December 2009

In the news

WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin 2008 / CAS elections in Incheon / GFCS high-level taskforce to meet / WMO receives grant for agro-meteorology training / National Ice Services advise of continuing navigation hazards / Red sand and dust storm hits Australia / World Climate Conference-3 establishes a Global Framework for Climate Services


WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin 2008: Main greenhouse gases reach highest level ever since pre-industrial times


In 2008, global concentrations of carbon dioxide again reached the highest levels ever recorded. The levels of other greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, have also continued to increase. The latest numbers, released on 23 November 2009 in the WMO 2008 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, confirm the continued trend of rising atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases since 1750.

Press release

Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

WMO video: “Greenhouse gases”, Q&A with Len Barrie

TSR (Swiss Romande TV) coverage (in French)


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CAS elections in Incheon

Michel Beland (Canada) and Tetsuo Nakazawa (Japan) were elected as President and Vice-President of the Commission for Atmospheric Science (CAS) by acclamation. The fifteenth quadrennial session of CAS has been taking place this past week in Incheon, Republic of Korea (18-25 November 2009).


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GFCS high-level taskforce to meet

From 11 to 12 January 2010, the Intergovernmental Meeting for the High-level Taskforce on the Global Framework for Climate Services will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, at the International Conference Centre Geneva. The meeting is being organized pursuant the decision of the World Climate Conference-3, held in Geneva from 31 August to 4 September 2009, for the establishment of a high-level taskforce on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). Participants at the meeting will include foreign ministries, permanent missions to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Permanent Representatives of countries and territories with WMO, the United Nations system and other international organizations with observer status with WMO.


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WMO receives grant for agro-meteorology training

  women in field
  Copyright: WFP/Mario Di Bari

The Rockefeller Foundation provided a grant of US$ 323 000 for a project to be implemented by WMO's Agricultural Meteorology for the training of trainers on weather and climate information and products for the Agricultural Extension Services in Ethiopia. The objective of the project is support the National Meteorological Agency of Ethiopia to engage with, and provide training to, agricultural extension agents and agricultural experts. By providing them better practical knowledge of agro-meteorological services and applications to farmers, the project will help improve farming practices and increase or secure agricultural production.


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National Ice Services advise of continuing navigation hazards


The International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) celebrated from 12 to 16 October its 10th meeting at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with a focus on Arctic shipping.

Highlights of 2009:

  • Over 1 200 icebergs drifted into the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes, making the iceberg season in the North Atlantic the eleventh most severe since the tragic loss of the RMS Titanic in 1912.
  • The sea ice pack in the Arctic Ocean shrank to its third-lowest extent since the beginning of quantitative satellite observations about 30 years ago. Although greater than the record lows in 2007 and 2008, the minimum ice extent was still well below normal.
  • Although ice conditions in the Northwest Passage were more difficult for shipping than in each of the three previous years, a record number of pleasure craft transited the Passage.
  • Marine transportation of natural resources is increasing from Russian Arctic ports to the West.

The IICWG was formed in 1999 to promote cooperation between the world's ice services on all matters concerning sea ice and icebergs and brings together the operational ice services of Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, United States and the International Ice Patrol. These services are charged with monitoring sea ice and icebergs for marine safety.

For more information, visit the IICWG.



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Red sand and dust storm hits Australia

The east coast of Australia including Sydney was hit on 23 September 2009 by a vast red sand and dust storm originating from interior Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, a cold front in New South Wales caused severe thunderstorms and gale-force winds, whipping up the dust from a drought stricken part of Australia, bringing air traffic to a halt and obscuring the famous Sydney opera house from view. The storm also disrupted ferry and automobile transport and caused a large increase in incidences of asthma and other respiratory problems. It also stripped soil from agricultural areas inland and deposited it in the coastal ocean.

WMO is implementing the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS). The goal is to enhance the ability of countries to deliver timely and quality sand and dust storm forecasts, observations, information and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities. Today, there are twelve SDS-WAS operational or research sand and dust forecasting centers around the world. By planning ahead, one can reduce the impacts on health, agriculture, aviation, as well as on the general functioning of urban society

For more information, visit the WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System online.



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World Climate Conference-3 establishes a Global Framework for Climate Services

On 3 September 2009, World Climate Conference-3 adopted today a Declaration establishing a Global Framework for Climate Services "to strengthen production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services". For more, see WMO press release no. 861.


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