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Press Release No. 890

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WMO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL GUIDES WORK ON WEATHER AND CLIMATE SERVICES

GENEVA, 5 July 2010 (WMO) — The Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), during its sixty-second session held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8 to 18 June 2010, in a general context of financial crisis, adopted innovative approaches for further advancing global observing systems, research and forecasts in the fields of weather, climate and water. The Council underlined the need for developing the Global Framework for Climate Services as a required tool for building sustainable economies.

WMO President Alexander Bedritskiy pointed out that policy-makers increasingly recognize the key role WMO plays in addressing the most pressing global challenges on the international agenda. Strong support by Governments and the entire United Nations system, as well as other international and regional partnerships, is enabling WMO to take an end-to-end approach in linking weather, climate and water observations to research, and transferring knowledge from this research into operational forecasts and applications for the benefit of diverse end-users.

This session was the third of the fifteenth financial period (2008-2011) and the last before the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress to be held in Geneva from 16 May to 3 June 2011.

The Council made decisions on: (a) the next WMO Strategic Plan and the results-based strategic planning process of the Organization, including policy and strategic guidance to technical commissions; (b) the role of technical commissions and regional associations in developing a WMO-wide Operating Plan; (c) role and contribution of WMO and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in contributing to the solution of global and regional problems; and (d) WMO Reform.

The Council agreed on priority areas for the next financial period: the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), Capacity-Building, WMO Integrated Observations and Information Systems, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Aviation Meteorology.

The Council emphasized the enhanced WMO's role in the UN-coordinated response to climate change thanks to the success of the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), held 31 August - 4 September 2009 in Geneva. Based on the High-Level Taskforce recommendations, the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) endorsed at the WCC-3 will be a strategic dimension of WMO activities during the next financial period and beyond.

The Council reviewed the activities of WMO since its last session in June 2009 and addressed the challenges facing the Organization and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS). The outcomes of the session of the Councilprovide a broad framework for WMO’s areas of focus during the remainder of this financial period.

Building capacity for weather and climate monitoring

The Council emphasized that to improve scientific knowledge and operational responses, capacity-building and training were to be enhanced in most developing countries and in particular in the least developed among them.

The Council recognized that operational tropical cyclone forecasting, particularly intensity forecasting, was still a serious challenge to the tropical cyclone warning centres in all the basins.  To improve the forecasting of these situations, the Council recommended that Research and Development (R&D), and technology transfer to operational forecasting be pursued, as well as ensuring interactions between researchers and operational forecasters through international forums, such as the International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones and the International Workshop on Tropical Cyclone Landfall Processes.

The Council recognized that probabilistic forecast of ocean wave height provides early guidance of extreme events, and the combined use of deterministic and probabilistic wave forecast guidance would help the NMHSs in their risk assessment at an early stage in forecasting and improving marine-related decision-making processes.  The Council urged Members of advanced centres to provide these forecasts and technical expertise for building capacity in the implementation and use of such products in the marine forecasting process, and to encourage feedback.

The Council reinforced the importance of an integrated effort for developing and improving forecasting capabilities and service delivery in coastal risk reduction by making use of existing frameworks or projects, especially in coastal inundation-prone regions.

Integrating WMO and international observing systems

While stressing the importance of in situ observations, the Council acknowledged the increasing role of satellites and space-based observations in weather and climate monitoring. It noted that a collaborative effort by all members supporting Earth observation was needed to address increasing wealth of user requirements, in particular a global architecture, contingency planning, data sharing agreements and international collaboration.

In order to improve marine safety services through issuing of better forecasts and warnings of important wave variables in developing countries, the Council requested Members to assist in the development of coastal wave observing capabilities in those countries for use in satellite products and ocean models validation.

The Council urged its Members to sustain hydrological networks in support of all hydrological applications, including water resources assessment, climate applications, hazard mitigation and prevention and land use impact assessment.

The Council reviewed the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) Development Implementation Plan and Concept of Operations for submission to the next WMO Congress in 2011.

Enhancing capabilities of Member in multi-hazard early warnings and disaster prevention

The Council strongly endorsed the WMO disaster risk reduction systematic approach engaging a multi-stakeholder process to document and share good practices.

The Council also requested the Secretary-General to leverage partnerships with agencies such as UN-International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, working with national disaster risk management mechanisms to analyse national disaster risk management capacities and coordination mechanisms and identify opportunities for NMHSs partnerships.

Haiti: the benefits of international and regional cooperation

The Council applauded the effective international and regional cooperation in the re-establishment of the Haiti Meteorological Service by a coalition of WMO Members in time for the hurricane season (June-December). The restoration of basic operational meteorological services was essential for national authorities, humanitarian and development agencies, and for emergency contingency planning and recovery in Haiti.

Recognizing the importance of weather, climate and water applications and services

The Council recalled that the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano had a considerable impact on air traffic across Europe as well as with other parts of the world during April and May 2010, and emphasized that WIGOS should be designed and implemented in a way that can respond to emerging and high priority requirements such as the observation of volcanic ash. The Council stressed the importance of Members working with the regional associations, regional bodies and relevant technical commissions to develop enhanced volcanic ash observational networks and capabilities enabling dispersion models to be validated, calibrated and initialized and better informed decisions by aviation stakeholders. It endorsed the creation of a multi-disciplinary Inter-commission Scientific Advisory Group, comprising experts in volcanology, transport and dispersion modeling and aerosol observations.

Other decisions

The Council decided that the theme of World Meteorological Day 2012 will be: "Powering our future with weather, climate and water". The theme is to illustrate the benefits of climate predictions for the optimal management of resources in different sectors including renewable energy and water management.  

The Council welcomed the presentation of the MeteoWorld pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 by the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA) and the joint efforts by CMA and WMO to reach a very large audience in Shanghai and demonstrate benefits of the work of Meteorologists.

The Council conferred the prestigious International Meteorological Organization Prize to Professor Taroh Matsuno of Japan, an eminent research scientist in the field of atmospheric dynamics and a distinguished leader in climate research. The Council also conferred the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM international Award 2011 and the 2010 WMO Research Award for Young Scientists and the two Professor Dr Vilho Vaisälä Awards on instruments and methods of observation.

The Council is composed of 37 members. It includes the President and three Vice-Presidents of WMO and the Presidents of the six Regional Associations. The following new acting members joined the Executive Council in 2010: Mr Fallas Sojo from Costa Rica, Mr Adrian from Germany,  Mr De Simone from Italy, Mr Garcia Herrera from Spain and Mr Gordon from New Zealand.

The designation of Ms Elena Manaenkova, Director, Cabinet and External Relations, as Assistant Secretary-General was approved by the Council.

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

For more information, please contact at the WMO Communications and Public Affairs Office:

Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8315, Mobile: +41 794 064730; E-mail:  cpa@wmo.int

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