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Section 1  


Introduction to the RSMC specialization for the provision of atmospheric transport model products for environmental emergency response and/or backtracking

1.1 The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has designated "Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres" (RSMC) with the specialization to provide atmospheric transport model products for environmental emergency response and/or backtracking. This capability is activated and products and services are provided within the scope and arrangements described below.

1.2 The scope of application for this specialization is the provision of modelling products and services by the RSMCs when requested by the Delegated Authority of a country or the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC). Requests can be for ''an actual, potential or perceived radiation incident or emergency, independent of whether it arises from an accident, natural disaster, negligence, a nuclear security event or any other cause'' (EPR-JPLAN 2013). The scope includes other applications such as airborne plumes of volcanic ash and smoke from significant fires.

1.3 The atmospheric transport models (ATM) used for the RSMC function are complex numerical models of the atmosphere which are capable of simulating long-range transport, diffusion, and deposition of airborne tracers or radioactivity in an operational response setting. Outputs from these models are made available within very short turn-around time following a request, for example within at most 3 hours following a request received by the RSMC.

1.4 The request (activation) and response arrangements, in relation to this RSMC specialization, consist of: (1) the identification of a requesting party, (2) the identification of a recipient of the Atmospheric Transport Model products, and (3) a basic set of RSMC actions which are established within the WMO in agreement with the IAEA or agreed arrangements for support for non-nuclear environmental emergency response (see Section 2.2).

1.4.1 For the purpose of ensuring the authenticity of a request to activate the RSMC, each Member State of the WMO names one Delegated Authority contact which is the WMO recognized authority of that State to make the request. When the request made by a Delegated Authority is received by the RSMC, the RSMC immediately activates its Atmospheric Transport Model response procedures. The Delegated Authority may or may not be part of the national meteorological service of the Member State. A request for RSMC support does not relieve the requesting State of notification requirements with any relevant international organizations.

1.4.2 The RSMC’s atmospheric transport model products are sent by the RSMC to the national Meteorological Service (NMS) of the WMO Member State. This is done to facilitate immediate and effective meteorological interpretation of the model output products by the requesting country’s meteorological experts for their domestic use. National agencies implicated in emergency response are encouraged to make the required arrangements to ensure the effective use of RSMC products that are channelled through its NMS.

1.4.3 The WMO Member State should provide and maintain an operational contact point within its NMS to the WMO for this purpose.

Figure 1: Simplified diagram of the sequence of events in response to a request from the   Delegated Authority of a country




bullet Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, IAEA, 1986
bullet EPR-IEComm (2012): Operations Manual for Incident and Emergency Communication, IAEA, 2012
  EPR-JPLAN (2013): Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organisations, IAEA, 2013
bullet EPR-Public Communications (2012):Communication with the Public in a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, IAEA, 2012
bullet Environment Canada and World Meteorological Organization: Proceedings, First International Workshop on Users’ Requirements for the Provision of Atmospheric Transport Model Products for Environmental Emergency Response, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 14-17 September 1993.
bullet WMO-No. 485 - Manual on the Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System, Volume I - Global Aspects Appendices I.3, I-6, II.7 and II-9.


Updated 5 May 2014





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