
The workshop covered essential topics on state-of-art technologies in operational tropical cyclone forecasting, with particular focus on Dvorak technique. This is a technique used for tropical cyclone intensity estimation. It is a statistical correlation between cloud banding and intensity of a tropical cyclone. It is considered as the best technique currently available, but is complex and, to some extent, subjective.
The workshop was attended by 13 participants from seven of the eight members of the WMO/Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC), and 25 local participants. In addition, 2 participants each from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar were also invited to attend at the workshop-It was targeted particularly at meteorologists who have had practical experience in operational tropical cyclone forecasting. Three internationally distinguished experts and a WMO officer in addition to two Omani experts were invited to deliver lectures for the workshop.
Oman, which hosted the event, is quite often impacted by tropical cyclones. One significant case, Tropical Cyclone Gonu, caused severe flooding and damage to the country in 2007.
Climate Services Need to Go the Last Mile
The World Meteorological Organization hosted a three day meeting attended by a wide range of stakeholders from all over the world to accelerate progress, coordinate plans and identify gaps and stumbling blocks in the rollout of climate services such as seasonal forecasts and drought monitoring tools.
The Meeting on the Implementation Coordination of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), from 29 September to 1 October, brought together nearly 100 experts from meteorological and research organizations which are developing climate products, along with representatives of donor institutions and users from the priority sectors of water, food security, health and disaster risk reduction. >> More
The UN Climate Summit brought together a hundred Heads of Governments, alongside the financial world, business and civil societies to give new momentum to the search for answers to the challenges posed by climate change.
During the summit on 23 September, the World Meteorological Organization was one of the sponsors of a Thematic Session on Climate Science to showcase how high-quality scientific information can support decision-making on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and U.N. Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) were co-sponsors.
Chaired by the Presidents of Mongolia, H.E. Mr Tsakhigiin Elbegdorj, and Guyana, H.E. Mr Donald Ramotar, this high level session was addressed by Aleqa Hammond, Premier of Greenland (Denmark), Thomas Stocker, Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid. >> More
|Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center|
The area of sea ice in the Arctic fell to a summer minimum of around 5.0 million square kilometres this year. This is the sixth lowest extent in the satellite record and reinforces the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent, according to leading international scientific and research bodies.
The findings were released by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.
On September 17, 2014, sea ice extent dropped to 5.02 million square kilometers (1.94 million square miles), according to NSIDC. This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year. In response to the setting sun and falling temperatures,ice extent will now climb through autumn and winter. However, a shift in wind patterns or a period of late season melt could still push the ice extent lower. This year’s minimum was 1.61 million square kilometers (622,000 square miles) above the record minimum extent in the satellite era, which occurred on September 16, 2012, and 1.20 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average minimum. >> More
Bold new actions to immediately tackle climate change were announced today by Government, business, finance and civil society leaders attending a historic Climate Summit convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has long urged workable solutions based on “clear vision anchored in domestic and multinational actions.”
“Today was a great day – a historic day. Never before have so many leaders gathered to commit to action on climate change,” Mr. Ban said, summing up the day-long event,which drew a unique mix of international players who announced their vision and commitment for reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in 2015, as well made announcements on actions that will reduce emissions, enhance resistance to climate change and mobilize financing for climate action.
“The Summit delivered,” declared the UN chief, noting that leaders had reaffirmed determination to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius by cutting emissions. And many, from all regions and all levels of economic development, advocated for a peak in greenhouse gas emissions before 2020, decisively reduced emissions thereafter, and climate neutrality in the second half of this century. >> More
More than 400 meteorological experts, scientists and researchers from 40 countries are meeting in Geneva for the 2014 EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference.
EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier said, “This event has become a reference point in Europe for dialogue among users of meteorological satellite data. This offers the scientific community a forum to come together and discuss progress made on current and future satellite programmes and how to get the best out of satellite data.” >> More
The 2014 Global Carbon Budget has been released ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit, showing that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production increased by 2.3% in 2013 to new record levels. It said that emissions were 61% above the 1990 levels (the Kyoto Protocol reference year).
In 2013, the ocean and land carbon sinks respectively removed 27% and 23% of total CO2 (fossil fuel and land use change), leaving 50% of emissions in the atmosphere.
The Global Carbon Budget examined regional fossil fuel emissions, consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, emissions from land use change, emission pathways, CO2 removals by natural sinks, atmospheric CO2 and cumulative carbon emissions.
The World Climate Research Programme is sponsored by WMO. WMO’s recently published Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached new records in 2013. It also included an analysis on the impact of this on the oceans, which are suffering unprecedented acidification.
The Global Carbon Budget Report is available here.
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was the highest for August since record keeping began, largely driven by record sea surface temperatures, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). June-August 2014 was also the hottest such period on record.
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June-August was the highest on record for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), according to NOAA. >> More
WMO’s Regional Association for South America has agreed on key priorities to improve infrastructure and strengthen capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to deliver high impact weather, water and climate services. These are necessary to promote disaster resilience and climate change adaptation in a region which has witnessed severe drought and devastating floods in recent months.
The President of the Republic of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, met with WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and Regional Association President Julian Baez Benitez for discussions underlining the importance of meteorological and hydrological services in protecting life and property and supporting sustainable development in a country dependent on hydro-electric power and other natural resources. Paraguay hosted the session in Asuncion from 15.20 September. >> More
Need for Action on Greenhouse Gases Backed by Scientific Evidence
There is still a window of opportunity to prevent dangerous climate change and preserve the planet for future generations. But it is closing fast, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which says that the urgent need to cut greenhouse gases is based on overwhelming scientific evidence.
WMO is supporting the Climate Summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 23 September with a number of initiatives. These underline the need for concerted international action to tame rapid climate change, which may increase temperatures and sea levels to life-threatening levels in the coming decades, and to slow ocean acidification which threatens marine life. >> More
The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan hosted a WMO Regional Workshop on the provision of weather- and climate-related services in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Asia, in Thimphu from 9 to 11 September 2014. The workshop brought together participants from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of eight Asian LDCs, namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Myanmar and Yemen. These countries belong to the WMO Regional Association II (Asia) and have varying climate conditions, from the high mountain regions in the North to the coastal in the South, including also some landlocked countries.“A common characteristic of Asian LDCs is their dependency on natural resources and a high vulnerability to hydro-meteorological hazards” said Dasho Sonam Tshering, Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan in his opening speech. >> More
Success Story Should Encourage Action on Climate
The Earth’s protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances, according to a new assessment by 300 scientists.
The Assessment for Decision-Makers, a summary document of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014, is being published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is the first comprehensive update in four years.
The stratospheric ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Without the Montreal Protocol and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050. According to global models, the Protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, averted damage to human eyes and immune systems, and protected wildlife and agriculture, according to UNEP. >> More
Carbon Dioxide Concentration Surges
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide. This is according to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which injected even greater urgency into the need for concerted international action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change.
The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.
