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Press releases - 2013

Joint Press release WB-WMO-GFDRR - Improved Weather and Climate Forecasting Saves Lives, Builds Climate Resilience

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 27, 2013 – Countries need to invest in well-equipped and fully staffed meteorological and hydrological agencies in order to better prepare for natural hazards, which could save an average of 23,000 lives a year and provide up to $30 billion a year in economic benefits, according to a new World Bank Group report.

“There is a lot we can – and must - do to reduce the impact of disasters,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development. “We know, for example, that every dollar we spend on early warning saves up to $35 in disaster response. As the intensity and frequency of extreme weather increase as a result of climate change, we have to shift our focus to prevention and preparedness.”

Weather and Climate Resilience: Effective Preparedness through National Meteorological and Hydrological Services urges countries to modernize their national meteorological and hydrological agencies, also known as NMHSs, so that they can strengthen their capacity to provide early warnings of extreme events such as tropical storms, floods and droughts. The report was jointly launched by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)—a World Bank-managed multi-partner initiative—and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). >> More

 

No. 982 - Norway contributes US$ 10 million to support climate services
for adaptation in Africa

Warsaw, 21 November 2013 – The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

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.

The challenges are huge. An estimated 70 nations, including many of the Least Developed Countries, have inadequate or no climate services and are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of both natural variations in the climate and human-induced climate change. >> More

 

No. 981 -Provisional Statement on Status of Climate in 2013: Continuing high temperatures globally and many climate extremes worldwide

Geneva, 13 November 2013 - The year 2013 is currently on course to be among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The first nine months, January to September, tied with 2003 as the seventh warmest such period on record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature of about 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 1961–1990 average.

WMO’s provisional annual statement on the Status of the Global Climate 2013 [PDF] provides a snapshot of regional and national temperatures. It also includes details on precipitation, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, ice cover and sea-level. The statement was released today to inform negotiators at the United Nations climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland. >> More

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No. 980 - The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years.

Geneva, 6 November 2013 - The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions, accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. >> More

 

Joint press release EC/WCRP/WMO/UNEP - On the frontiers of climate change science, researchers build on global scenarios to determine regional climate impacts, vulnerabilities and risks

Brussels, 31 October 2013 – Leading scientists from around the world are meeting in Brussels from 4 to 7 November to set the agenda for scientific research into regional climate change. This research is being conducted through the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX).                                                           

The conference is co-sponsored by the European Commission (EC), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

On Monday, 4 November, a high-level session and stakeholder dialogue will feature addresses by EC Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, and IPCC Working Group 1 Co-Chairs Thomas Stocker and Dahe Qin.

The conference follows the recent adoption by governments of the IPCC’s assessment of the most up-to-date, peer-reviewed literature on climate science. The IPCC’s report on “The Physical Science Basis” confirms that it is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that most of the global warming since 1950 has been due to human influence. However, scientists are less confident about the precise effects of climate change at the national and regional scales. >> More

 

Joint press release WMO/UNEP - IPCC confirms that human activity will further warm the Earth, with dramatic effects on weather, sea-levels and the Arctic

Stockholm, 27 September 2013 – A major international assessment of climate change adopted here by 110 governments provides conclusive new scientific evidence that human activities are causing unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988, the report confirms that it is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that most of the warming since 1950 has been due to human influence.

The IPCC’s previous assessment, released in 2007, described the evidence for human-caused global warming as “unequivocal,” with at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct.

The new report further states that greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in the oceans, ice caps, glaciers, the biosphere, and other components of the climate system. Some of these changes would very likely be unprecedented over decades to thousands of years. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. >> More

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No. 977 - The international community commits to serve growing expectations for climate services

Geneva (10 July 2013) An ambitious international drive to cushion the impact of climate variability and change through the provision of user-orientated climate services like seasonal outlooks, drought and flood advisories will be accelerated thanks to decisions taken at an intergovernmental meeting organized by the World Meteorological Organization.

At its first session 1 to 5 July 2013, the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services agreed on an operational road map for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users all over the world, with an initial focus on the agriculture, water, health and disaster management communities.

“The urgency in achieving early successes in this endeavour cannot be overstated,” said WMO President David Grimes.  “We have seen many recent examples of climate-related extreme events with enormous negative social and economic impacts and the tragic loss of life.“ >> Full text

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No. 976 - 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes

GENEVA 3 July 2013 - The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001-2010 decade, which was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850 and continued an extended period of pronounced global warming. More national temperature records were reported broken than in any previous decade, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, analysed global and regional temperatures and precipitation, as well as extreme events such as the heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America, Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa and floods in Pakistan.

