List of participants

v - viii

General summary of the work of the session

1 - 18

Annex 1

19 - 22


1.1 Opening remarks
1.2 Adoption of the agenda
1.3 Working arrangements



4.1 Global Observing System (GOS)
4.2 Global Telecommunication System (GTS)
4.3 Global Data-processing System (GDPS)
4.4 WWW Data Management
4.5 WWW Systems Support Activity








Mr Robert R. Brook

Bureau of Meteorology
P.O. Box 1289K
Tel: (613) 9669 4222
Fax: (613) 9669 4168

Mr Michael J. Hassett

Bureau of Meteorology
P.O. Box 1289K
Tel: (613) 9669 4224
Fax: (613) 9669 4673

Mr Arona Ngari

Director, Cook Islands Met Service
P.O. Box 127
Cook Islands
Tel: (682) 20603
Fax: (682)21603

Mr Rajendra Prasad

Fiji Meteorological Service
Private Mail Bag, NAP 0351
Tel: (679) 724 888
Fax: (679) 720 430

Mr Neville Koop

CWSUP Project Coordinator
C/O Fiji Meteorological Service
Private Mail Bag
Tel: (679) 724 888
Fax: (679) 720 430

Mr Claude Gaillard

Météo France
B.P. 151
Tel: (687) 279 300
Fax: (687) 273 981

Mr Jacki Pilon

B.P. 6005
98702 Faa’a Airport
French Polynesia
Tel: (689) 803 301
Fax: (689) 803 309

Mr Wong Kiat Kong

Malaysian Meteorological Service
Jalan Sultan
46667 PETALING JAYA, Selangor
Tel: (603) 756 9422
Fax: (603) 7550 964

Mr Kevin Alder

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd.
P.O. Box 722
New Zealand
Tel: (644) 470 0720
Fax: (644) 473 5231

Dr Neil Gordon

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd.
P.O. Box 722
New Zealand
Tel: (644) 470 0762
Fax. (644) 473 5231

Mr Tony Quayle

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd.
P.O. Box 722
New Zealand
Tel: (644) 470 0759
Fax. (644) 470 0772

Mr David Roberts

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd.
P.O. Box 722
New Zealand
Tel: (644) 470 0818
Fax. (644) 473 5231

Mr Rod Stainer

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd.
P.O. Box 722
New Zealand
Tel: (644) 470 0744
Fax. (644) 473 5231

Mr Kevin Luana

PNG National Weather Service
P.O. Box 1240
Papua New Guinea
Tel: (675) 252 788

Mr A.K. Titimaea

Meteorology Division
Ministry of Agriculture Forests, Fisheries and Meteorology
P.O. box 3020
APIA, Samoa
Tel: (685) 20855
Fax: (685) 20857

Mr Penehuro Lefale

Climatology/Meteorology Officer
South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP)
P.O. Box 240
APIA, Samoa
Tel: (685) 21929
Fax: (685) 20231

Ms Tan Hui Sian

Meteorological Service
P.O. Box 8
Singapore 918141
Tel: (65) 545.71.96
Fax: (65) 545.71.92

Mr Paea Havea

Ministry of Civil Aviation
P.O. Box 845
Queen Salote Road
Kingdom of Tonga
Tel: (676) 23401
Fax: (676) 24145

Mr Fred Branski

National Weather Service
W/0S02, Room 5322
1325 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: (1-301) 713 9864, ext, 146
Fax: (1-301) 713 1409

Mr Edward H. Young, Jr.

National Weather Service Pacific Region
737 Bishop St., Suite 2200
96813 Honolulu, Hawaii
Tel: (1-808) 532 6412
Fax: (1-808) 532 5569

Mr Henry K. Taiki

Vanuatu Meteorological Service
Private Mail Bag 054
Republic of Vanuatu
Tel: (678) 22331
Fax: (678) 22310

WMO Secretariat

World Meteorological Organization
41 Ave Giuseppe-motta
Case Postale No. 2300
1211 GENEVA 2

Mr David McGUIRK

Tel: (41) 22 730 8241
Fax: (41) 22 733 0242


Tel: (41) 22 730 8369
Fax: (41) 22 733 0242



1.1 Opening remarks

1.1.1 The second session of the RA-V Working Group on the Planning and Implementation of the World Weather Watch, hosted by the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, Ltd. (MetService), opened at 1000 on Monday, 9 February 1998 at the Royal Society of New Zealand, in Wellington, New Zealand. Dr R. Brook (Australia) chaired the meeting. Mr S. Milne, New Zealand Secretary for Transport, welcomed the participants and noted the importance of meteorological information to the transport industry. He discussed the reorganization of the meteorological responsibilities within New Zealand and expressed satisfaction with the results to date. He said the commercial orientation had resulted in more focus on customer requirements and better products. Mr J. Lumsden, Permanent Representative of New Zealand with WMO, welcomed the participants to New Zealand and wished all a pleasant stay. Mr D. Schiessl welcomed the participants on behalf of the Secretary General of WMO.

1.1.2 In his opening remarks, Dr Brook thanked MetService for hosting the session and providing such excellent facilities. He briefly reviewed the work the session was expected to fulfil and expressed his confidence on a successful outcome.

