April 2010

In the news

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WMO pays tribute to Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen / Nairobi Declaration Adopted by Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa / Low pressure will help disperse Iceland's volcanic ash / NOAA: Hottest March on Record / Strengthening Meteorological Observations Reference Standards / El Niño in decline but impacts may continue until mid-2010 / WCRP: ‘Open Science Conference’ to better predict Earth’s Climate

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  Professor Wiin-Nielsen
  Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen

WMO pays tribute to Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen

WMO expressed condolences at the passing away on 26 April of Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen, who was WMO Secretary-General from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1983. A Danish national, Professor Wiin-Nielsen led a distinguished career in meteorology.  Before assuming the stewardship of WMO, he was co-founder and first Director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Appointed as the first Director of ECMWF from I January 1974. Professor Wiin-Nielsen’s leadership in the formative years of ECMWF was critical in building the Centre as a world-renowned scientific research and operational institution. In 1984, he became Director of the Danish Meteorological Institute and in that function attended sessions of the ECMWF Council. He was elected vice-President of Council in 1985 and President in 1986. In 1987, he became Professor of Physics at the University of Copenhagen, and in 1995, Professor Emeritus of the University. He continued his research interests well after his retirement. WMO Secretary-General M. Jarraud was among those who attended the funeral ceremony that was held in Denmark for Professor Wiin-Nielsen on 4 May 2010.

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Nairobi Declaration adopted by Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa

More than 30 African Ministers responsible for Meteorology adopted the historic Nairobi Declaration on 16 April in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ministers agreed to strengthen the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and enhance inter-regional cooperation. They recognized the importance of weather and climate information services and products for social and economic development in various sectors, particularly agriculture, natural resource management, food security, transport, health, energy and disaster risk reduction. Organised by WMO, in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Conference also established a high-level mechanism, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which is expected to meet every two years to further develop meteorology and its applications on the continent.

Conference Website

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Low pressure will help disperse Iceland's volcanic ash

    volcano

Despite signs that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is calming, the European Meteorological Offices remain on full alert to monitor the atmospheric conditions. Conditions are changing with volcanic ash now being thrown up to a height of only 3 to 4 kilometres, compared to 6 to 7 kilometres earlier. The advent of a low air pressure system over Iceland in the next three days is expected to move the volcanic ash towards the Arctic, while the accompanying rains could wash down the ash at lower heights.

Questions & answers

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NOAA: Hottest March on record

    noaa logo

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States of America, a WMO partner for global climate monitoring, announced on 16 April that March 2010 was the warmest on record. This was based on the world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made during the month.

Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.

For more information

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Strengthening Meteorological Observations Reference Standards

  group photo
  From left to right: Ms I. Ruedi, Mr L. Barry, Mr A. Wallard, Mr M. Jarraud, Mr E. Goebel, , Mr W. Zhang,
Ms S. McCrory, Mr M. Ondras

WMO became a signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) on 1 April 2010. The objective of the MRA is to establish the degree of equivalence of national measurement standards. This is of paramount importance to ensuring the traceability of worldwide measurements to international standards and quality of observations, which is crucial to assess, among other, climate change. Indeed, all measurement made at different location and different time needs to be comparable. Some laboratories are hosting world-reference standards for WMO, such as for solar irradiance, surface ozone, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride and carbon monoxide concentrations. Signature of the MRA by WMO allows WMO to designate laboratories, which will now also be recognized by the international metrology community and will allow them to participate in CIPM activities, which aim at ensuring world-wide measurement traceability.

For more information

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El Niño in decline but impacts may continue until mid-2010

According to the latest El Niño/La Niña update issued by WMO on 30 March, the ongoing El Niño event continues to have significant and widespread impacts. The signature of this event, which started in June 2009, is seen in basin-wide Pacific Ocean conditions, and in many of the climate patterns around the world that are typically impacted by an El Niño event. The most likely outcome by mid-year 2010 is for the El Niño event to have decayed and near-neutral conditions to be re‑established across the tropical Pacific. However, this time of year (March-June) is a particularly difficult period for forecasting developments in the tropical Pacific, and forecasters cannot rule out persistence of El Niño or the possible early stages of La Niña by mid-year. Even during the decaying phase of the El Niño expected over the next few months, the conditions associated with it will continue to influence climate patterns at least through the second quarter of the year, and this information will be contained in the available national and regional seasonal climate forecast assessments. 

For more information

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WCRP: ‘Open Science Conference’ to better predict Earth’s Climate

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), jointly co-sponsored by WMO, the International Council for Science and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, will host an international Open Science Conference from 24-28 October 2011, in Denver, Colorado, USA. The conference aims to attract the world’s experts to provide a unique synthesis of current research findings on climate variability and change. It will help identify the most urgent scientific issues and research challenges, and to ascertain how the WCRP can best facilitate research and develop partnerships critical for progress in the future.

World Climate Research Programme

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