In 2013, concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 142% of the pre-industrial era (1750), and of methane and nitrous oxide 253% and 121% respectively. >> More
Despite warming of the Tropical Pacific Ocean up until June, the overlaying atmosphere largely failed to respond. As a result, ocean temperature anomalies along the equator have decreased over the past two months. Changes in the wind patterns in early-August brought some weak re-warming, but winds have now returned to near normal in the western Pacific, while the pattern of cloudiness has remained largely neutral. Despite the recent observations, models and expert opinion suggest that the development of a weak El Niño event in the coming several months remains quite possible, with probability of at least 60%. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Ocean conditions for further El Niño developments, and will assess the most likely local impacts. >> More
Leading climate scientists from around the world gather this week in Bern, Switzerland to refine their priorities for up-coming research in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, focusing on areas of science where many of the fastest climate system changes emerge, focusing on areas of science where many of the fastest climate system changes emerge or areas where better understanding is essential to improve projections of future climate change.
Two long-standing partners - the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Working Group I of the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are organizing the meeting 8-10 September, less than one year after the IPCC Working Group I assessment on the Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization is releasing a series of imaginary – but realistic - 2050 weather reports from well-known television presenters designed to sensitize people about the local impacts of climate change.
The report from Denmark is set in July 2050. Danish Broadcasting Corporation chief meteorologist Jesper Theilgaard discusses rising temperatures and extreme rainfall events because of the warming atmosphere. Copenhagen experienced a taste of the future with torrential rain and flooding in July 2011. The video also discusses the wider impact of global warming and the need to cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.>> More
The World Meteorological Organization has released the first in a series of imaginary – but realistic - 2050 weather reports from well-known television presenters designed to sensitize people about the local impacts of climate change.
The first report from Brazil is set in June 2050. Rainfall in southern Brazil and the west Amazon is expected to exceed monthly levels in just a few days, increasing the risk of flooding and landslides whilst drought continues in northern Brazil and the east Amazon. It is another hot day.
Weather reports from Japan, Denmark, Zambia, Burkina Faso, the United States of America, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Belgium, South Africa, Iceland, Germany and Tanzania will follow in the coming days. >> More
As part of its contribution to the International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), WMO, on behalf of all its partners, has launched a new partnership for strengthening weather and climate services in SIDS in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean and other regions.
“There is a lot of talent and skill residing in the weather services of small island States,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa, who is attending the conference. “But given their small size, these countries need to join forces with partners to develop a critical mass of operational capacity. WMO is fully committed to supporting small islands as they attract investments and build partnerships for developing and using weather and climate services.” >> More
Mega-droughts and deadly heatwaves. A year’s rainfall in a month. Coastal cities under water. Destruction of ocean life. Invasive pests. Arctic cruises. These are some of the scenarios for 2050 from a series of imaginary but realistic reports which give a foretaste of warmer, wetter and wilder weather in the future.
The World Meteorological Organization invited well-known television presenters from around the globe to prepare a daily weather report for 2050 depicting likely local impacts of global climate change. The year was selected as half-way point to the end of the 21st century, by which time average global temperatures could rise more than 4°C (7.2°F) if greenhouse gas emissions from human activities continue to increase at the current rate.
WMO is launching the videos during the month of September to support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s call for government, finance, business, and civil society leaders to agree to ambitious action on climate change at the UN Climate Summit on 23 September to prevent the worst-case scenarios. >> More
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The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) hosted a Training of Trainers of Climate Field Schools for Asia Pacific countries from 26 to 29 August. It was attended by participants from eight countries in the region and supported by WMO.
The purpose of the “Learning by Doing” session was to share the experience of Indonesia in implementing the Climate Field School program with other countries in the Asia Pacific region in order to support food security programs in their countries.
The training of trainers session focused on techniques on how to convey complex climatic information in an easy to understand language for farmers and extension workers. This will improve the capability of farmers to make informed decisions about their agricultural activities especially during planting. >> More
The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum has issued its outlook for the rainfall season from October 2014 to March 2015.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for the period October to December 2014, according to the Outlook. However, northernmost Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) northern Madagascar and Mauritius are more likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall.
In November-December 2014-January 2015 period, the bulk of the SADC region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall, while the greater part of DRC and northernmost Angola are likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall.>> More
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its regional climate outlook for the September to December period, which is an important rainfall season for the equatorial sector.
The consensus outlook indicates increased likelihood of near normal rainfall over most of the Greater Horn of Africa, with higher likelihood of above normal rainfall over the western and eastern parts of the equatorial sector. There is an increased likelihood of near to below normal is indicated over the rest of the Greater Horn of Africa.
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum was convened from 25-26 August 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The GHA region comprises Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. >> More
A top-level conference convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has underlined the need for stronger action on climate-related health risks which are expected to be aggravated by climate change.
Climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year from shifting patterns of disease, from extreme weather events, such as heat-waves and floods, and from the degradation of water supplies, sanitation, and impacts on agriculture, according to the most recent WHO data.
“The evidence is overwhelming: climate change endangers human health,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Solutions exist and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory.” >> More
Recognizing that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts such as sea-level rise, reduced fisheries catch, droughts, floods, coastal surges, and typhoons (also known as hurricanes and cyclones), the World Meteorological Organization is urging SIDS and their partners to collaborate on developing stronger weather and climate services.
With the UN Conference on SIDS as a platform, WMO is launching the Global Framework for Climate Services for SIDS as a means of promoting this greater collaboration. GFCS-SIDS will engage regional and global partners in a series of projects and activities for attracting greater human, technical and financial investments in these services.
“Most small islands are physically isolated in the vast ocean and are highly vulnerable to climate impacts. Adding to the challenge, because of their small populations they tend to lack a critical mass of technical skills,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. >> More
The World Weather Open Science Conference, attended by more than 1,000 meteorologists, forecasters, social scientists and application developers from over 50 countries, has laid the foundations to face future challenges. The highly successful conference, held in Montreal from 16 to 21 August, reviewed the rapid progress made in weather science and forecasting over the last decade and investigated the possibilities for further scientific breakthroughs in the years ahead.
“Scientific advancements through research for weather and climate applications have never been so in demand,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Food security, water, health, disaster risk reduction are among the most basic and fundamental societal needs for sustainable development,” he said. >> More
Scientific advances on climate change have been grabbing the headlines this year. Meanwhile, a quiet revolution has been underway in the tightly linked field of meteorology.
Eager to move weather forecasting skill rapidly forward over the next few years, some 1 000 scientists and experts are meeting in Montreal from 16 to 21 August for the first World Weather Open Science Conference to chart the future course of scientific research and its potential for generating new and improved weather services.
"Thanks to major investments in research and observations, today’s five-day forecast is as reliable as the two-day forecast of 20 years ago,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. >> More
A global campaign to improve weather and climate services for all small island developing states was launched today with the support of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Digicel Pacific.
The Small Islands, Weather Together campaign (www.weathertogether.org) aims to show how the small island developing states of the world can work together to improve their vital weather and climate services.
In the Pacific region alone, extreme weather already accounts for 76% of all disasters with 50% directly related to cyclones. The increase in extreme weather events is also hampering the sustainable development of many small island developing states. For example, when Cyclone Evan hit Samoa in December 2012 it resulted in the loss of one third of the country’s entire annual economic output.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud stresses that small island developing states need greater investment to further strengthen their vital weather and climate services and to ensure that efforts towards sustainable development are not wasted. >> More
“The Weather: What’s the Outlook,” is the theme of the World Weather Open Science Conference 16-21 August, bringing together the entire weather science and user communities for the first time.
More than 1000 participants from meteorological services, governments, industry, the user community and academia are expected at the conference in Montreal. It is organized jointly by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council for Science (ICSU), Environment Canada, and the National Research Council, Canada.