1.2 Adoption of the agenda

1.2.1 The agenda as reproduced at the beginning of this report was adopted by the session.


2.1 The Chairman presented his report which reviewed the relevant decisions and priorities set by the eleventh session of the Regional Association and CBS-XI. He noted that, following urging of the Secretary General in various fora, the Chairmen of the Working Groups from each Regional Association attended the Eleventh Session of the Commission for Basic Systems held in Cairo, 28 October to 7 November 1996. Attendance at this meeting not only exposed the Chairmen to the issues that are occupying the Commission, but also allowed them to discuss amongst themselves the activities and approaches of the individual Regional Working Groups. He noted that he passed a report on his attendance to the President of the Association and copied members of the working group.

2.2 The Chairman noted there have been certain developments since the last session of the Association which were not included in the terms of reference, but which have subsequently been suggested. These include the development of the Public Weather Services Programme, the arrangements for meteorological support to emergencies arising from the widespread fires and resulting air pollution which has seriously affected several countries in the region, and the rapid development of a number of programs in the Region to improve services.

2.3 He discussed the status of implementation of the various WWW components in the region. These issues are covered in more detail in section 4 of this report.

2.4 Finally the Chairman acknowledged the contributions of the members of the working group, and especially that of the rapporteurs and the convener of the GTS sub group, to the activities of the working group. He also thanked the Secretariat for its assistance over the years and, in particular, expressed appreciation for the work of Hamish McCombie. He stated that Hamish’s friendship, wise advice and assistance over many years had helped support the work of the working group and he wished him well in his retirement.


3.1 The meeting reviewed the status of WWW implementation in the Region based on information received from RA-V Members and the results of the annual global monitoring.

3.2 The group noted the RBSN for Region V comprises 411 stations and expressed its appreciation for the 84% level of implementation achieved. Of the 394 operational surface stations in the RBSN, 127 are automatic stations. As regards upper-air stations, there are now 130 in the RBSN. The group was pleased that the overall level of implementation of observations at 0000 and 1200 UTC, which was 72% in 1994, has risen slightly to 74% by the end of 1997. However, it was also noted there are still 10 RBSN radiosonde stations making no observations at all. The group was concerned that cost pressures mean it will be difficult to maintain this level of implementation in the Region.

3.3 It was further noted that not all stations designated as part of the GCOS upper air network are fully operational. The group urged the parent organizations of GCOS to investigate possible funding sources for these stations.

3.4 The closure of the OMEGA radio-navigation system has had a significant impact on the upper air network in RA V, affecting 19 stations. However, most of these stations have installed alternative systems, mainly using GPS sondes. Because of the increased cost, some stations have been obliged to reduce the number of observations from two to one per day. The secretariat noted the cost of GPS sondes had not come down as expected and reported that some Members have said they will try to provide assistance to support these increased costs.

3.5 The group was pleased to hear the voluntary observing ships recruited by Members of RA V has increased from 339 to 393 and the average number of SHIP reports received daily at WMC Melbourne has almost doubled in the past decade to almost 570. Nonetheless, some participants noted they have seen a decrease rather than an increase in these reports at their centre and it was agreed all Members should encourage ships to participate. It was noted the Tropical cyclone warning upgrade project is considering the possibility of placing automatic weather stations on volunteer ships. It was also noted that many ship reports are now collected at global centres and distributed in large bulletins making it necessary for local centres to extract the reports for their area.

3.6 The group was disappointed that for CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP reporting stations, the October 1997 monitoring showed that only 34% of the CLIMAT station reports were received. It urged Members to submit their reports in a timely manner. The situation concerning CLIMAT TEMP reports is better with 81 of the 87 operating stations submitting reports.

3.7 It was noted the space-based sub-system of the Global Observing System has continued to provided valuable data, products and services to WMO Members in RA-V with both geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) developed and operates the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS) Series. Currently, GMS-4 and GMS-5 are operational. Both provide earth images and associated products while GMS-5 is equipped with the Data Collection System (DCS) to collect meteorological observations from remote stations, ships and aircraft. As of 1 July 1997, 155 stations were registered as regional data collection platforms and 281 stations were registered as international data collection platforms, respectively. GOES-9 continues as an operational USA geostationary satellite located at 135 degrees west providing imagery, soundings, and DCP collection over the Pacific. The meteorological satellite programme of China includes a geostationary meteorological satellite series, called FY-2. The main objective of this programme is to establish a comprehensive operational meteorological satellite system by the end of this century. The first of the FY-2 satellites was launched in 10 June 1997 becoming operational on 1 January 1998. Polar orbiting satellites also play a key role in the GOS. NOAA-12 and NOAA-14 and the METEOR-2 and METEOR-3 are currently operational.

3.8 The Secretariat reported 9 Members in the Region (45%) were equipped with polar-orbiting receivers (APT and HRPT) and 13 Members (65%) were equipped with geostationary (WEFAX and HR) receivers. Based a goal of 100% of Members having this equipment, RA-V Members have achieved an overall implementation of 45%. However, participants noted these systems are rapidly being installed in the Region and this level of implementation is now probably higher than the figure given.

3.9 The status of the implementation of the other components of the WWW in the Region was discussed under the relevant rapporteur reports given below.


4.1 Global Observing System (GOS)

4.1.1 The meeting considered the report of the Rapporteur on the regional aspects of the GOS which included a brief discussion of the results of the Seventh session of the CBS Working Group on Observations held in Geneva in October 1997. It expressed its appreciation to the Rapporteur , Mr Mike Pointer, and wished him a speedy recovery from his present illness.

