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Press releases - 2012

No. 966 - 2012: Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt, Multiple Extremes and High Temperatures

GENEVA/DOHA, 28 November 2012 (WMO) – The years 2001–2011 were all among the  warmest on record, and, according to the World Meteorological Organization, the first ten months indicate that 2012 will most likely be no exception despite the cooling influence of La Niña early in the year.

WMO’s provisional annual statement on the state of the global climate also highlighted the unprecedented melt of the Arctic sea ice and multiple weather and climate extremes which affected many parts of the world. It was released today to inform negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar.

January-October 2012 has been the ninth warmest such period since records began in 1850. The global land and ocean surface temperature for the period was about 0.45°C (0.81°F) above the corresponding 1961–1990 average of 14.2°C, according to the statement.

The year began with a weak-to-moderate strength La Niña, which had developed in October 2011. The presence of a La Niña during the start of a year tends to have a cooling influence on global temperatures, and this year was no different. After the end of the La Niña in April 2012, the global land and ocean temperatures rose increasingly above the long-term average with each consecutive month. The six-month average of May–October 2012 was among the four warmest such periods on record. >> Full text

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WMO's provisional annual statement:



No. 965 - Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Reach New Record - WMO Bulletin highlights pivotal role of carbon sinks

Geneva, 20 November (WMO) – The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 30% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases.

Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere as CO2, primarily from fossil fuel combustion, according to WMO’s 2011 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which had a special focus on the carbon cycle.  About half of this carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial biosphere.

“These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Future emissions will only compound the situation.” >> More

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Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: English Arabic Chinese Russian


No. 964 - Meteorological Satellites Make Growing Contribution to Socio-Economic Development

Lugano, Switzerland, 6 November 2012 - The Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) is celebrating 40 years of successful cooperation as it prepares to meet growing demands from a world which is increasingly vulnerable to the impact of weather and climate.

Created in 1972 by Europe, Japan, USA, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the CGMS has contributed to significantly improve, global planning, coordination and utilisation of meteorological satellites for weather forecasting and warning, as well as for scientific research, and more recently climate studies.

At its 40th anniversary meeting this week, the CGMS will harness past experience and expertise to devise a high-level priority plan to meet future challenges that will arise from the introduction of a new generation of meteorological satellites. >> More


No. 963 - World  Meteorological Congress Approves Climate Services Implementation Plan

Geneva, 5 November 2012 –As Hurricane Sandy highlighted the force of nature, governments from around the world agreed on a detailed road map to improve and expand climate services essential to cope with weather, climate and water-related hazards several of which are expected to increase in frequency and/or intensity.

A historic extraordinary session of the World Meteorological Congress 29-31 October approved the governance structure and implementation plan for the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a sweeping initiative to capitalize on scientific advances and roll out user-driven services such as seasonal climate outlooks and El Niño watches, flood prediction and drought monitoring tools.

“We have finished the last kilometer of preparation and now we are beginning the many kilometers of progress to improve the livelihood of citizens all over the world,” said World Meteorological Organization President David Grimes. >> Full text

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No. 962 - Ministerial Conference adopts Integrated African Strategy for Meteorology

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 23 October 2012 – An integrated African Strategy for Meteorology (Weather and Climate) to meet challenges such as climate change and extreme weather hazards has been adopted by an African ministerial-level conference in Zimbabwe.

The Second Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology 15 - 19 October 2012 also focused on how to improve weather and climate services for sustainable development, particularly for priority sectors such as agriculture, water, health, disaster risk reduction and transport.  

The ministerial conference, organised by the World Meteorological Organization, the African Union Commission and the Government of Zimbabwe, welcomed the general improvement in the capacity and capabilities of African meteorological services over the past decade. But it also noted that many National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in the region operate with poor infrastructure and limited capability.  Their meteorological services are generally poorly developed and in a number of countries basic climate services are only available from external sources. >> More

No. 961 - Strong climate services support climate change adaptation and sustainable development

Geneva, 25 October 2012 – Climate change is having a fundamental impact on every aspect of our lives. It affects the sustainability of rural development and urban planning, the security of water supplies, and the strength of disaster defences. It influences the variety and cultivation of crops, the viability of renewable energy projects, the resilience of transport infrastructure,, and public health and disease control campaigns, to name but a few of its impacts.