“The World Weather Open Science Conference will review the latest developments in weather science and it’s applications; it will debate the future directions that successful scientific enterprise needs to address in order to enable society to cope with extreme weather and its impacts,” said International Organizing Committee co-chair Alan Thorpe (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). >> More
A regional workshop aimed at strengthening the provision of climate services like seasonal outlooks and El Niño forecasts and tailoring them to user needs in Latin America takes place in San José, Costa Rica 28-30 July.
The meeting is organized under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and aims to agree on a regional action plan for the future. It is co-orgamized by the GFCS, Instituto Meteorológico Nacional of Costa Rica, Mexico’s Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), Spain’s Agencia Estatal de Meteorologia (AEMET) and El Centro Internacional para la Investigación delFenómeno de El Niño – CIIFEN. >> More
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest for June since record keeping began, driven by record sea surface temperatures, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Tokyo Climate Center. May was also the hottest May on record.
NOAA said the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was 16.22°C, or 0.72°C above the 20th century average of 15.5°C. This surpasses the previous record, set in 2010, by 0.03°C. Nine of the ten warmest Junes on record have all occurred during the 21st century, including each of the past five years. The margin of error associated with this temperature is 0.09°C. >> More
The future provision of meteorological services vital to the safety and efficiency of the rapidly growing and globalizing airline industry was discussed at a major gathering in Montreal, Canada. Challenges such as volcanic ash and the impact of so-called space weather were also high on the agenda.
The once-a-decade joint Meteorology Divisional meeting between the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) took place from 9-18 July at ICAO headquarters and was also attended by representatives of airlines, air navigation services and pilots organizations. It was held conjointly with the WMO Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology. A two-day technical conference 7-8 July on Aviation Meteorology – Building Blocks for the Future sought to inform deliberations. >> More
Between 13 and 17 October 2014, the Climate Symposium will address “Climate Research and Earth Observations from Space/Climate information for decision making”, bringing together over 500 global climate experts, policy makers and representatives from industry and international space agencies in Darmstadt, Germany. Taking place directly after the release of key elements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, the symposium and its follow-on activities are expected to benefit climate-related risk management, and help to underpin the development of climate change mitigation and adaptation options.
Climate change impacts natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans through rising sea levels, heat stress, water-borne illnesses and an increase in severe weather phenomena. The symposium will benefit climate research, modelling and prediction by initiating the development of an international space-based climate observing system in response to the needs of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). >> More
Within the 35th Session of the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC), the representatives of the national hydrological and meteorological services (NHMSs) of the Sava River Basin countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia) met in Ljubljana (Slovenia) to sign the “Policy on the Exchange of Hydrological and Meteorological Data and Information in the Sava River Basin”.
The signature of the Policy represents the final step of the process initiated by the NHMSs and launched in 2013 within the framework of the multi-beneficiary IPA/2012/290552 project “Building resilience to disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey” (implemented by WMO and ISDR with funding from the EU). In this project, through the review of existing practices and the development of enhanced procedures, the improvement of data collection and exchange among the countries of the Sava River Basin was identified as the key target. >> More
Better disaster data enables better decisions
Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8 835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme temperatures, floods, tropical cyclones and related health epidemics, according to a new report.
The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012 describes the distribution and impacts of weather, climate, and water-related disasters and highlights measures to increase resilience. It is a joint publication of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.>> More
The WMO Commission for Climatology has recommended that governments adopt a two-tier approach to updating the 30-year baselines that scientists and meteorological services use to monitor the weather and climate and make comparisons to past conditions.
Because the climate varies naturally from year to year, climatologists use standard 30-year averages of temperatures, precipitation and other variables to put, for example, the magnitude of a current heatwave or rainstorm into historical context. These 30-year historical periods are called “climate normals” and can be calculated at the local, national or global levels. >> More
The World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization have joined forces to tackle the increasing risks to human health posed by weather and climate hazards such as extreme temperatures, floods, droughts and tropical cyclones.
A new WHO/WMO Climate and Health office has been established under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to promote the coordinated development and use of climate services to improve public health. It will increase awareness, build capacity, and connect meteorological services with experts in the health sector in an active partnership for climate adaptation and risk management. >> More
Climatologists and other experts are attending the quadrennial meeting of the WMO Commission for Climatology to adopt a 2014-2018 work plan aimed at accelerating national efforts to deliver and use climate services.
The Commission’s 3 -8 July meeting has been preceded by the three-day WMO Technical Conference on Climate Services: Building on the CLIPS Legacy. The Conference explored how the outputs of the 20-year Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS) project, which concludes next year, will transition into the more recently established Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). >> More
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Executive Council has agreed on measures to strengthen the delivery and quality of weather, water and climate services vital to public safety, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Discussions during the 10-day meeting (18-27 June) also focused on how to build the capacity of, and recognition for, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and secure appropriate funding necessary to the growing challenges posed by climate change, extreme weather events, pollution and urbanisation.
“To meet the evolving needs of society, it is essential that governments invest in their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services so they can meet their responsibilities to provide weather information and related services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. >> More
Future Earth, a new international programme for global sustainability which brings together thousands of the world’s leading researchers on global environmental change, will have a new secretariat with a unique and innovative structure that spans three continents.
The announcement came today from the International Council for Science, on behalf of the members of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability (the Alliance). >> More
The World Meteorological Organization’s Executive Council has awarded WMO’s most prestigious prize to Dr Alexander Bedritskiy of the Russian Federation, the President Emeritus of WMO since 2011, for his outstanding work in meteorology, climatology, hydrology and related sciences.
Dr Bedritskiy won the IMO Prize, named after WMO’s predecessor organization the International Meteorological Organization, for his life-long contribution to meteorology. >> More
There is a 60% likelihood of an El Niño being fully established between June and August, increasing to 75-80% for the October to December period, according to an El Niño Update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Based on advice from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, many governments have already started preparing for the arrival of El Niño, which is associated with regional-scale drought and flood situations in different parts of the world and has a warming influence on global average surface temperatures.
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific, coupled with typical atmospheric circulation patterns. It is a natural phenomenon with a recurring interval of 2-7 years and has a major impact on the climate around the world. The last El Niño was in 2009/2010. >>More
User-friendly official forecasts in 10 languages
The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) highly successful World Weather Information Service website has been revamped and upgraded to a more modern and user-friendly format.
Developed and operated by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) on behalf of the WMO, the website provides official weather forecasts for 1 719 cities around the world supplied by 133 WMO Members. It is available in ten languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
“The World Weather Information Service is the authoritative source of official forecasts from around the globe. It is an excellent example of international collaboration between meteorological services to better serve the public worldwide. National weather services operate standardized weather observing networks and follow the most rigorous forecasting procedures,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Executive Council meeting opened 18 June with a focus on providing better weather and climate services to protect a growing urban-based global population challenged by climate change, extreme weather events, pollution, pressure on water supplies and food insecurity.
“The year that has passed since our last session has been marked by a number of extreme weather and climate events: cold waves and major winter storms in North America; extremely high temperatures and heat waves from eastern Mongolia to eastern China as well as in Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa; widespread and prolonged flooding in the UK and more recently extreme floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.>> More
The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed worldwide on 17 June every year. The theme this year is ecosystem-based adaptation, with the slogan ‘Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It.’
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the recovery of degraded lands in order to avert the worst effects of climate change, produce sufficient food and ease competition over resources.