Weather Radar

4.1.2 The experts discussed the report of the expert on meteorological radar and noted substantial progress has been made by a number of Members in the development of their weather radar facilities over the last five years. In 1992 it was estimated that 75 radars were in place in the Region and an additional ten system had been installed since then.

4.1.3 They noted the RAPIC system has been adopted by seven and a further three have indicated their intention of using it when their plans for new radars are realized. The installed base of RAPIC-equipped radars within the Region is currently 60, with a further 15 to 20 anticipated over the next two years. Fiji and Australia are able to view each other's RAPIC data, primarily for cyclone monitoring, and New Caledonia will have the technical capacity to do so early in 1998. New Zealand also operates one RAPIC system which supplements its primary Doppler radar network, and New Zealand is able to view the Fiji radar for cyclone monitoring.

4.1.4 The group noted Australia has had a RAPIC Web server in operation for over two years and its experience suggests that the use of standard Internet Web browsers will inevitably become one of the preferred methods for accessing radar images by forecasters, external clients and the public at large. A prototype RAPIC fax service is also showing promise for simple access by external users.

4.1.5 The USA has completed installation of four Doppler radars in the Hawaiian Islands.

4.1.6 In contrast to the significant developments in weather radar which have taken place in those States with sizable populations or economic capacity, little progress has been made in addressing the provision of radars for a number of the smaller Pacific States. While several have made known their strong desire to have radar facilities, the high capital cost of new installations and in some cases, the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance, effectively deter such Members from making their own arrangements and it is clear that some form of external assistance is required if worthwhile progress is to be made. A major hurdle in some instances appears to be the formulation of an initial proposal which can be considered by the local government in determining national priorities, leading then to a formal request by the government for external assistance.

Marine Observations

4.1.7 Although the nations of the Region maintain effective land-based observing networks, there are large areas of ocean with few observations, and more attention needs to be given to obtaining observations from these areas. For example, there are many offshore oil rigs in the Southeast Asia area and, possibly for commercial reasons, few of these contribute to the global network. Similarly, many of the ships trading in the Asia-Pacific region do not make observations - partly because of reduced crewing of vessels and partly because some of the smaller NMSs in the Region do not have the resources to support Voluntary Observing Fleet programmes. The group recommended high priority be given to strengthening the existing programme of observing ships by developing a coordinated marine reporting programme for the Region.

4.1.8 The group expressed its thanks to Australia, New Zealand, France, and the USA for their operation of drifting buoys in the Region but noted efforts should be made to develop a strategy for funding a comprehensive drifting buoy programme in the tropical Pacific.

Upper Air

4.1.9 The high cost of GPS radiosondes has resulted in a reduced upper air programme. Due to budget limitations a significant number of NMSs have been forced to reduce the number of soundings they make (typically from two a day, to one) and others have ceased making WIND soundings altogether and are using only PTU radiosondes.

4.1.10 The group agreed a monopoly-like situation has developed in the radiosonde market and therefore prices appear unnecessarily high. Predicted reductions in the price of GPS sondes with increased volumes have not materialised. However, it is recognised that suppliers did respond quickly and effectively to the requirement to introduce the GPS wind finding system in time to replace Omega.

4.1.11 The group recommended that strategies be developed to help reduce the cost of upper air soundings, and the cost of radiosondes in particular. Possible scenarios include coordinated "bulk purchasing" arrangements with larger nations purchasing on behalf of smaller states, a unified negotiation approach to suppliers, and supporting the development efforts of alternative suppliers.

4.1.12 The group was pleased that Australia has been providing automated aircraft reports using the ACARS system for many years, New Zealand is actively pursuing the acquisition of reports from aircraft operating to and from New Zealand, and Indonesia is exploring the possibility of obtaining Aircraft Meteorological Data Rely (AMDAR) data from three aircraft. Reports from ASDAR equipped aircraft are regularly being retrieved by Japan from aircraft flying into Australia and across the North Pacific. It is expected that the agreement of Aerolineas Argentinas to carry a unit on one aircraft will generate reports across the South Pacific on the route between Buenos Aires and Auckland. The working group noted that ACARS and ASDAR can provide valuable data and encouraged all Members to make an effort to equip as many aircraft as possible with these systems.

4.1.13 It is further recommended that priority be given to increasing the amount of AMDAR data retrieved for commercial airliners, particularly ascent and descent profiles in areas where upper wind programmes have had to be reduced.

4.1.14 The group noted the establishment of the Panel on AMDAR.

4.1.15 It was noted wind-profilers have continued to be developed in Australia, Europe and North America. There are now well developed networks in North America and Western Europe and a small number have been installed in the tropical Pacific. Singapore reported they have recently acquired a boundary level profiler. The group noted that low power systems are much less costly than high power systems and that these can provide data up to a few kilometres in the tropics. Members were encouraged to consider acquisition and operation of these low power systems when investigating use of profilers.

Non-NMS observing systems

4.1.16 The value of data from non-NMS systems is recognised, particularly during severe weather events, but in some cases the exposure of the stations, the sensor calibrations and other aspects of their operation, may not meet WMO standards. For these reasons the group recommended non-NMS stations be treated as supplemental to the RBSN and NMS networks, rather than as potential substitutes. To ensure that the best possible data is available for both forecasting and climatology, NMSs must maintain their commitment to the stations that comprise the RBSN.

