December 2008

WMO and Oman co-sponsor International Conference on Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change
8 -11 March 2009, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman


By John L McBride*

  Nargis approaches Myanmar on 1 May 2008
(Image: NASA)

The past two years have seen several high-impact tropical cyclone events in the Indian Ocean. These include Tropical Cyclone Gonu, which made landfall in Oman in 2007, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh in 2007 and Cyclone Nargis, responsible for the loss of more than 20 000 lives in Myanmar in 2008. These events have brought about a focus on the potential influence of climate change on tropical cyclone activity in the Indian Ocean.

In response, the Government of Oman, in cooperation with the Sultan Qaboos University and WMO, is holding the International Conference on Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. The Conference will be held in Muscat, Oman, in March 2009. It will bring together leading experts, from both research and operational meteorological environ-ments. It is intended that the Conference will be a first step towards an ongoing international focus on potential impact of climate change in the Indian Ocean. The proceedings will be published as a WMO technical document.

Through WMO sponsorship, members of the World Weather Research Programme Expert Team will present papers on various aspects of the topic “Climate change impacts on tropical cyclones papers”. WMO will also sponsor the participation of representatives from the National Meteorological Services of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as representatives from the other Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres) around the globe. It is anticipated that these scientists will make presentations on the availability and quality of best track data from their region, including historical data and landfall events.

The broad thematic areas of the conference are:

  • Operational tropical cyclone forecasting and warning systems (keynote speaker: Greg Holland, USA)
  • Progress in tropical cyclone genesis (keynote speaker: Kerry Emanuel, USA)
  • Climate change and tropical cyclone activity (keynote speakers: Tom Knutson, USA; Johnny Chan, Hong Kong, China)
  • Assessment of risk and vulnerability from tropical cyclones, including construction, archival and retrieval of best-track and historic datasets (keynote speaker: TBA)
  • Disaster preparedness, management and reduction (keynote speaker: Mostafa Mohaghegh, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction)
  • Recent high-impact tropical cyclone events in the Indian Ocean: Nargis, Sidr, Gonu and other events (presentation on tropical cyclone Gonu: Director of the Oman Weather Bureau in collaboration with several Oman government agencies, Civil Defence, Ministry of the Environment)

Papers are encouraged on all aspects of the impact of global climate change on tropical cyclones. In particular, the organizers encourage contributions on best tracks of tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean, including documentation of past high-impact events and archival, maintenance, reconstruction and quality of best track datasets.

Information on the Conference is available on the Conference Website or from Conference secretariat: tcyclone[at]


* Co-Chair, International Scientific Organizing Committee.

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