“Land degradation, caused or exacerbated by climate change, is not only a danger to livelihoods, but also a threat to peace and stability,” he said, adding that “with world population rising, it is urgent that we work to build the resilience of all productive land resources and the communities that depend on them, he said.” >> More
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have collaborated for decades on agricultural meteorology, desertification, drought, and many other issues of common concern.
At a meeting earlier this week at FAO headquarters in Rome, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva explored ways of intensifying this collaboration to address growing challenges such as climate change and sustainable development. They agreed to update the WMO-FAO Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their strengthened partnership.
The forecasts and services provided by WMO in the domains of weather, climate and water are essential for the people and companies earning their living from farming, herding, fishing and forestry. Bringing the respective expertise of WMO and FAO even closer together will further improve the design and delivery of the weather, climate and water services and predictions that the agricultural sector so urgently needs.
Key issues that WMO and FAO will continue to collaborate on include how weather affects desert locusts, the impacts of a changing climate on fisheries, drought management policies and capacity development, the impacts of El Niño on farmers and fishers, support to users for accessing and applying climate information, implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and remote sensing in support of agricultural meteorology.
Malawi has embarked on an ambitious drive to integrate weather and climate information into its national health planning in a move which could radically improve surveillance and management of diseases like malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition, which are all influenced by weather and climate.
Until now, there has been little formal contact between the meteorological and health communities in Malawi. But that is now set to change thanks to the Global Framework for Climate Services Adaptation Programme for Africa, which seeks to provide user-driven weather and climate services for climate-sensitive sectors like health, agriculture and disaster risk reduction. >> More
A new international centre has been established to improve predictions and provide operational forecasts of sand and dust storms which have a major impact on the economy, the environment and people’s health and which are expected to worsen as a result of climate change and land degradation.
The Barcelona Dust Forecast Centre was inaugurated on 10 June by the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS). Its forecasts cover Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe and are freely available at http://dust.aemet.es >> More
“Together, we have the power to protect the oceans” is the theme of World Oceans Day on 8 June, emphasizing the need for cooperation to safeguard our oceans which cover nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface. As much as 40 per cent of the world oceans are suffering as a result of human activities which have caused pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats. Oceans are absorbing more than 93% of the excess energy from human activities – the impact of which will be felt for thousands of years.
This year’s official ceremony focuses on the future sustainability of oceans. It takes place on 9 June, to coincide with the Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of its entry into force. >> More
Raise Your Voice Not the Sea Level is the theme of World Environment Day 5 June, focusing on Small Island Developing States and climate change.
World Environment Day seeks to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment and is organized by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). This year’s theme supports the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and aims to build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization has taken action to improve the working environment of Haiti’s meteorological service as part of a wider initiative to strengthen forecast and early warning capabilities in the Caribbean nation and build its resilience to tropical cyclones, floods, droughts and other hazards.
Two additional prefabricated offices to replace ageing temporary containers have been delivered to the National Hydro Meteorological Services of Haiti to allow staff to operate more effectively as the 2014 North Atlantic Hurricane season approaches. In the longer-term WMO has agreed to construct new permanent headquarters for the service in an earthquake and hurricane proof building.
The initiatives come under the auspices of the Haiti Weather Systems Programme – Climate Services to Reduce Vulnerability in Haiti. The programme aims to rehabilitate and modernize the weather, climate and hydrology forecasting infrastructure which was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. >> More
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal outlook for the forthcoming June to August rainy season, factoring in the likely development of an El Niño event which may have significant climatic impacts over parts of Eastern Africa.
June to August constitutes an important rainfall season over the northern sector and the western parts of the equatorial sector of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region. The regional consensus climate outlook indicates increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over most parts of the northern and equatorial sectors except for parts of north western Ethiopia; south-eastern Uganda and much of South Sudan which have increased likelihood of receiving near normal to above normal rainfall. The rest of the region is expected to remain dry as usual at this time of year. >> More
For the first time, monthly concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million (ppm) in April throughout the northern hemisphere. This threshold is of symbolic and scientific significance and reinforces evidence that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are responsible for the continuing increase in heat-trapping greenhouse gases warming our planet.
All the northern hemisphere monitoring stations forming the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch network reported record atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the seasonal maximum. This occurs early in the northern hemisphere spring before vegetation growth absorbs CO2.
Whilst the spring maximum values in the northern hemisphere have already crossed the 400 ppm level, the global annual average CO2 concentration is set to cross this threshold in 2015 or 2016. >> More
Climate change occasioned by severe weather and extreme climate events is exacerbating multiple stresses such as food insecurity and spread of diseases in Africa. In 2012 alone, an estimated 37.3 million Africans were negatively affected by hydro meteorological hazards; a 43.3% increase in annual average over the last decade.
The African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) is, therefore, intensifying efforts to integrate weather and climate services in national and sub-regional development frameworks to save lives and improve the livelihoods of communities. A transformative approach is required to introduce innovative adaptation measures that build the resilience of communities to cope with adverse impacts of climate change. >> more
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia are assessing the economic cost and human toll of devastating floods caused by some of the heaviest rainfall on record. Meteorological and hydrological services in the region provided accurate and regular advance warnings of the risks from the deluge, thus helping to limit but not avert casualties. Without these warnings the loss of life could have been even higher.
Building on existing cooperation frameworks, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia plan to form a joint team for a detailed analysis of the disaster. The floods and landslides killed at least 46 people, forced thousands of people from their homes, caused millions of Euros in damage, left vast areas under water, threatened power plants and disrupted water and electricity supplies. The catastrophe rolled back socio-economic development by years.
Heavy rainfall which started in mid-April intensified 9 May. More than 100 mm of rainfall was recorded in parts of the region on 14 and 15 May because of a stationary low pressure system. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization opened its doors to more than 100 students from academies in France, Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic for an international conference “Notre Monde, My World” from 19-21 May.
The event was part of WMO’s drive to reach out to younger audiences in line with the theme of World Meteorological Day: Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.
“The future is yours, but realizing the ambitious targets to stabilize climate demands urgent and courageous action,” WMO Director of Cabinet and External Relations Christian Blondin told the students. “The youth of this world can be a powerful actor of change, bringing fresh insights into problems, suggesting solutions that are just and equitable. You can promote climate awareness, mitigation and adaption.” >> More
Storm surges kill more people than winds associated with tropical cyclones and than earthquake-triggered tsunamis and yet they are one of the most underestimated, misunderstood natural hazards.
Nearly all the casualties and the economic losses from both Hurricane Sandy (2013) and Typhoon Haiyan (2013) were due to water and waves rather than wind. These cases are far from unique – at least 2.6 million people have drowned in coastal flooding, particularly caused by storm surges, in the past 200 years. Rising sea levels as a result of climate change and growing urban populations in coastal cities are likely to worsen the challenges. >> More
“The Weather: What’s the Outlook,” is the theme of the World Weather Open Science Conference (WWOSC2014) which will bring together the entire weather science and user communities for the first time.
The conference, to be held in Montreal, Canada, 16 - 21 August 2014, will examine latest scientific advances and discuss how the benefits of this knowledge can best be used for the good of society. The World Meteorological Organization, international Council for Science, Environment Canada, and the National Research Council, Canada, are co-organizers.