The World Meteorological Organization is therefore spearheading a UN-wide initiative to improve and increase access to climate information and operational services needed to cope with natural climate variations and with human-induced climate change, which is leading to more extreme weather conditions such as droughts, heat-waves and floods. >> More

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Joint WMO/WHO Press Release - Atlas of Health and Climate launches new collaboration between public health and meteorological communities

Geneva, 29 October 2012 (WHO/WMO) – As the world’s climate continues to change, hazards to human health are increasing. The Atlas of Health and Climate, published today jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), illustrates some of the most pressing current and emerging challenges.

Droughts, floods and cyclones affect the health of millions of people each year. Climate variability and extreme conditions such as floods can also trigger epidemics of diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, dengue and meningitis, which cause death and suffering for many millions more. The Atlas gives practical examples of how the use of weather and climate information can protect public health. >> Full text

No. 959 - Ministerial Conference Discusses Integrated African Strategy for Meteorology

Addis Ababa/Geneva/Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 12 October 2012 - The development of an integrated African strategy for meteorology to meet challenges such as climate change and extreme weather hazards will be top of the agenda at a ministerial conference in Zimbabwe, 15-19 October, 2012.

The Second Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology will also focus on how to improve weather and climate services for sustainable development, particularly for priority sectors such as agriculture, water, health, disaster risk reduction and transport.  

The meeting, to be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is organised by the World Meteorological Organization, the African Union Commission and the Government of Zimbabwe. It follows on from the inaugural 2010 First Ministerial Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, which adopted the Nairobi Declaration calling for the strengthening of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. >> Full text


No. 958 - WMO Update Indicates Likelihood of Weak El Niño

Geneva, 25 September 2012 (WMO) – A weak El Niño may develop in September and October and last until the northern hemisphere winter, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s new El Niño/La Niña Update. 

The El Niño phenomenon is due to large-scale interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere. It is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific, in contrast to the unusually cool ocean surface temperatures witnessed in the same region during La Niña events. Both El Niño and La Niña have a large influence on weather and climate around the globe. >> Full text

No. 957 - International Ozone Day: “Protecting our Atmosphere for Generations to Come.”
Antarctic Ozone Recovery will be gradual - hole currently 19 million km2

GENEVA, 14 September 2012 (WMO) - An international agreement to phase out chemicals which attack the Earth’s vital ozone shield celebrates its 25th anniversary as a showcase for successful global environmental cooperation, “protecting our atmosphere for generations to come.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which was signed 16 September 1987, has prevented the destruction of the ozone layer which protects Earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. >> Full text

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No. 956 - Ninety-year-old world temperature record in El Azizia (Libya) is invalid
Improved data strengthens climate knowledge

GENEVA, 13 September 2012 (WMO) - A World Meteorological Organization panel has concluded that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature. The announcement follows a danger-fraught investigation during the 2011 Libyan revolution.  Death Valley National Park in California, USA, now officially holds the title of the world’s hottest place – as symbolic for meteorologists as Mt. Everest is for geographers.

During 2010-2011, a WMO Commission of Climatology special international panel of experts conducted an in-depth investigation of the long-held world-record temperature extreme of 58ºC (136.4 ºF).  That temperature (often cited by numerous sources as the highest surface temperature for the planet) was recorded at El Azizia, approximately 40 kilometres south-southwest of Tripoli on 13 September 1922. The investigation was conducted with the support of the Libyan National Meteorological Centre for the WMO Commission of Climatology World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes (, the official WMO world meteorology-verified record of weather and climate extremes. >> Full text

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No. 954 - Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum Assesses Coming Rainfall Season

Zanzibar/Geneva, 3 September 2012 (ICPAC/WMO) - The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has concluded that, in the forthcoming September-December rainy season, most parts of the region are likely to receive near normal to above normal rainfall.