4.1.17 The group recommended the Rapporteur investigate all meteorological data acquisition systems in the region operated by an agency other the national meteorological service of the country concerned (including the Tide Gauge AWS operated by Flinders University). The Rapporteur should:

  1. List all known non-NMS observing systems in the data sparse areas of the Region (including upper air systems, such as those operated under the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement project in the western tropical Pacific)
  2. For each installation, comment on the exposure of the station, its data processing (e.g. wind averaging period) and data dissemination
  3. Make recommendations on how these observations might be used to augment the RBSN observations, and
  4. Propose ways of identifying these non-NMS stations in a manner that will distinguish them from NMS stations.

Other Technologies

4.1.18 The working group noted that instruments to measure ocean swells, perhaps on moored buoys, would be very useful for providing short term forecasts of damaging swells, particularly for small Pacific island countries, and suggested this issue be reviewed further by the rapporteur.

4.1.19 The group briefly discussed lightning detection networks and other new technologies. However, it was felt that, although extremely valuable, these are presently mostly national, rather than regional or global, network tools.

4.1.20 The group also noted that as a significant amount of new AWS were being installed in the region, development of more detailed specifications for this equipment, such as common shield sizes, etc., would be beneficial.

4.2 Global Telecommunication System (GTS)

4.2.1 The session considered the report of the Coordinator of the Sub-group on regional aspects of the GTS which covered the status of implementation of the RMTN, presented proposals for improving the GTS in RA-V, and discussed the possible impact of new technology.

4.2.3 The status of, and plans for, the development of the RMTN are given in Annex 1 and illustrated in Figure 1 of the annex. The group agreed previous planned direct links Melbourne-Port Vila and Melbourne-Honiara be deleted from the plan and be replaced by satellite-based systems as detailed below and reflected in Annex 1.

Recent Developments

4.2.3 The group noted a number of developments have taken place which have influenced the development of the RMTN in RA V or will do so in the near future.

  1. Adoption of TCP/IP by WMO
    The WMO has now adopted the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) as the preferred communications standard for the GTS. All centres in the region should base future plans for development of RMTN links on TCP/IP and should ensure that plans and specifications for new message switching systems include the ability to use TCP/IP applications.
  2. New RSMC, Nadi TCC
    The major upgrade being implemented to the RSMC Nadi TCC under a Japanese grant aid project imposes requirements on the RMTN to support adequate data inflow to Nadi and provide efficient dissemination for forecast and warning products to Pacific countries.
  3. International Communications Satellite System (ISCS)
    The satellite based data broadcast system implemented by the USA in 1995 to support ICAO and WMO requirements for the distribution of WAFS and WWW data covers the Pacific with a one way broadcast at 38.4 kbps. There is scope for the ISCS to carry WWW data and products applicable to the Region.
  4. Technology developments with telecommunications circuits
    In some parts of the region telegraph and analog data circuits based on V.29 modems are no longer supported. This will necessitate a number of changes to the RMTN which the group considered.

RMTN Communication Circuits

Apia - Pago Pago Communication Circuit

4.2.4 Samoa Post and Telecommunications, the Meteorology Division of Ministry of Agriculture Forests, Fisheries and Meteorology (MAFFM) and the Pacific Region Office of the US National Weather Service are exploring the possibility of installing a digital point-to-point circuit between the Meteorology Division of MAFFM and the NWS office at Pago Pago. If established, this link will be the primary communications circuit for Apia to access the GTS via the USA. The concept is technically possible, but further work needs to be done to scope the equipment needed. The EU project has budgeted this financial year for the project, with some costs already worked out.

 4.2.5 The main benefits from the project are a major improvement for Samoa in access to data by replacing a telex circuit with a high speed data circuit; saving costs by not using telex circuits, and removing reliance on AFTN circuits. The risks are that discussions at this stage are informal and mechanisms for allocating ongoing costs need to be resolved.

 4.2.6 The group proposed this circuit be given a high priority for implementation. The group further noted that if this project is completed RTH Washington would become the responsible RTH for Samoa.

Melbourne - Port Moresby Circuit

4.2.7 A new circuit has recently been installed with the terminal equipment in Port Moresby being funded by the EU project. The ongoing costs of maintaining the circuit are being shared between Melbourne and Port Moresby. The Internet is being considered as a possible alternative for a dedicated GTS link if it proves to be reliable enough and is a cost-effective replacement.

Melbourne - Port Vila Circuit

4.2.8 The Port Vila link to Melbourne is a 9600 bps leased SITA circuit using AFTN message format. An EMWIN installation is already planned, as is an ISCS ground station for the reception of ICAO WAFS broadcasts as a supplement to the SITA circuit. The scope of the EMWIN is to carry WWW data and products. Therefore, the group proposed that the circuit shown in the current RMTN plan be deleted.

Melbourne - Honiara Circuit

4.2.9 The current link uses the DarmaNet service operated by Telstra. It is considered that the circuit is technically inferior to other solutions now available.

4.2.10 The group proposed that EMWIN be installed for inward reception of data and graphics, a DCP be installed for transmission of surface and upper air observations, and the circuit shown in the current RMTN plan be deleted.

Washington - Nadi (possible new circuit)

4.2.11 USA has indicated that it may be possible to implement a 9600 bps GTS circuit within the 56 Kbps NADIN 2 link with Nadi.