There will be special sessions on high-impact weather such as heat-waves and droughts, cold spells, extreme rainfall and flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes which cause headlines on an all-too regular basis. >> More
Credit: Fernanda Baumhardt
The United Republic of Tanzania has held national consultations on how to roll out climate services to make the East African nation more resilient to climate variability and change. Immediate priorities include the provision of tailored weather and climate forecasts to help pastoralists cope with drought, disaster managers to prepare for flooding and the health sector anticipate outbreaks of malaria, cholera and other diseases.
A meeting in Dar es Salaam 7-9 May agreed on a series of measures to move forward with the Climate Service Adaptation Programme. It recommended the creation of a permanent platform to strengthen dialogue between weather and climate service providers and a wide range of stakeholders. This will ensure that the weather and climate services provided are relevant, accessible and understandable to users ranging from government ministers to local community leaders. >> More
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and UN Water-Programme on Capacity Development (DPC), in collaboration with the Viet Nam Academy for Water Resources (VAWR) and the Institute for Water Development and Partnership (IWDP) of Viet Nam organize a Regional Workshop on Capacity Development to Support National Drought Management Policies in Asia, in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, from 6 to 9 May, 2014.
Drought is a normal feature of the climate worldwide, including Asia and the Pacific. The region has lived with drought since ancestral times as recorded by history. Several sub-regions of Asia and Pacific have been and continue to be drought prone today, and this is normal. The region is also vulnerable to drought as demonstrated by the drastic impacts it causes, but this is NOT normal because there is evidence today that these impacts can be significantly reduced through the adoption and implementation of risk-based drought management policies. >> More
Meteorologists in the South-West Pacific are meeting to discuss how to strengthen weather and climate services in a region exposed to heatwaves, drought, tropical cyclones and flash floods, and is especially vulnerable to rising sea-levels caused by climate change.
Promotion of sustainable development, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is high on the agenda of the World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Association for the South West Pacific session in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2 to 8 May, 2014.
The Regional Association, which currently groups 23 Members, meets every four years to discuss challenges and priorities. WMO has six such Regional Associations.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told the opening session that many parts of the region had been hard hit by extreme weather in the past few months., most recently, flash floods and tropical cyclone Ian in the Solomon Islands and Tonga respectively. >> More
Recognizing the need to accelerate the recovery of the region’s large volume of invaluable historical climate records, governments meeting this week in Maputo, Mozambique have decided to establish the Indian Ocean Data Rescue (INDARE) initiative.
The International Workshop on the Recovery and Digitization of Climate Heritage in the Indian Ocean Rim Countries and Islands also adopted a declaration and agreed to finalize an INDARE implementation plan.
An improved understanding of climate variability and climate change in the Indian Ocean basin is hampered by the lack of climate data with the required quality and spatial and temporal coverage. This strongly limits the generation of improved weather and climate forecasts that help in the early detection of extreme weather and climate events. Climate data and climate and weather information are also essential for supporting adaptation to climate change and variability. >> More
Consensus outlook for 2014 Southwest Monsoon Rainfall over South Asia
The South Asian Climate Outlook Forum has issued its climate outlook for the summer monsoon season of 2014. There is strong consensus among the experts about the possibility of evolution of an El Niño event during the summer monsoon season. However, it is recognized that there is uncertainty in the intensity of the El Niño event. There is also consensus about the potential for adverse impacts of El Niño on the monsoon rainfall over the region. However, other regional and global factors also can affect the monsoon rainfall patterns over the region.
The Forum deliberated on various observed and emerging climatic features that are known to influence the performance of the monsoon, such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions over the equatorial Pacific, Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions over the Indian Ocean, winter and spring northern hemisphere (NH) snow cover and land surface temperature anomalies. >> More
Farmers with rain gauges at roving seminar in Nigeria
WMO’s Commission for Agricultural Meteorology has held its quadrennial session, which was dominated by the need to optimize weather and climate services to improve food security for the growing global population and meet the challenges of climate change and extreme events such as droughts and floods, which can wreak havoc with crops, livelihoods and commodity prices.
The Commission, which met 10-15 April in Antalya, Turkey, set its priorities for the next four years. These include the critical need for more human and financial resources and capacity-building, and for closer cooperation between meteorologists, farmers and the wider agricultural industry, said Commission President Byong-Lyol Lee, who was re-elected for a second term.
Global food security, which is linked to a wide array of agriculture and water supply systems as well as natural ecosystems, is under constant threat from weather and climate extremes and, in the 21st Century will face greater challenges from a changing climate,” said WMO Assistant Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova. >> More
Sub-surface water temperatures in the tropical Pacific have warmed to levels similar to the onset of an El Nino event, and climate models surveyed by WMO experts predict a steady warming of the tropical Pacific during the months ahead, according to the latest Update from the World Meteorological Organization. A majority of models indicate that an El Niño may develop around the middle of the year, but it is still too early to assess the strength of any such event.
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. It has a significant impact on climate in many parts of the world and has a warming influence on global temperatures. It is the opposite of the La Niña phenomenon, which is associated with cooling.
Since the second quarter of 2012, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators (e.g., tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally remained at neutral levels. This is expected to continue into the earlier part of the second quarter of 2014, according to the WMO Update.>> More
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report launched here today confirms that it is still possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change – but only if the international community takes urgent and ambitious actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“Last year, the IPCC stated that limiting the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions to a 2°C rise will require that our future emissions of carbon dioxide be dramatically lower than the total amount of all our past emissions. Today’s report on Mitigation of Climate Change presents what we need to do to meet this profound challenge,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, which, together with the UN Environment Programme, sponsors the IPCC. >> More
This image from NASA's MODIS satellite shows Manuel over western Mexico and Ingrid over eastern Mexico on Sept. 15, 2013. (Credit: NASA)
Both storms had deadly impacts on Mexico in 2013 - The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) hurricane committee announced today it will no longer use the name Ingrid for future tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic, and the name Manuel in the eastern North Pacific, because of the death and destruction both storms caused in Mexico in September 2013.
The WMO will replace Ingrid with “Imelda” and Manuel with “Mario” when the 2013 lists are reused in 2019.
In September 2013, Ingrid was a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall as a tropical storm in northeastern Mexico. Simultaneously, Manual developed over the eastern North Pacific and made landfall as a tropical storm on the southern coast of Mexico. It then reformed in the Gulf of California and made a second landfall in Mexico as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale hurricane. >> More
An international team of experts is visiting the Philippines to consolidate lessons learnt from Typhoon Haiyan (also called Yolanda in the Philippines) from hazard monitoring and early warning perspectives and make recommendations on the way forward.
The 7-11 April mission, with experts from WMO, the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the joint Typhoon Committee, comes at the request of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). >> More
A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) panel has concluded that Cherrapunji in India now holds the world record for two-day (48-hour) rainfall, with 2 493 millimeters (98.15 inches) recorded on 15–16 June 1995.
This rainfall total exceeds the previous world 48-hour rainfall record of 2 467mm (97.1”) associated with the passage of a tropical cyclone over the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion (France) in April 1958. La Réunion, which is frequently hit by tropic cyclones and receives large amounts of rainfall over its mountains, continues to hold the record for the most rainfall over periods of 12-hours and 24-hours (in 1966), as well as 72-hours and 96-hours (in 2007).
