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Press Release No. 873

For use of the information media
Not an official record



Geneva, 3 February 2010 (WMO) – Three quarters of significant air traffic delays in regions with high traffic density are related to weather and nearly half of aircraft accidents occur during operations in adverse weather. Planning and operation of air transport based on global standards and accurate weather forecasts and warnings is vital for safety. Some 150 representatives from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, including aeronautical meteorologists and representatives from aviation organizations, will meet from 3 to 10 February 2010 in Hong Kong, China.

In opening this fourteenth – quadrennial - session of the WMO Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM), the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud, highlighted issues which would “have significant impacts on the provision of meteorological services to civil aviation during the 21st century“.

These include: the need for establishing standards of competency for meteorological personnel serving civil aviation. This is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirement for the implementation of a Quality Management System for services to aviation. In this regard, the Commission will review existing guidance of required qualifications and competencies and explore modern types of training and assessment such as distance-learning, web-based and computer-aided methods, and increased cooperation with recognized training institutions.

Today, weather forecasts for aerodrome are generally issued for a scale of approximately 8 kilometers around the airports. The experts will take forward the development project of New Terminal Weather Forecast for the larger terminal airspace extending this scale to 80-100 kilometers, aiming at enhancing the services for air traffic management, airline operation staff and pilots. This project will closely cooperate with regional air traffic management projects such as NextGen and SESAR, covering the scale of continents.

The meeting will also address the link between aviation and climate and consider improvements in severe weather warnings, especially in the light of the anticipated increase in extreme weather events.

Another challenge originates from outer space, in the form of cosmic and solar radiation, which can influence radio communications as well as the health of passengers and crews. A new form of cooperation between the satellite and aeronautical meteorology communities has been established, and together with the WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment system, the weather warning services supporting aviation will be further enhanced.


Media opportunity

Immediately following the opening of the ceremony on 3 February, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Expo Drive, Wanchai), the following personalities will be available to answer questions from the media:

  • Mr Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General
  • Mr Carr McLeod, President of the WMO Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology
  • Dr Lee Boon-ying, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory and Permanent Representative of Hong Kong, China with WMO 


Useful links:

WMO Fact sheet on aviation:

WMO Sand and Dust Storm warning system:

Members of the WMO Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology provide more information on the following web pages:


WMO is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on weather,
climate and water.

For more information, please contact:

At WMO Communications and Public Affairs Office:

Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8315, E-mail:

Ms Gaëlle Sévenier, Press Officer, Tel. +41 (0) 22 730 8417, Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 8027, E-mail:

At the Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong, China.

Wing Lui Edwin GINN, WMO IPA Focal Point, Tel: (852) 2926 8441; E-mail:




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