Press Release No. 910
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World Meteorological Day Celebrates Climate For You
GENEVA, 22 March 2011 – “Climate for You” is the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day (23 March) celebrating the contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to every aspect of our daily lives
“WMO activities in the area of climate are widely perceived today as key contributions to human safety and well-being and the realization of economic benefits for all nations,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“Reliable and timely climate information will increasingly be required by decision-makers and by all socio-economic sectors, particularly at the regional and local levels, in view of the grave risks associated with a rapidly changing climate,” said Mr Jarraud.
Climate change and extreme events
Over the past year, the Russian Federation experienced an exceptional heatwave, while different parts of Africa suffered severe droughts or flooding. Australia, several Latin American countries, China and Pakistan experienced very severe floods, some of which caused deadly landslides and/or mudslides. Although no individual extreme event can be attributed to climate change, the emerging trends are consistent with the findings of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which projects increased variability in temperature, precipitation, severe weather, widespread melting of ice and snow and rising sea levels.
2010 was the warmest year on record, at the same level as 1998 and 2005, since the relative differences between the three years were less significant than the uncertainty margin. This confirms the observed long-term warming trend highlighted by the IPCC, for all of the ten warmest years on record were experienced since 1998. Additionally, over the ten years elapsed since 2001, global temperatures averaged almost half a degree above the 1961-1990 mean, the highest ever recorded for any 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate observations.
While communities around the globe are striving to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, to increase their resilience in the face of recurrent natural disasters and to proactively respond to the challenges of climate variability and change, there is however an emerging window of opportunity from which to derive some key socio-economic benefits from climate as a resource, thanks in particular to some of the most recent advances in climate science.
At the end of 2010, a High-level Taskforce presented to WMO the report mandated by World Climate Conference-3 for the development of a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The report will be one of the key issues for consideration by WMO Members during the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress (Geneva, Switzerland, 16 May- 3 June 2011).
Around the clock, WMO facilitates provision and exchange of near-real-time standardized information from 189 National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and 35 Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres across the globe.
Data is collected by about 10 000 land stations, 3 000 aircraft, 1 000 upper-air stations, more than 1 000 ships, 16 operational meteorological and environmental satellites and about 50 research satellites. The WMO Integrated Global Observing System connects these observational networks using the WMO Information System for data exchange, management and processing.
As natural hazards pose serious threats to human security, WMO has worked on operational early warning systems and effective preparedness measures, which have contributed to drastically reduce loss of lives. Surface and groundwater monitoring and quality controls have enabled WMO to issue authoritative warnings of dwindling water supplies, especially in view of mounting population pressure and water pollution, while integrated water resources management proposed by WMO is showing the way to optimize the exploitation of limited freshwater resources.
Major contributions to society evolved from marked improvement in weather forecasting, which in 1950 allowed only for 24 to 36- hour predictions of comparable quality to what we have today for seven-day forecasts. This would not have been possible without the international coordinating role played by WMO in observations, research, analysis and modelling, which also led to the development of longer-range predictions, now extending several seasons ahead.
WMO was founded to facilitate international cooperation in the field of weather, climate, water and related sciences. World Meteorological Day commemorates the entry into force in 1950 of the WMO Convention creating an inter-governmental organization, as a successor to the non-governmental International Meteorological Organization (IMO) established in 1873. In 1951, WMO became a Specialized Agency of the United Nations.
Fellowship fund appeal
On the occasion of the World Meteorological Day, WMO is announcing a Web-based appeal to the wider WMO community for contributions to the WMO Fellowship Fund, Building Capacity, One Fellow at a Time. Contributions will support the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students from least developed countries, developing countries, and Small Island Developing States in the fields of meteorology, hydrology and climatology. See the WMO Fellowship Appeal Web pages
Notes to Editors:
Professor Martin Beniston, Director, Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE), University of Geneva, is guest speaker at the World Meteorological Day ceremony and will address the theme of climatic change in the light of current scientific knowledge. Dominic Waughray
Senior Director and Head of Environmental Initiatives, World Economic Forum, is special guest.
The Message by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, a booklet on the theme of “Climate for You” and the programme of the World Meteorological Day ceremony at WMO Headquarters are available online.
A new brochure entitled "Weather extremes in a changing climate: hindsight on foresight" is available on line.
The final WMO Statement on the status of the global climate in 2010 has now been issued (in the six official languages) and is available online.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s
authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water
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Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8315;
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WMO website: www.wmo.int