The Forum issued a consensus-based regional climate outlook following a review of the current and expected future state of the global climate system, large-scale climate anomalies and their implications for the 11 countries in the Greater Horn of Africa region. Meteorological experts as well as representatives from disaster risk management, water resources, agriculture and food security, health and development sectors were among the participants. The forum session held from 29 to 31 August 2012 in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, was convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) with the support of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other partners, and hosted by the Tanzanian Meteorological Agency.

September to December constitutes the second most important rainfall season, after the March-May rainfall season, over southern Somalia and other equatorial parts of the Greater Horn of Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and northern Tanzania).

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No. 953 - Building Resilience To Disasters In Western Balkans And Turkey

Geneva/Zagreb, Croatia, 30 August 2012 (UNISDR/WMO) – The United Nations, European Commission and national authorities have launched a new project in the Western Balkans and Turkey that will reduce disaster risks and increase resilience to climate change.

The Western Balkans and Turkey are prone to multiple hazards such as heat and cold waves, precipitation that causes floods as well as landslides, droughts and forest fires and earthquakes. Climate variability and climate change, new land-use patterns and increasing human settlements in vulnerable areas may compound such problems.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) are co-sponsoring the two-year multi-beneficiary project. EUR 2.2 million is being provided by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement, under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance Programme.  Beneficiaries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, and Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99).>> Full text

No. 954 - United Nations calls for stronger national drought policies

Geneva, 21 August 2012 (WMO/UNCCD) - The drought gripping the United States of America and the ripple effects on global food markets underline the vulnerability of our inter-connected world to a natural hazard that is expected to increase in future.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other UN agencies are stepping up efforts to develop more coordinated and proactive policies for managing drought risk to fill the existing vacuum in virtually every nation.

“Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and develop integrated risk-based national drought policies.” >> Full text

No. 949 - WMO Executive Council honours scientists

Geneva, 10 July 2012 (WMO) – The World Meteorological Organization’s Executive Council has awarded its most prestigious prize and honoured several distinguished scientists for outstanding contributions in the field of meteorology, climatology, hydrology and related sciences.

Dr Zaviša Janjić won the IMO Prize, the highest award, for his life-long contributions to the advancement of theory and practice of atmospheric modelling and numerical weather prediction. The scope of his scientific interest and expertise is very broad, ranging from all aspects of model dynamics to major aspects of model physics.

Dr Janjić (Serbia/U.S.A.) is currently a research meteorologist with the U.S. National Center for Environmental Prediction. >> Full text

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No. 948 - WMO Council Issues Guidance on Climate Services Road Map

Geneva, 5 July 2012 (WMO) - WMO’s Executive Council has issued guidance on a planned road map to increase the availability, accuracy and relevance of climate services to help society cope with natural fluctuations in our climate and human induced climate change.

The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was one of the main focuses of the WMO Executive Council’s annual meeting held from 25 June – 3 July 2012. Discussions helped in preparations for the first ever Extraordinary World Meteorological Congress at the end of October to decide on the governance and implementation of the GFCS.

The GFCS is currently being developed by WMO and a wide range of partners within and outside the United Nations System. It aims to fill the critical gaps in provision of science-based climate information, especially to the most vulnerable, and to tailor it to the needs of a wide range of users. The initial priority areas for action are agriculture and food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health. >> More

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No. 947 - WMO Executive Council reviews progress and priorities for weather, climate and water services

Geneva, 22 June 2012 (WMO) – The Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) holds its annual meeting from 25 June to 3 July to review progress in the provision of critical weather, climate and water services to meet the growing needs of society.

The Council will consider WMO priorities including the Global Framework for Climate Services, which is being developed by WMO and its partners. Other priorities are: enhanced disaster risk reduction; improved observation and information systems; more efficient meteorological services for the aviation sector; and capacity-strengthening of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in developing countries.