4.2.12 The group listened with interest to a presentation on the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN). This is rapidly evolving into a fully operational service that has the potential to reach all Members of the Region. The system is transitioning from a 1200 bps data stream to a new 9600 bps data stream, which can be used to disseminate a variety of meteorological products to any centre with a GOES WEFAX receiver. Sites with a WEFAX receiver can receive and display EMWIN products for an additional cost of approximately 4000 US$, including equipment, travel, installation and on-site training.

4.2.13 Under the EU sponsored project, funding is available for eight countries and three territories for two EMWIN systems per country, with the exception of New Caledonia, which has requested one system. The dual EMWIN installation in countries will provide one system for the NMHS and the other for the National Disaster Managers. Funding by SPREP will provide EMWIN systems to other tropical Pacific Island countries not covered by the EU Project within the broadcast area of the GOES-9 satellite. Consideration is being given by the University of Hawaii/PeaceSat to extend the broadcast area further west using GOES-7 to be located at 180 East.

4.2.14 The group proposed the implementation of these systems be supported as a high priority. It recommended the rapporteurs on GDPS, PWS, and Data Management coordinate definition of products required by the Region and identify a source for these products. The rapporteurs are expected to conduct their work by correspondence and prepare a report for consideration by the Regional Association by 1 June 1998.

DCP Communication Systems

4.2.15 New Zealand is planning DCPs with a manual data entry facility for installation in Kiribati at Tarawa and is considering a DCP for automatic transmission of sounding data at Raoul Island. A further system is planned for Funafuti, but funding for the platform has yet to be resolved. Meteo France has recently installed DCP at Futuna Island.

4.2.16 The group proposed DCP installations for upgrades to AWS communications as high priority projects for Iles Belep (New Caledonia) and Hereheretue Atoll (French Polynesia). It also proposed DCP installations with manual data entry, in order of priority, for Nuku'alofa (Tonga), Honiara (Solomon Islands), Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Niue Island.

Inmarsat M Communications Systems

4.2.17 The Inmarsat M terminal is recommended as a back-up communications link in the event that the primary means of communications for a NMHS is disrupted. The group proposed the implementation of Inmarsat M systems complete with Mini-Sat terminal, a personal computer, fax machine, and UPS be given a high priority.

4.2.18 Proposed recipients funded through the EU project are Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Wallis Island, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Samoa. Meteo France funds systems for New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

4.2.19 Funding will need to be found for installations for the Cook Islands and Niue.

4.2.20 An estimate for the unit price for the purchase and installation a system is US $7000.00. Countries receiving an Inmarsat M system would be responsible for all recurring costs and would also be responsible for ensuring the units do not contravene national radio frequency licensing requirements.

International Satellite Communications System (ISCS)

4.2.21 The group proposed the need for an installation at Honiara, Solomon Islands be reviewed and funding for such an installation be investigated. This is the only change to the current ISCS implementation plan proposed.

4.2.22 In the longer term, consideration should be given to the feasibility of the ISCS providing two-way communications for RA-V.


4.2.23 The group noted Fiji would like to terminate their use of the AFTN for WWW data by the end of 1998. It recommended alternative means of communication be investigated to carry this traffic such as EMWIN, ISCS and DCP as appropriate.

Managed Network

4.2.24 The meeting considered developments in telecommunications technology, increasing commercialisation and the emergence of service providers and global private network operators. It agreed it is now appropriate to review the way in which the RMTN should be implemented and operated in the future and that a managed network approach should be investigated. It endorsed the establishment, by the RA V Subgroup on the GTS, of a task group comprising M.J. Hassett (Australia), T.S. Wong (Singapore), and a representative from New Zealand to undertake initial work to:

  1. Contact all Members in RA V to inform them of the concept and ascertain their interest in participating;
  2. Prepare an initial costed feasibility study for consideration by the Regional Assocation at their next session.


4.2.25 The working group considered the use of the Internet for communications in the Region and was pleased that all NMSs in the Region already or will soon have connections to the Internet. However, the group noted some of the connections were quite expensive and reminded participants the permanent connections required to host home pages would not be worthwhile for many Members.

4.2.26 The group was concerned with cost and other difficulties associated with IP address allocation in the Region and noted it was particularly a concern where an NMS needed a dedicated connection the Internet rather than an intermittent connection through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The group, therefore, recommended each NMS within the Region initiate actions to secure an IP address as a matter of priority.

4.2.27 The group supported the use of the Internet for operational purposes with some reservations. It noted different ISPs use different charging algorithms and provide different levels of service and reliability. It recommended that if an ISP is used for operational purposes an alternative communication mechanism should be established as a backup. It was a matter of serious concern that the capacity of the Internet could be most affected when the need for timely data is greatest. During a tropical storm for example.

4.2.28 The working group expressed its appreciation for the enormous amount of technical work the Working Group on Telecommunications has accomplished on the Internet. In particular, it noted the Guide on the use of TCP/IP on the GTS and recognised the document is a distillation of much work by many dedicated people. The group congratulated them on this work and encouraged their further efforts on this important issue.

Proposed changes to the Manual on the GTS

4.2.29 The working group discussed proposed amendments to the Manual on the GTS, Volume 2. It agreed on the proposed changes and also suggested the following additional changes to the table in paragraph 3.4:

  1. Western Samoa should be changed to Samoa;
  2. Washington should be added as an RTH along with its associated NMCs.

4.3 Global Data-processing System (GDPS)

4.3.1 The session considered the report of the Rapporteur on the regional aspects of the GDPS. One of the key events in the Region concerning the GDPS was the designation of the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre, operated by the Fiji Meteorological Service, as "RSMC Nadi - Tropical Cyclone Centre", an RSMC with activity specialisation in tropical cyclone forecasting and warning for the South Pacific region in June 97. Development work is currently underway to upgrade its communications and computing facilities. RSMC Wellington will provide contingency back-up services.