The WMO Commission of Climatology international panel of experts reached its decision following an in-depth investigation of the Cherrapunji rainfall event for it to be included in the WMO World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, the official international listing of weather and climate extremes. >> More
A regional consultation aimed at improving weather and climate services is being held in the Cook Islands as part of a concerted drive to boost sustainable socio economic development and disaster resilience in Small Island Developing States on the frontline of climate change and extreme events.
The meeting in Rarotongo from 31 March to 4 April is being sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and other key partners. It brings together experts from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), regional organizations, research institutions and decision-makers, as well as experts on agriculture and food security, water, health and disaster risk reduction.
The consultation aims to strengthen weather and climate services for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and ensure that the ongoing implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services meets their unique needs and extreme vulnerability. Small islands in the Pacific are regularly exposed to extreme weather and climate-related hazards including, in recent months, tropical cyclones, coastal inundation, tidal surges, flooding and drought. Climate change and rising sea levels has increased the impact of these events. More
Yokohama, 31 March 2014 – The IPCC’s Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, a comprehensive assessment report by leading scientists launched here today, offers policymakers and the general public a wealth of information about how climate change will affect the lives of current and future generations – and what governments can do to adapt and reduce vulnerabilities.
“Over the coming decades, climate change will have mostly negative impacts on cities and infrastructure, migration and security, ecosystems and species, crops and food security, public health, water supplies, and much more. We will see more ocean acidification and extreme droughts, floods and heatwaves. The poor and vulnerable will be most affected,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which, together with the UN Environment Programme, established the IPCC in 1988.
Members of the TIGGE-LAM coordination team
The World Weather Research Programme has launched a new tool to improve regional ensemble forecasts of high-impact weather and so strengthen early warning and disaster prevention.
A single web portal hosted by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) called TIGGE-LAM is now available. It currently groups five European ensemble systems in a standard data format, and five more will be added in the near future [see table]. >> More
the CIMH Course: Senior Level Meteorologist Technicians' Course - Forecaster andHydrological Diploma
Barbados, 26 March 2014 - Around 40 million people are set to benefit from a new Regional Climate Centre for the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), which will significantly improve the ability to understand and predict current and future climate-related issues and help one of the world’s most vulnerable regions adapt to climate change.
The Programme for Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean is funded by an investment of US$5.085 million over the next three years from USAID. Its launch is especially timely given that 2014 is the International Year of the Small Island Developing States. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization has signed a cooperation agreement with the Italian National Civil Protection Department. This opens the way for the Italian platform for natural risk management and prevention to be available as an open source to other countries.
The Head of the Civil Protection Department, Franco Gabrielli, and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud signed the accord, which formalizes existing collaboration in the area of natural risk reduction. Under the agreement, the Italian National Civil Protection Service engages to make its long-term experience in emergency situations available in support of the needs identified at the international level.
To be more specific, Dewetra – the Civil Protection Department’s integrated system for real time monitoring, prediction and prevention of natural risks, will be made available internationally. Dewetra is operational in the framework of the Italian National System of Functional Centres, and is a platform developed between the Civil Protection Department and CIMA Foundation – International Centre for Environmental Monitoring – to contribute to hydro-meteorological and wildfire risk forecasting and mitigation.
The five-year agreement culminates a process started in November 2012. It defines the conditions for the transfer, installation and configuration of Dewetra in countries requesting it through WMO. The software will be made available through an open source license agreement. Remote and onsite assistance is to be provided by the staff of the Civil Protection Department and national competence centres.
Italian expertise – in instrumental monitoring, observation and assessment of risk scenarios and their evolution – will thus be an asset shared with all WMO Members who appreciate its advantages and who choose to adapt it to their requirements, in collaboration with WMO.
Currently, several Caribbean countries, as well as Albania, Bolivia and Lebanon, are already using the Dewetra platform, while The Philippines, Ecuador and Guyana have recently sent requests for its implementation.
The year 2013 once again demonstrated the dramatic impact of droughts, heat waves, floods and tropical cyclones on people and property in all parts of the planet, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate. The report confirmed that 2013 tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest on record, continuing the long-term global warming trend. It provided a snapshot of regional and national temperatures and extreme events as well as details of ice cover, ocean warming, sea level rise and greenhouse gas concentrations – all inter-related and consistent indicators of our changing climate.Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, and each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one, culminating with 2001-2010 as the warmest decade on record. The average global land and ocean surface temperature in 2013 was 14.5°C (58.1°F) – 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C (0.05°F) higher than the 2001–2010 decadal average. Temperatures in many parts of the southern hemisphere were especially warm, with Australia having its hottest year on record and Argentina its second hottest. >> More
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency Tokyo Climate Center
The recently ended meteorological summer/winter (December, January, February) witnessed many extreme weather conditions. The World Meteorological Organization has put together a compilation of highlights, based on reports from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and WMO Regional Climate Centres. This round-up is meant to serve as an information guide and is in response to media enquiries. It is not fully comprehensive and does not replace the WMO’s authoritative reports on the Status of the Global Climate.
According to the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for December-February was the eighth highest on record for this period, at about 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F). >> More
The deep-rooted relationship between water and energy was
highlighted during celebrations in Tokyo marking the United Nations’ annual World Water Day.
The deep-rooted relationship between water and energy was
highlighted during celebrations in Tokyo marking the United Nations’ annual World Water Day.
The UN predicts that by 2030, the global population will need 35% more food, 40% more water and 50%
more energy. Already today 768 million people lack access to improved water sources, 2.5 billion people
have no improved sanitation and 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity. >> More
Friday, 21 March 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is a moment to celebrate the far-sightedness of the Convention and all of the investment in its implementation that so many thousands of people have made over the last two decades, according to its Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon praised the UNFCC as a “major catalyst in the growing developmental shift to clean technology, renewable energy, improved efficiency and adaptation.”
“At the same time, considerably greater ambition is needed to match the scale of the global challenge posed by climate change. Greenhouse gases are at their highest atmospheric concentration in 800,000 years. People everywhere – especially the poorest and most vulnerable – are experiencing the growing effects of unpredictable and increasingly extreme weather patterns,” he said
Ms Figueres said the anniversary highlighted “the distance we all have yet to travel to achieve the ultimate objective enshrined in the Convention, which is to preventdangerous human interference with the climate system and ensure sustainable development for everyone.”
To mark the anniversary, the secretariat has prepared an interesting, informative and fun timeline. Relive great moments in the history of the Convention in stories, photos, and video! Read more
Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth is the theme of World Meteorological Day 2014, seeking to increase awareness among young people about climate change and mobilize them as champions for action.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is also using the 23 March occasion as a rallying call for more young people – especially women – to become meteorologists: a profession which makes a vital contribution to the safety and well-being of society.
Today’s youth will benefit from thedramatic advances being made in our ability to understand and forecast the Earth’s weather and climate. Most will live into the second half of this century and experience the increasing impacts of climate change. >> More
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and UNITAR
The World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have agreed to boost cooperation as part of a wider international initiative to strengthen links between providers and users of climate services as well as the education and research community.
The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 7 March to strengthen collaboration on projects of mutual interest, in support of implementation and effective operation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).
A strong priority of the GFCS is to increase and improve interactions between climate service providers and those who make use of the services, in order to increase the uptake and effective use of climate information. This will require unprecedented collaboration because no single government or agency has the necessary resources to address all the challenges on its own. Consequently, the success of the GFCS depends on the ability of all relevant stakeholders including WMO to partner effectively to meet its objectives. >> More
Steve Noyes, EUMETNET Executive Director and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud
WMO and the Network of European Meteorological Organizations, EUMETNET, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their cooperation in areas such as observations, climate services, forecasting and training, early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, aviation meteorology and protection of radio frequencies need for meteorological purposes.