The 37-member Council is chaired by WMO President David Grimes. The WMO is the UN’s authoritative scientific voice on weather, climate and water. >> Full text

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No. 946 - WMO: slight chance of El Niño developing in second half of 2012

Continued neutral conditions also possible; Return to La Niña unlikely

GENEVA, 26 June 2012 (WMO) _ There is a slight chance that El Niño conditions may develop some time during July to September, according to a new El Niño/La Niña Update issued by the World Meteorological Organization. The potential strength of any such event is uncertain at this stage.

Neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) have prevailed since the 2011-12 La Niña ended in April 2012, and are likely to continue for at least the first half of the northern hemisphere summer (southern hemisphere winter). Beyond July, odds slightly favour El Niño over neutral conditions. The re-emergence of La Niña is considered very unlikely. >> Full text

Joint press release -Oceanographers and Meteorologists discuss climate change, maritime and coastal safety

Yeosu, Republic of Korea, 22 May 2012 (WMO) - The interrelationship between our changing climate and oceans which cover two thirds of the Earth’s surface will be on the agenda of an intergovernmental commission of meteorologists and oceanographers discussing improved cooperation in the face of challenges such as maritime and coastal safety and the need for more high-quality data from the ocean to support weather prediction and climate studies.

The Joint Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), meets in Yeosu, Republic of Korea, 23-31 May to consider progress and priorities in strengthening our understanding of oceans through collective action. >> Full text

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GENEVA, 16 May 2012 (WMO) – The 2011-2012 La Niña has ended. La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific transitioned to neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) conditions in early April 2012. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer (austral winter). For the second half of 2012 a return of La Niña is unlikely, while neutral or El Niño conditions are currently considered to have equal chances of occurring. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Basin conditions and outlooks to assess the most likely state of the climate during 2012.

The weak to moderate strength La Niña of 2011-2012 ended in early April 2012, as tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, sea level pressure and trade winds returned to neutral levels of ElNiño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with neither El Niño nor La Niña prevailing. The latest results from forecast models and expert opinion suggest that sea surface temperature anomalies will likely oscillate around neutral conditions into the northern summer (austral winter) of 2012. Beyond July 2012, however, some forecast uncertainty exists. Based largely on a recent build-up of heat in the deeper tropical Pacific Ocean, at least half of the dynamical climate models surveyed predict development of El Niño conditions during the July to September period. However, some dynamical models and more than half of the statistical models indicate neutral ENSO conditions will remain through 2012. Currently, practically none of the models suggests a return to La Niña conditions. Expert interpretation of these models and conditions suggests that while La Niña is unlikely to redevelop later this year, there is a greater than normal chance both for neutral conditions to continue and for the development of  El Niño during the second half of the year. >> Full text

Joint Press release - Mobile weather service improves safety of fishermen in Uganda

The Uganda Department of Meteorology, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), MTN, Ericsson, National Lake Rescue Institute and the Kalangala Fishing community have come together in a unique partnership, and combined mobile technology, weather forecasting and local know-how, to provide a localised weather alert service to fishing villages on Lake Victoria.

WMO and Ericsson in partnership with MTN, Uganda Department of Meteorology and the National Lake Rescue Institute have made possible the delivery of daily weather forecasts and well-timed warnings in local languages.  The service, still in its pilot phase, is being tested by over 1000 fishermen in the Kalangala District of Lake Victoria. . MTN, Grameen Foundation AppLab Uganda and Ericsson are in the preparation of the wider service offering together with the Uganda Department of Meteorology, which will then be available for the entire Lake Victoria community in the next three months. >> Full text

No. 943 - WMO annual statement confirms 2011 as 11th warmest on record

Climate change accelerated in 2001-2010, according to preliminary assessment

GENEVA, 23 March 2012 (WMO) – The World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Global Climate said that 2011 was the 11th warmest since records began in 1850. It confirmed preliminary findings that 2011 was the warmest year on record with a La Niña, which has a cooling influence.  Globally-averaged temperatures in 2011 were estimated to be 0.40° Centigrade above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14°C.

Precipitation extremes, many of them associated with one of the strongest La Niña events of the last 60 years, had major impacts on the world. Significant flooding occurred on all continents, whilst major droughts affected parts of east Africa and North America. Arctic sea ice extent fell to near record-low levels. Global tropical cyclone activity was below average, but the United States had one of its most destructive tornado seasons on record.

