CBS-MG-II/Doc. 3(1)





Issues arising from Executive Council, Regional Associations and
Presidents of Technical Commissions sessions relevant to CBS

(Submitted by the Secretariat)

Summary and purpose of document

This document presents a brief summary of significant issues addressed to CBS from EC, Regional Associations and the PTC meeting.



The Management Group is invited to consider these issues during its deliberations of the work programme for the next two years.

Excerpts from the report of the Fifty-third Executive Council

3.1.7 The Council was pleased to note that the Commission had considered the concept of quality management and the related issue of ISO 9000 certification at its twelfth session. The Commission had appointed a Rapporteur to investigate whether and how the concept of quality management could be applied to the WWW System. The Council noted that the rapporteur's report should also consider the ISO 9000 process and point out the likely impacts and consequences of adopting ISO 9000 procedures within a NMHS, including feasibility, costs (in terms of staff and financial resources), benefits, and the implications for the WWW and WMO Programmes. Noting the importance of this issue, the Council requested CBS to carry out a study of ISO 9000, to advise on appropriate measures of quality as applied to the WWW, and to report its findings to the Council at its next session.

3.1.11 Regarding the possible impact the outcome of the redesign of the GOS may have on operations and funding of observing networks in developing countries, the Council noted proposals made by CBS which might ameliorate this impact. These proposals included joint arrangements by Members to operate observing stations, roving instrument maintenance teams and networking of weather Radars. Furthermore, data from the RBSNs could be supplemented if RSMCs with geographical specialisation could make available other data such as satellite imagery and derived products to NMHSs. It was also important to facilitate a wider availability of AMDAR data, to study the possibility of making data available from research satellites (e.g., QuikSCAT), and to develop further the telecommunication means that are necessary to enable NMCs to access the data. The Executive Council recognised that such improvement activities were not financially viable for many countries because of funding restraints. The Council supported the principle that some form of joint funding or cost-sharing mechanism could be a promising way to overcome the funding problems especially in developing countries, and recommended that CBS include consideration of joint funding, cost sharing and other innovative ways of funding in its deliberations.

3.1.18 With respect to radio-frequency matters, the Council noted with appreciation the favourable outcome of the World Radio Communication Conference 2000 as regards meteorology, Nonetheless, the Council stressed that the threat on the full range of radio frequency bands allocated to meteorological systems and environmental satellites would continue with the increasing development and expansion of new commercial radio communication systems. It urged Members to ensure that their respective national radio communication authorities are fully aware of the prime importance of radio-frequency allocations for meteorological operations and research, including safety of life and properties aspects, with particular attention to radio-frequency allocations to radio-sondes and meteorological satellites, weather radars and spaceborne passive remote sensing. The Council was pleased to note that CBS activities and WMO's participation in ITU-R had already resumed with a view to preparing WRC-2003. It requested CBS, with the support from the Secretariat, to pursue as a matter of high priority the coordination and protection of radio-frequency allocations, and to further assess the potential financial and operational implications on meteorological systems.

3.1.20 Regarding data representation, the Council noted that CBS had recognized that the self-description, flexibility and expandability of Table Driven Codes like BUFR and CREX would be the solution to the frequent demands of the rapidly evolving science and technology for representation of new data types and metadata. Table driven codes would also substantially contribute to improving data quantity and quality. The Council noted that CBS had considered a well co-ordinated phased approach that would comprise a progressive transition to the use of Table Driven Codes. The Council felt that such a transition to be successful would need to include support projects for training and decoding/encoding software distribution. The Council requested CBS to develop further this plan and to submit a report to its next session. The Council took note with appreciation of the proposal of several Members and of ECMWF to make available to all WMO Members encoder/decoder software for the WMO binary codes. The Council emphasized the need for training to prepare the NMHSs in time for the use of BUFR and CREX, as well as GRIB Edition 2. The Council welcomed the offer of the USA to help in providing and supporting training courses for this purpose.

3.1.22 CBS had noted that advances in technology in all Regions, particularly Internet and World Wide Web facilities, could have a significant impact on the World Weather Watch and NMHSs. Improved technology provides an opportunity for Members to increase collaboration, reduce duplication of efforts, improve cost effectiveness and to enlarge their forecasting and prediction capabilities. These advances can be best utilized through their imaginative application to NMHSs requirements. The Council was thus pleased to note that CBS had appointed a Rapporteur on Innovative Collaboration and looked forward to being kept apprised of the Commission’s progress in this area.

6.1.7 The Council noted that rapid advances in communications and computing technology and the pace of the growth of the Internet were having dramatic impacts on the way the public and other users can access meteorological information. It agreed that among key issues to be addressed in bridging the so-called ''digital divide'', and which are crucial to the progress and continued development of national public weather services programmes are:

  1. The demand for more accurate and timely, as well as visually attractive public weather services products, especially warnings, forecasts and information products;

  2. The definition of the internal NMS standards relating to communications, computing, and dissemination;

  3. The need to observe standards for the dissemination of public weather services products to the user community taking into account standards of operation in the fields of telecommunications, the mass media, the Internet and in direct computer to computer transfer;

  4. Standards for international exchange of public weather services products with emphasis on the exchange of warnings, and greater use of the Internet.

The Council encouraged Members to take steps towards standardization by using existing opportunities for example, with regard to lead time definitions and use of probabilities of warnings. It requested that in further developing the Programme, the PWS expert teams, in collaboration with other CBS experts, give due attention to the above points.

Presidents of Technical Commissions sessions

The outcome of the PTC meeting of 24-25 October 2001 will be added to this document as an addendum once the report of the meeting becomes available. This is expected to be sometime in mid November.