The decade was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean surface temperatures. The record warmth was accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and accelerating loss of net mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from the world’s glaciers. As a result of this widespread melting and the thermal expansion of sea water, global mean sea levels rose about 3 millimetres (mm) per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20 cm higher than that of 1880, according to the report. >> Full text

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No. 975 - Global initiative to provide climate services for society gains momentum

Geneva, 28 June 2013 (WMO) - Extreme events are the face of changing climate 

Progress in rolling out operational climate services vital to help countries and communities cope with long-term climate change and associated extreme weather events is set to receive a boost at an intergovernmental meeting to consider a road map for future action.

The Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services holds its first session 2 to 5 July 2013 to discuss implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users such as disaster management authorities, water and energy utilities, public health agencies, the transport sector, farmers as well as the community at large.

The global push to deliver climate information and services is spearheaded by the World Meteorological Organization in partnership with many other international organizations such as United Nations agencies, the World Bank and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. Governments and their agencies are developing the GFCS at national level. >> More

 

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Update El Niño / La Niña

Geneva, 26 June 2013 (WMO) - Neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) continue in the tropical Pacific. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to be maintained through the boreal summer and autumn of 2013, though a slight chance of La Niña or ElNiño development remains. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and provide outlooks to assess the most likely state of the climate through the remainder of 2013.

During the last year, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific (e.g., tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally been at neutral levels, indicating that neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions have been present. In January and February 2013, sea surface temperatures approached a borderline LaNiña level, and although the atmospheric characteristics of La Niña also appeared briefly, the ocean-atmosphere system as a whole did not remain in a La Niña state for long enough to be considered a weak La Niña event. Since March 2013 the central tropical Pacific Ocean, cloudiness and trade winds have been at neutral levels. However, in the far eastern tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures cooled to well below average during May and early June.

The latest outlooks from climate models and expert opinion suggest that sea surface temperatures and atmospheric anomalies are most likely to remain neutral through the end of 2013. Less than a quarter of the models surveyed predict weak La Niña conditions to develop during the June to September period, while less than one fifth of the models predict El Niño development during 2013. Hence, while there is a slight possibility for La Niña or El Niño development during the coming few months, neutral ENSO conditions are considered most likely during boreal summer and through the remainder of 2013. >> Update

No. 974 - WMO Honours Scientists for Outstanding Contributions

Geneva, 4 June 2013 (WMO) - The World Meteorological Organization’s Executive Council has awarded its most prestigious prize to DrTillmann Mohr of Germany, and honoured several distinguished scientists for their outstanding work in meteorology, climatology, hydrology and related sciences.

Dr Mohr won the IMO Prize, the highest award, for his life-long contribution to meteorology, and especially his promotion of instrumental satellite meteorology for both research and operational work.

Dr Mohr’s involvement with satellite activities started in 1971 and continued for the rest of his career. He was President of the German Weather Service and Permanent Representative of Germany with WMO from 1992 until 1994. He was Director-General of EUMETSAT from 1994-2004.

During a long relationship with WMO dating back to 1970 he chaired a number of key committees. He has been serving as a special advisor to the WMO Secretary-General on space matters and until 2012 on the Global Framework for Climate Services. From 2005-2010 he was a member of the Joint Committee for International Polar Year. He is a member of the Space Advisory Group of the European Commission. >> More

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No. 973 - Climate Services, Observing Systems and Research in Focus at WMO Executive Council

GENEVA, 27 May 2013 (WMO) - The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO)  Executive Council has agreed on measures to expand and improve research and observing networks to increase understanding of our rapidly changing climate and strengthen delivery of meteorological services vital to society and the global economy.

At its annual session 15-23 May, the Executive Council also discussed enhanced disaster risk reduction and early warning systems to increase resilience and sustainable development.

The vulnerability of developing and developed countries alike to natural hazards was underlined in the space of a few days by Cyclone Mahasen in the Bay of Bengal and the deadly tornadoes which caused devastation in USA.

A top priority on the agenda was the Global Framework for Climate Services, a cross-cutting international initiative spearheaded by WMO to make user-friendly climate services available to those who need them most.  Several countries are rolling out climate services at national level and WMO is promoting the expansion of regional climate centres to address the regional impacts of climate variability and climate change. >> More

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No. 972 - WMO Annual Climate Statement Confirms 2012 as Among Top Ten Warmest Years               

GENEVA, 2 May 2013 (WMO) The World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the Status of the Global Climate says that 2012 joined the ten previous years as one of the warmest — at ninth place — on record despite the cooling influence of a La Niña episode early in the year.