The annual statement for 2011 was released for World Meteorological Day 23 March.  In addition, WMO also announced preliminary findings of the soon to be released Decadal Global Climate Summary, showing that climate change accelerated in 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade ever recorded in all continents of the globe. >> Full text

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No. 942 - World Meteorological Day 23 March highlights role of weather, climate and water in sustainable development

GENEVA, 22 March 2012 – “Powering our Future with Weather, Climate and Water,” is the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day (23 March), an opportunity for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and the WMO community at large to promote their contribution to our daily lives.

The theme highlights the growing importance of weather, climate and water services for sustainable socio-economic development of present and future generations. “Knowledge about our weather, climate and water has made great strides in recent years and is fundamental to food security, disaster risk reduction, water management, energy supplies and health, to name but a few examples,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. >> Full text

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No. 941 - Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum assesses March-May 2012 rainy season

KIGALI/GENEVA, 1 March 2012 (ICPAC/WMO). The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has warned of the possibility of below normal rainfall during the main March-May rainy season in Somalia and other areas which were affected by drought in 2010 and 2011.

The regional consensus climate outlook for the March to May rainfall season indicates increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over much of the Greater Horn of Africa region. Specifically, it indicates a 45% probability of below normal rainfall over much of eastern and northern Kenya; southern, eastern and northeastern Ethiopia; Somalia and Djibouti, with a 35% probability of near normal rainfall and a 25% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas. It indicates an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall is indicated over southwestern Tanzania, southwestern Ethiopia, South Sudan and southwestern Sudan. The climate outlook was issued at the end of a meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), 27-29 February in Kigali, Rwanda. >> Full text


No. 940 - WMO Welcomes Outcome of World Radiocommunication Conference 2012

Geneva, 17 February 2012 (WMO) - Radio frequencies which are vital for weather forecasts, disaster warnings and climate monitoring will remain available to the meteorological community and protected from interference from other applications thanks to decisions taken by the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12). The World Meteorological Organization today welcomed the outcome of WRC-12 and said it would safeguard the use of radio frequency spectrum which are needed to observe and understand our Earth, atmosphere and oceans and to reduce the risk of weather, climate and water-related disasters. >> Full text

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Joint Press release UN-Water, WMO, UN-Habitat

UN-Water new office bearers take on duties as water moves to centre of sustainable development challenge

Zaragoza/Geneva/Nairobi, 8 February 2012 (UN-Water – WMO – UN-Habitat) - World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud and Mr Albert Diphoorn, UN-Habitat Urban Basic Services Branch Coordinator, take up positions as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of UN-Water for a customary two-year term. Both were elected by consensus during UN-Water’s 15th meeting in Stockholm in August 2011. Challenges including population growth, urbanization, food security and environmental degradation mean that the United Nations (UN) system – now more than ever before – needs to elevate the role of water on the international agenda and step up efforts to preserve and manage this precious natural resource which is so fundamental to life on our planet. >> Full text

No. 939 - New Weather and Climate Information System Becomes Operational

WMO Information System boosts data exchange for disaster risk reduction,  forecasting, predictions and service delivery for food security and health

Geneva, 31 January 2012 (WMO), A new international information system to improve and expand the current exchange of weather, climate and water data – and cut the costs involved - has become operational. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Information System will make it easier to find and use meteorological observations and products and to share them with a wide variety of stakeholders such as the research and disaster risk reduction communities. >> full text

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No. 938 - WMO highlights importance of radio frequencies for Earth observations
Weather, climate and water services depend on radio frequency bands

Geneva, 16 January 2012 (WMO), Weather forecasts, disaster warnings and climate monitoring are all critically dependent on radio frequency bands which are used around the clock by meteorological services. Increasing pressure on the use of radio spectrum from wireless technology and other applications could hamper Earth observations and efforts to understand and predict climate change. These are some key points of a submission by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to the World Radiocommunication Conference taking place in Geneva 23 January to 17 February 2012.  The conference is mandated to review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum. >> Full text

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