One of the immediate priorities will be joint work on the EUMETNET-AMDAR (Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay) Operational Service for high quality measurements of upper air meteorological variables from aircraft. There will also be closer cooperation to implement the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS).
EUMETNET has 31 Members in Europe and seeks to strengthen their individual and joint capabilities through enhanced networking, interoperability, optimization and integration. It coordinates the Meteoalarm warning system (www.meteoalarm.eu) providing relevant information needed to prepare for extreme weather in Europe.
On International Women’s Day, WMO is encouraging more women to become meteorologists and hydrologists, and shape knowledge and action on weather, climate and water to meet present and future challenges to build weather and climate resilient societies.
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made in the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming; to review the challenges, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by strong and talented women meteorologists and hydrologists who have played an extraordinary role in WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, universities and other institutions,” said WMO Assistant-Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova. “Regretfully there are still too few women on key positions in WMO’s constituencies. Women can and should play a greater role as both providers and users of cutting-edge meteorological science,” she said.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March is “Equality for Women is progress for all.” >> More
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal predictions for the forthcoming March-May rainy season, which is vital to agriculture and food security in a region vulnerable to both droughts and floods.
It predicted an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall over northern, western and southern Tanzania; Burundi; Rwanda; much of Uganda; western Kenya; western Ethiopia and much of South Sudan. Specifically, it said there was a 40% probability of near normal rainfall, a 35% probability of above normal rainfall and a 25% probability of below normal rainfall in these areas.
Increased likelihood of near normal (40%) to below normal (35%) rainfall is indicated over much of the northern, eastern and coastal areas, it said, noting a 20% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas. >> More
A pilot National Climate Outlook Forum is taking place in Mozambique as part of the WMO-spearheaded initiative to roll out user-friendly climate services and increase resilience to extreme events and climate change.
The meeting in Maputo from 3 to 6 March brings together providers of climate information together with the users: water managers, city councils, the energy sector, health authorities, research and academic institutes, farmers, fishermen, private sector sugar and banana companies, as well as international development agencies. There will be a special segment devoted to agrometeorology.
It is regarded as a test case for the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services. At the heart of the GFCS lies the principle that building interfaces between user agencies and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) will facilitate climate-smart decisions in critical sectors. Priority is being given to reducing impacts of climate-related disasters, improvement of food security and health outcomes, and efficient water resource management. One of the mechanisms for creating such climate information user interfaces are the National Climate Outlook Forums (NCOFs). >> More
WMO has revised and updated its popular booklet A Career in Meteorology as part of the activities marking this year’s World Meteorological Day “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
Since the first edition was published in 2006, weather and the related concerns of climate and hydrology have gained an increasingly high profile and are seen as fundamental to sustainable development. This new edition reflects the changes in our physical, socio-economic and professional environment. It highlights these challenges and reaches out to young people showing them how they could make a vital contribution to the safety and well being of their community and country.>> More
WMO welcomes the successful launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). ““The GPM Core Observatory, unified with a fleet of satellites, airborne and ground based observations, will form the very first integrated constellation mapping precipitation covering the Antarctic and Arctic Circles,” said Wenjian Zhang, Director of WMO Observing and Information Systems Department. “It will advance our understanding of the global water and energycycle, and improve our understanding the climate system. It represents a major scientific advance which will truly benefit humanity.” >> More
The Governing Board of the International Research Centre on El Niño Phenomenon (in Spanish Centro Internacional para la Investigación del Fenómeno de El Niño, or CIIFEN) has given its support to the growing contribution by the Ecuador-based centre to regional climate predictions and climate services in South America. The Governing Board of CIIFEN is composed by the Government of Ecuador, the national meteorological service of Spain- Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET)- and the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), being WMO and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific permanent observers of the Board. >> More
WMO is organizing an expert mission to the Philippines to assess the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, consider how to help in the rebuilding of meteorological infrastructure destroyed by the tropical cyclone and examine ways of strengthening disaster resilience in the future.
The mission, tentatively scheduled for April 2014, was endorsed by the recent session of Typhoon Committee – a joint body of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and WMO.
The Typhoon Committee meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 10-13 February, discussed the impact of Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). The typhoon, which struck the Philippines in November 2013 was one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record. More than 7,000 people were killed, mainly as a result of tsunami-like storm surges. >> More
The 46th Session of the WMO/ESCAP Typhoon Committee, hosted in Bangkok from 10-13 February 2014 by the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai Meteorological Department, has confirmed that the 2013 typhoon season saw a well-above average number of storms. The Western North Pacific Ocean basin experienced 31 named tropical storms, compared to the long-term average of 25.6 (1981-2010). Thirteen reached typhoon intensity, most notably Typhoon Haiyan, which last November devastated large portions of the Philippines and brought heavy damage to areas of China and Vietnam.
The Committee considered the WMO Emergency Response to Typhoon Haiyan and follow-up actions. It was invited to contribute to the development of these actions, including the WMO expert mission to the Philippines and Vietnam. It decided to send several experts from Typhoon Committee Members as part of the expert mission.
The meeting was attended by 72 participants from 10 of the Committee’s 14 members and from WMO and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); invited guests and observers also participated. Succeeding Mr Shun Chi-ming, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, as Committee Chair, Mr. Worapat Tiewthanom, Director-General of Thai Meteorological Department, presided over the session.
The Dr Roman L. Kintanar Award was awarded to the Shanghai Typhoon Institute in recognition of its dedicated efforts to mitigate the impacts and risks resulting from tropical cyclones. In particular, the Institute was recognized for publishing “Tropical Cyclone Research and Review” and an assessment of the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones in the Western North Pacific Ocean basin.
The mission of the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee is to reduce the loss of lives and to minimize social, economic and environmental impacts caused by typhoon-related disasters through integrated and enhanced regional collaboration. More information about the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee and associated activities can be found online at www.typhooncommittee.org.
For further information, please contact Mr Olavo Rasquinho, Secretary of the Typhoon Committee.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has become the 34th member of MeteoAlarm, which provides comprehensive and coherent weather warnings across Europe through the www.meteoalarm.eu site. The platform will offer an opportunity for improving weather alerts in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as contributing to the overview of severe weather events across Europe.
The move was facilitated by the IPA (Instrument for Preaccession Assistance) project “Building resilience to disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey”, funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement, which provided the necessary budget and collaborative mechanism. This project is being implemented jointly by WMO and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and is supported by European meteorological organizations, including EUMETNET and its European Multi-services Meteorological Awareness (EMMA) Programme. >> More
Parts of the world have witnessed a series of extreme weather conditions in the first six weeks of 2014, continuing a pattern that was set in December 2013.
Much of the United States of America has experienced cold waves and major winter storms, whilst California remains gripped by drought.The United Kingdom has seen its wettest December-January period on record, with severe, widespread and prolonged flooding. A combination of strong winds, storms and high tides caused damage and flooding in other coastal areas of Europe. There has been unusually heavy snowfall in the southern Alps.
Monthly mean temperatures were extremely high from eastern Mongolia to eastern China. In the Southern hemisphere, Australia, Argentina and Brazil experienced extended heatwaves.