4.3.2 The session noted the implementation of GDPS services in the Region. WMC Melbourne operates three major operational analysis and forecasting systems: global (T79, 19 levels), regional (.75 degrees, 19 levels), and tropical (95 km, 19 levels). In addition, WMC Melbourne also operates a sea wave model, air transport/dispersion model, and a solar ultraviolet radiation forecast system. RSMC Wellington operates a limited area model and a simple program for calculating air parcel trajectories. NMC Singapore hosts the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) which operates a global analysis and a global spectral model (T63,16 levels), two limited area models (regional 127 km, 12 levels and ASEAN 63km, 13 levels) and other NWP models including an ocean wave model and two pollution dispersion models.

4.3.3 The group noted that while most centres are not able to implement global models, more centres could embark on developing and implementing limited area analysis and prognosis models. Such limited area fine mesh models require boundary conditions generated or originated from global models which are run at the WMC, an RSMC or major GDPS centre inside or outside this region. The group, therefore, urged Members to ensure their telecommunications have the capacity to handle the additional data traffic comprising boundary conditions as well as NWP products. This can be handled via the GTS or through other means such as high-speed dial-up connections or the Internet.

4.3.4 The group noted that unless the individual NMC requires digital data for further processing, an RSMC or major GDPS centre could provide their products in standard graphical forms such as those easily displayed by Internet browsers. This would improve versatility and maximise the use of standard industry software tools, minimising the need to develop, implement and maintain customised computer systems, hardware and software to decode and display data. As an alternative, the group was pleased to note NMC Washington has made their PC-Grids software freely available at no charge. This software provides the capability to easily decode and display any GRIB-formatted fields.

4.3.5 Concerning the dissemination of GDPS products, the group recommended GDPS centres make more regional forecast products and/or services available on the Internet to registered members in the region. In addition, it suggested a central body such as the WMO Secretariat provide and manage a directory of these products.

4.3.6 The group, noting products of global and regional NWP models are available throughout the region, agreed individual NMCs might gain maximum benefit by focusing on development of applications of such products. It suggested small NMCs concentrate on post-processing and generating value-added products such as Model Output Statistics (MOS), Perfect Prognosis (PP) Method, or one-dimensional models. These applications can be easily run on today’s powerful workstations and PCs. Since the successful development and implementation of such applications depends on technical expertise there is a need intensify GDPS training activities within the region.

4.3.7 The working group noted and had no comments regarding the amendments to the Manual on the GDPS recommended at the ninth session of the WGDP.

4.4 WWW Data Management

4.4.1 The session considered the report of the Rapporteur on the regional aspects of data management and codes and considered the development of the new table-driven character code, CREX. It noted a primary goal of CREX is as a tool to avoid the proliferation of new alphanumeric codes by permitting the transmission of observations for which no traditional character coded exists, and which could not easily be transmitted in BUFR. The group supported development of CREX and its proposed adoption for operational implementation by CBS.

4.4.2 The group noted the traditional character codes may be replaced by table-driven codes, both binary and character based. They agreed that this transition could have serious consequences for the content of the code manuals, since the traditional manuals contain guidance on a combination of coding and observing practices and recommended actions be taken to address this issue.

4.4.3 The group was pleased to hear the WMO Distributed DataBases (DDBs) trial, which has been conducted for the past two years, has successfully demonstrated the concept and further operation of a trial was no longer necessary. It noted many NMSs in the Region provided a variety of products via Internet servers. As an example a more comprehensive set of analysed fields from JMA’s global spectral model are available via RSMC Tokyo’s Distributed Data Bases server.

4.4.4 A discussion was held regarding problems associated with the use of multiple formats for tropical cyclone messages, particularly those containing trajectory information. The group noted there was already very useful work on development of CREX but recognised there were two distinct needs: the need for easy ingest and decoding by automated systems and the need for a more human readable format, especially for trajectory information. This need for readability is especially important where the data is not taken from an automated system or where time pressures require that the data be read quickly.

4.4.5 The group agreed a tabular CREX presentation is a possible solution for both needs and decided the data management rapporteur should coordinate regional requirements and request these be considered by WGDM. To expedite development so a solution could be implemented as quickly as possible, it also asked the rapporteur to request the SGDR&C review this issue at its next meeting. It is also recommended members attending the next meeting of the Tropical Cyclone Committee and the International and RA-V tropical cyclone workshops ensure these issues are considered at those meetings. It also noted that, since a small number of centres produce these text forecasts of trajectories, informal coordination between the centres via e-mail might also provide a solution.

4.4.6 The session considered the impact of the transition from 1999 to the year 2000 and noted this was a serious issue that needed to be discussed at the next session of the Regional Association. It was pleased to note actions already taken by some Members within the Region and the WMO Secretariat, but agreed more needed to be done. It considered a proposal to conduct a regional workshop on the issue and discussed procedures to ensure the problem could be addressed most effectively. It suggested an expert be sent to some of the smaller services in the Region to assess their status and gather information to provide guidance on the specific issues that should be covered in the workshop. The group was pleased that some of this information could be collected during already planned expert missions.