The 2012 global land and ocean surface temperature during January–December 2012 is estimated to be 0.45°C (±0.11°C) above the 1961–1990 average of 14.0°C. This is the ninth warmest year since records began in 1850 and the 27th consecutive year that the global land and ocean temperatures were above the 1961–1990 average, according to the statement The years 2001–2012 were all among the top 13 warmest years on record.

“Although the rate of warming varies from year to year due to natural variability caused by the El Niño cycle, volcanic eruptions and other phenomena, the sustained warming of the lower atmosphere is a worrisome sign,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The continued upward trend in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and the consequent increased radiative forcing of the Earth’s atmosphere confirm that the warming will continue,” he said. >> More

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No. 971 - World Meteorological Day 23 March: Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property

WMO Celebrates 50 years of World Weather Watch

GENEVA 21 March 2013 (WMO) Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property is the theme of World Meteorological Day which also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the World Weather Watch: a symbol of global cooperation born at the height of the Cold War.

The title of this year’s event focuses attention on the crucial 24/7 role of meteorological and hydrological services in improving human safety and safeguarding society against hazards like floods, tropical cyclones and droughts.

“The growing impact of weather extremes cannot be ignored. Over the last 30 years natural disasters took the lives of over 2 million people and produced economic losses estimated at over 1.5 trillion US dollars,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Almost 90 percent of such disasters, more than 70 percent of the casualties and almost 80 percent of the economic losses were caused by weather-, climate- or water-related hazards.” >> More

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No. 970 - U.N. Lays Foundations for More Drought Resilient Societies

Meeting urges disaster risk reduction instead of crisis management

 

GENEVA (15 MARCH 2013) _ A top-level United Nations conference has, for the first time, laid the foundations for practical and proactive national drought policies to increase resilience to the world’s most destructive natural hazard, which is being aggravated by climate change.

The High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy marked the first globally-coordinated attempt to move towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction and break away from piecemeal and costly crisis-response, which often comes too late to avert death, displacement and destruction.

The meeting issued a declaration encouraging governments to develop and implement national drought management policies consistent with their development objectives. It also provided detailed scientific and policy guidance on how to achieve this.

“Prevention must be our priority,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in a message to delegates. “Nations need urgently to develop strategies for resilience — especially for the poor, who are always hit first and worst.” >> More

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No. 969 - Towards more drought-resilient societies

Geneva/Rome/Bonn, March 2013 - Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization; José Graziano da Silva, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN; and Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification

Droughts have scarred human history since ancient times. While lacking the drama of earthquakes or hurricanes, droughts cause more deaths and displace more people than any other kind of natural disaster. During the past several years alone, they have struck such diverse places as Australia, Brazil, Djibouti, southeastern Europe, Mexico, Russia, Somalia, Spain and the United States.

Climate variability and change threaten to bring even higher temperatures, greater evaporation and altered rainfall patterns in the years to come. While rainfall and water supplies vary everywhere in the world, the countries most vulnerable to serious drought are in the world’s drylands, which since 1950 have increased by almost 2 per cent per decade. >> Full text

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No. 968 - Update El Niño / La Niña

Geneva 11 March 2013 –Neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) continue in the tropical Pacific. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that the likelihood of El Niño or La Niña conditions developing during the first half of 2013 is low, and that neutral conditions are likely to be maintained through the boreal spring. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor Pacific Basin conditions and provide outlooks to assess the most likely state of the climate through the coming several months of 2013.

During the last 10 months El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific (e.g., tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally been at neutral levels, indicating neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions have been present. From July to October 2012, sea surface temperatures increased to a borderline El Niño level, but the atmospheric characteristics of El Niño failed to develop and the ocean-atmosphere system as a whole remained in a neutral state. Since November the tropical Pacific Ocean has cooled, and although the first two months of 2013 showed patterns of ocean temperatures that approached borderlineLa Niña levels, and cloudiness and trade winds that also leaned towards La Niña conditions, the tendency has been weak and the state of the ocean-atmosphere system as a whole continued to be neutral.

El Nino / La Nina Update

No. 967 - 2013: United Nations launches concerted push for effective drought policies

Need to focus on building resilience and reducing risks
Droughts cause the deaths and displacement of more people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined, making them the world’s most destructive natural hazard. Yet while droughts are expected to increase in frequency, area and intensity due to climate change, effective drought management policies are missing in most parts of the world. Three United Nations institutions have now joined forces to promote the development and adoption of practical and proactive policies at the national level to make drought-prone countries more resilient.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other partners will hold a High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy on 11-15 March 2013 in Geneva to focus on drought preparedness and management policies. >> More

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