Throughout this period, national meteorological and hydrological services provided forecasts and regularly-updated warnings. >> More
“Kick-off” meetings have taken place in the United Republic of Tanzania and Malawi to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa, which aims to build resilience in disaster risk management, food security, nutrition and health.
The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.
“Climate variability and climate change present great challenges to many countries in Africa, Tanzania inclusive,” said Tanzanian Minister for Transport Hon. Dr Harrison Mwakyembe in a statement at the opening session in Dar Es Salaam 5 February.
He said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected an increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather and climate events and reduction of rainfall in some parts and increase on others. “These will significantly impact all socio-economic sectors and livelihood of communities across the country,” said Dr Mwakyembe, citing recent flooding as an example. He said the government of Tanzania was working to improve early warning systems and build disaster-resilient communities. “Therefore, this initiative on climate services adaptation programme has come at the right time for Tanzania,” he said. The speech was presented by Director of Transport Infrastructure Eng Edwin Muhjwahuzi. >> More
“The Weather: What’s the Outlook,” is the theme of the World Weather Open Science Conference (WWOSC2014) which will bring together the entire weather science and user communities for the first time.
The conference, to be held in Montreal, Canada, 16 - 21 August 2014, will will examine the frontiers of knowledge, define new scientific goals and challenges, and explore improved ways of applying our understanding for the betterment of society. The World Meteorological Organization, international Council for Science, Environment Canada, and the National Research Council, Canada, are co-organizers.
“There has never been a more important time for weather science, which is poised for great breakthroughs. Society is extremely vulnerable to weather-related impacts and desperately need that science,” said International Organizing Committee co-chairs Alan Thorpe (European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting) and Michel Béland (former President of WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences).
There will be special sessions on high-impact weather such as the recent heatwaves, droughts, cold snaps and flooding events in different parts of the world.
The overarching theme is ‘Seamless Prediction of the Earth System: from minutes to months’. The Conference has two programs, joined through combined plenary and special sessions:
• The Science Program will cover basic weather research that extends our knowledge of processes and systems as well as the applied research needed to put prediction systems together – including most recently in polar regions - and assess the impacts of weather and climate events.
• The User, Application & Social Science Program will consider the challenges and opportunities associated with communicating and utilizing weather information, science, and services for social and economic benefit.
With more than 50 interactive paper, panel, and poster sessions, WWOSC2014 will provide valuable networking opportunities with scientific experts, young scientists, practitioners, and service-providers from more than 50 countries.
The deadline for submission of is 24 February. Applications for travel support, which will be offered to a limited number of qualified candidates must also be received by that date.
The XXII Olympic / XI Paralympic Games «Sochi-2014» will be held in Sochi, Russia, on February 8-23 and/ March 7-16, 2014, respectively. Roshydromet (the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring) is responsible for providing hydrological and meteorological support and services to ensure the safety of the guests and participants and the smooth running of the Games.
The city of Sochi is located at approximately 44°N, 40°E on the Black sea coast. Sochi Olympic venues are separated between two clusters: a coastal cluster for ice sport competitions and a mountain cluster for snow sport events. >> More
The tropical Pacific continues to be ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña). Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to continue into the second quarter of 2014. Current model outlooks further suggest an enhanced possibility of the development of a weak El Niño around the middle of 2014, with approximately equal chances for neutral or weak El Niño. However, models tend to have reduced skill when forecasting through the March-May period. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and assess the most likely state of the climate through the first half of 2014. >> More
The World Meteorological Organization is part of two multi-disciplinary consortia for research projects to increase coastal resilience: Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastal regions (PEARL), and Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISK-KIT).
The European Union launched the two research projects in the framework of the 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7), aiming to develop risk management strategies and tools for weather and water-related extreme events and increase the resilience of coastal communities.
Coastal floods are one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters – as was demonstrated by the deadly tsunami-like storm surge from Typhoon Haiyan in the Pilippines in November 2013. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and inadequate flood management policies has increased the risk. >> More
WMO has revamped its Youth Corner in a more dynamic and user-friendly format to reflect the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day: Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.
WMO For Youth describes the function of WMO in simple-to-understand language and explains key issues relating to weather, climate and water.
WMO For Youth provides answers to questions such as:
• What causes climate change?
• What makes water so valuable?
• How can we predict the weather?
It also contains sections For Fun and Your Stories. It is currently available only in English. There are plans to translate it into other languages during the course of 2014.
The site is easily accessible from computers, tablets and mobile phones, in recognition of the growing trend towards mobile devices. WMO for Youth is meant to be interactive. The Secretariat welcomes suggestions and input to enhance its dialogue with young people and to reach out to a new generation of potential meteorologists, hydrologists and climate scientists.
World Meteorological Day is 23 March. However, WMO plans year-long activities, especially through social media channels, to engage youth in theconversation on burning issues like climate change. “The youth of the world can do much to advance climate action. This is not just about CO2 emissions; it is about people, about the values we share and what we are ready to do to realize them,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a message to a student Model United Nations on climate change 8 January 2014.
“The impacts of climate change are being felt, and will continue to be so, more directly by the youth of developing countries, particularly where communities depend for their jobs and livelihoods on agriculture, forestry, fisheries. However, climate change can also generate new opportunities, like the opening of green jobs across sectors like energy supply, recycling and transportation,” said Mr. Jarraud. WMO will be organizing a second Students United Nations in May as part of the 2014 activities.
Visit the WMO Youth Corner.
The United States was gripped by a cold wave 7-8 January, whilst much of Europe has seen unusually mild weather, and Australia was gripped by a heatwave. The conditions were accurately predicted in advance (in some cases, by more than one week) by meteorological services. >> More
WMO participated in a Model UN conference: Engaging Youth on Climate Issues, organized by the Ferney Lycée International (France), the International Telecommunications Union and hosted by the United Nations in Geneva on 8 January.
Model UN is a global UN programme for senior high school students that gives young people the chance to organize and participate in a simulated UN conference. Students choose a theme, research the topic, elect senior conference officials from among their number, organize their 3-day work programme, and agree on key resolutions. The title of the event reflects the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day: “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
“This theme could not be more appropriate and timely,” said a statement from WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud delivered to 600 students from schools across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. >> More
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Plenary and the Geneva Ministerial Summit will take place 12-17 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. WMO, which is a member of GEO and hosts the GEO Secretariat, will participate in the event, which includes more than forums and panel discussions.
On 13 January, there will be open forums on mitigating disaster risks, observing greenhouse gases from space, and our planet’s “cold regions.” Topics on 14 January include food security, crop monitoring and a new approach to making markets more stable, a cholera early warning system. Forums also will focus on water strategies, biodiversity and ecosystems, and the links between air quality and health. On 15 January, the spotlight will be on citizen observatories and the recent, exciting accomplishments of China’s Earth observation technology.
On 16 January, the fast-accelerating and serious environmental and economic issue of ocean acidification (“osteoporosis of the sea,”) will be explored. There is urgency to addressing this “silent storm,” which is literally causing a sea change and affecting the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole.
GEO is bringing us an outstanding and unique opportunity to see a much fuller, more integrated picture of our planet With membership from 89 nations and the European Commission, and GEO has a mandate to provide a full, integrated picture of Earth. The GEO co-
chairs are China, the European Commission, the Republic of South Africa and the United States.