4.4.7 Software to test PCS for year 2000 compliance was distributed to all participants. The group noted that both application and operating system software as well as system hardware must be evaluated. It urged all Members to keep the WMO Secretariat apprised of their status on this important issue.

4.5 WWW Systems Support Activity

4.5.1 The meeting discussed the status of the WWW Operational Information Services and expressed their appreciation for the work done by the Secretariat to modernise the system and speed the processing and dissemination of updates to the operational publications and encouraged further work in this direction. It was concerned that, although the operational information was being updated more quickly, the regulatory information was not updated often or quickly enough. Although the group recognised the process for updating the Manuals would always require significant time, it recommended the information be updated as quickly as possible so Members do not develop plans in accord with information that has been superseded.

4.5.2 The session noted with interest the plans and progress of the Cyclone Warning System Upgrade Project. It noted the project is making a very important contribution to the implementation of the WWW in the region, especially on observations and communications. It expressed its appreciation to the European Union for its contribution, as well as SPREP, and was pleased the project has consulted and coordinated widely and worked within the existing framework in the Region.

4.5.3 The group agreed the project should try to minimise costs related to the operation and maintenance of equipment that it installs with a goal of optimising the sustainability of such equipment.


5.1 The meeting considered implementation strategies for Public Weather Services and discussed procedures for the exchange of warnings and guidelines for their dissemination to the media. It was particularly concerned with the dissemination of forecasts and warnings by the international media and agreed there was an ongoing need for coordination on this issue.

5.2 The group recommended that the Public Weather Services Programme ensure NMHSs maintain a high profile and are recognised as the official source of meteorological warnings within their country. Furthermore, the group noted PWS should ensure it is clear to the media and the public that guidance material are intended for interpretation by meteorologists. It is extremely important the official warning channels are well publicised and disseminated regularly to remind the public of the official source for warnings.

5.3 It was noted that international broadcasters should be encouraged to seek information from local sources when reporting on significant weather situations. The group suggested a good means to support this effort would be for local NMHSs to be proactive and explore mechanisms to forward such information to these international broadcasters.


6.1 The session reviewed the implementation of Resolution 40 of the Twelfth Congress which considers the WMO policy and practice for the exchange of data and products among Members. It confirmed there was no negative impact on the exchange of real-time data and products in support of WWW operations in the Region. It considered mechanisms to improve the differentiation and handling of these data at NMCs and decided the current procedures are generally adequate. It did suggest, however, the Secretariat place the current descriptive list of "additional" data and products on the WMO Internet server.


7.1 The session reviewed the arrangements for meteorological support in response to humanitarian and environmental emergencies. In particular, the participants discussed these arrangements in the light of efforts to ameliorate the effects of the widespread fires and resulting smoke-haze in late 1997. The group noted coordination mechanisms in place performed reasonably well but there was room for improvement since some Members were not aware of which products were available or did not know how to find them.

7.2 It noted procedures for meteorological support of non-nuclear emergencies with international effects are not clearly defined and should be formally established. It was pleased to note member countries of ASEAN are establishing a regional haze early warning system and ASMC will disseminate relevant information through a private "intranet". It also agreed password protected access via the Internet would also be an appropriate mechanism for this kind of information.

7.3 The group agreed the coordination of response to these situations was a difficult problem since it involves parties outside of the NMHSs. Furthermore, the dispersion models used to provide forecasts were developed for point rather than multi-point emissions and it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the forecasts since the actual sources and their emission rates were not known. It noted additional information on the extent and emissions of the fires would be particularly helpful and discussed means to collect this information. It agreed further research on using satellite imagery to determine the nature and extent of fires would be useful but information from the ground would provide better information in the short term. It suggested countries with large-scale fires report the nature and extent of the fires to their neighbours and local NMHSs coordinate their response with all of the relevant agencies within their country.

7.4 The group agreed it was difficult to assess the utility of the products and the effectiveness of the dissemination mechanisms since a majority of users of the information were not represented at the meeting. This highlighted the need for gathering additional information and the group supported plans to hold a workshop on this issue.

7.5 To assist the agencies for responsible for the management of forest fires, predictions of the risk of forest fires during the drier season would be useful. The meeting noted that for this purpose, an ASMC workshop was recently conducted to forecast the seasonal climate for the ASEAN region for 1998/99 as well as to discuss future programmes to build up the sustainability of the region's capability in interpreting and generating seasonal climate predictions. The workshop involved ASEAN members and their experts and experts invited from WMO, the NCEP Climate Prediction Center, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


8.1 The working group discussed its future work programme and noted there was currently impressive development and implementation of meteorological systems being undertaken in the Region. It, therefore, saw a continued need to coordinate this work and recommended the group be re-established at the next meeting of the Regional Association. With this understanding, the group reviewed its composition and terms of reference as defined at RA-XI. The group made a number of suggestions and requested the Secretariat carry them to the Regional Association for its consideration. Most significantly the group suggested an expert on radar systems was no longer necessary, a Rapporteur on Regional aspects of Public Weather Services should be added as a member of the working group, and liaison of the working group with other WWW-related coordination bodies, such as SPREP and the South Pacific Forum, should be included in its future terms of reference.

