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Section 1  


Introduction to the RSMC specialization for the provision of atmospheric transport model products for environmental emergency response

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. 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 for environmental emergencies related to nuclear facility accidents and radiological emergencies, but does not exclude other applications such as related to airborne plumes of volcanic ash, or other emergency situations. Furthermore, atmospheric transport modelling support is provided by the RSMC only when a large scale accident, or release of material, occurs or is likely to occur, and which has resulted or may result in an international transboundary release of significant danger affecting, or originating from, the requesting country.

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 International Atomic Energy Agency (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.




bullet Emergency Notification and Assistance Technical Operations Manual, IAEA, 2007.
bullet Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, IAEA, 1986.
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, Appendices I.3 and II.7.


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





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