Action Items

8.2 The GOS Rapporteur should investigate all meteorological data acquisition systems in the region operated by an agency other the national meteorological service of the country concerned. He should list all known non-NMS observing systems in the data sparse areas of the Region and for each should comment on the exposure of the station, its data processing and data dissemination. He should make recommendations on how these observations might be used to augment the RBSN, and propose ways of identifying these non-NMS stations in a manner that will distinguish them from NMS stations.

8.3 The GOS Rapporteur should investigate deployment of instruments to measure ocean swells, perhaps on moored buoys.

8.4 The possibility of installing a digital point-to-point circuit between the Meteorology Division of MAFFM and the NWS office at Pago Pago is being explored but further work needs to be done to scope the equipment needed. The EU project has budgeted this financial year for the project and the Coordinator of the subgroup of the regional aspects of the GTS should keep apprised of developments.

8.5 A task group comprising M.J. Hassett (Australia), T.S. Wong (Singapore), and a representative from New Zealand established by the RA V Subgroup on the GTS, should contact all Members in RA V to inform them of the concept of establishing a managed network for telecommunications in the Region, ascertain their interest and prepare an initial costed feasibility study for consideration by the Regional Assocation at its next session.

8.6 The Secretariat should amend the Manual on the GTS, Volume with the following changes to the table in paragraph 3.4: Western Samoa should be changed to Samoa, and Washington should be added as an RTH along with its associated NMCs.

8.7 The rapporteurs on GDPS, PWS, and Data Management should coordinate definition of products required by the Region that could be distributed via EMWIN and identify a source for these products. The rapporteurs are expected to conduct their work by correspondence and prepare a report for consideration by the Regional Association by 1 June 1998.

8.8 The data management rapporteur should coordinate regional requirements for tropical cyclone messages, particularly those containing trajectory information, and request these be considered by WGDM and the SGDR&C at their next meetings. Members of the working group attending the next meeting of the Tropical Cyclone Committee and the International and RA-V tropical cyclone workshops should ensure these issues are considered at those meetings.

8.9 The Secretariat should place the current descriptive list of "additional" data and products on the WMO Internet server.


9.1 The meeting closed at 1215 on Friday, 13 February 1998.


Annex 1


Status and plans for RA V RMTN


Current status

Comments / future plans

 MTN and inter-regional circuits




64Kbps X.25, 3 PVCs Melbourne-Tokyo and 3 PVCs Melbourne-Washington plus SVCs for TCP/IP over X.25

Operational exchange of satellite data by FTP has been tested and will be implemented operationally in early 1998.


Melbourne-Bracknell (bi lateral circuit recommended to be incorporated into the MTN)


19200 bps X.25 and TCP/IP over X.25.


Funding shared by Australia, NZ, UK and EUMETSAT. Planned to convert to TCP/IP during 1998.

Washington-Nadi (possible new circuit)


USA has indicated that a 9600 bps X.25 GTS circuit may be able to be implemented within the 56Kbps NADIN 2 link with Nadi




T-1 (1.54Mbps)

Part of NOAA Intranet. Carries NCEP NWP products, satellite pictures and various TCP/IP services (Web, FTP, E-mail etc) to Honolulu and Guam.


Melbourne-New Delhi

75 baud telegraph

Upgrade to 2400/4800 bps leased line or Internet subject to agreement between Australia and India


Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok

1200 bps



Singapore-Bangkok (new circuit)


2400 bps X.25

Implemented June 1995



200 bps


  RMTN circuits




9600 bps X.25, GTS and Difacs

Conversion to TCP/IP by mid 1998


9600 bps V.29 AVD configured as 2 x 4800 bps X.25 GTS and Difacs

9600 bps digital link, TCP/IP with X.25 GTS data carried over TCP/IP during 1998.




9600 bps V.29 AVD X.25 GTS and Difacs

9600 bps digital link, X.25 GTS and Difacs, during 1998. TCP/IP may be implemented later.



9600 bps X.25

Conversion to 9600 bps TCP/IP, as part of major upgrade of RSMC Nadi including Unix based MSS and forecast application systems. Target date March 1998.


Melbourne-Port Moresby


75 baud telegraph.

4800 bps data circuit supporting GTS and Difacs via TCP/IP. GTS and Difacs will use FTP. Systems will run on Windows NT. Target date February 1998.


Melbourne-Singapore (planned new circuit)




Either 4800 bps X.25 or Frame Relay, TCP/IP subject to bi-lateral agreement. Target date mid 1998


Melbourne-Pt Vila

9600 bps shared link via SITA

Long term plans to be based on EMWIN, ISCS and DCP and possibly Internet. No direct link to Melbourne required.


AFTN 50 baud

(ii) One way 4800 bps satellite link


Satellite circuit established in April 1996 to transmit WMC Melbourne NWP products and satellite pictures to Honiara. The circuit was implemented using Telstra DamaNet over an Intelsat satellite. Long term plans to be based on EMWIN, DCP and possibly Internet. No direct link to Melbourne required.



AFTN 1200 bps + 3 x 75 baud




200 bps

Upgrade to 9600 bps X.25 planned during 1998.




2400 bps X.25

Upgraded from 75 baud in April 1994.


Singapore- Kuala Lumpur


4800 bps X.25




2400 bps X.25




4800 bps X.25




Upgraded in April 1995. Carries primarily NCEP NWP products and satellite pictures.


Honolulu-Pago Pago (new circuit)

9600 bps

New circuit installed November 1996. Shared with AFTN. Carries NCEP NWP products to Pago Pago.