December 2009

Recent events

Enhancing air quality research / Radiocommunication for combating climate change / JCOMM meets in Marrakech / Regional workshop on Asian climate watches / Hydro-meteorological services in disaster risk reduction in Central Asia


Enhancing air quality research

Experts in atmospheric research from all regions met from 18 to 25 November 2009, in Incheon, Republic of Korea, for the WMO fifteenth quadrennial session of the Commission for Atmospheric Science. Participants discussed future international research to improve air quality forecasts and assessments, and to develop carbon-tracking tools for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Air quality forecasts are issued by an increasing number of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, many of which also provide a wide variety of user-friendly air quality indices and advisories. However, it remains a challenge to deliver quality services to local communities in a timely fashion. Air quality research and information delivery systems provided by WMO Members help enable people to protect their health. For more information, read WMO press release no. 867.

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Radiocommunication for combating climate change

WMO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held the first joint seminar on the use of radio spectrum for meteorology, aimed at weather, water and climate monitoring and prediction from 16 to 18 September 2009.

Radio-based information communication technologies (ICTs) applications such as remote sensors are currently the main source of observation and information about Earth’s atmosphere and surface on the global basis. Between 1980 and 2005, more than 7 000 natural disasters worldwide took the lives of more than 2 million people and produced economic losses estimated at over US$ 1.2 trillion. Ninety per cent of these natural disasters, 72 per cent of casualties and 75 per cent of economic losses were caused by weather, climate and water-related hazards, such as droughts, floods, severe storms and tropical cyclones. Climate change monitoring and disaster prediction mechanisms are therefore increasingly vital for our personal safety and economic well-being.

The seminar shared information on WMO’s Integrated Global Observing System and ITU’s role in using ICTs as a catalyst to combat climate change. Discussions focused on the use of radio spectrum, space orbits and radio-based meteorological tools and systems for monitoring, mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Participants also discussed related support for the development and implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services agreed by World Climate Conference-3, when it met in Geneva, from 31 August to 4 September 2009.

ITU and WMO have collaborated in partnership for over 135 years. While WMO focuses its efforts on meeting the needs for environmental information and the corresponding radio-frequency spectrum resources, ITU allocates the necessary radio frequencies to allow for interference-free operation of radio-based applications and radiocommunication systems (both terrestrial and space) used for climate monitoring and prediction, weather forecasting and disaster early warning and detection. The new ITU database of frequencies, which could be used for emergency radiocommunications, would help save lives and property in the aftermath of disaster.

For more, read the WMO press release no. 864.


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JCOMM meets in Marrakech

From 4 to 11 November 2009, the Third Session of the Joint WMO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) met in Marrakech, Morocco. More than 100 delegates from more than 40 WMO Members and IOC Member States attended the JCOMM session. Participants reviewed progress made since the Second Session, which took place four years ago in Canada. It elected P. Dexter (Australia) as its Co-President for Meteorology and A. Frolov (Russian Federation) as its Co-President for Oceanography.

JCOMM develops observing networks, implements end-to-end data management systems, delivers marine and oceanographic-related meteorological products and services, and helps with capacity building for WMO and IOC Members. For more information, visit the JCOMM Website.


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Regional workshop on Asian climate watches

From 10 to 13 November 2009, the Regional Workshop on Climate Monitoring and Analysis of Climate Variability for RA II was held in Beijing at the China Meteorological Administration. Sponsored by WMO through the Education and Training Program and coordinated by the World Climate Data and Monitoring Division, the workshop addressed the implementation of climate watches in the region with focus on the monsoon-affected sub-region of Asia.

The workshop participants discussed these climate watches in the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services, established at World Climate Conference-3. The ultimate goal of the workshop was to ensure that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and regional climate institutions make use of best practices in delivery, provision and evaluation of climate watches, and to efficiently manage interaction among regional institutions, NMHSs and end users.


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Hydro-meteorological services in disaster risk reduction in Central Asia

At a regional meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, an agreement was reached to initiate the process for development of a regional plan for modernization of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in the Central Asia Region, with the support of major donors, including the World Bank, USAID, Swiss Development Corp, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, European Commission, as well as WMO, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

Held from 10 to 12 November 2009, the Regional Seminar on Improvement in Weather, Climate and Hydrological Service Delivery and Disaster Risk Reduction in Central Asia and Caucasus was conducted within the framework of Central Asia regional initiatives, including the Aral Sea Basin Program-3 and Disaster Risk Management Initiative in Central Asia and Caucasus, a joint WMO, UNISDR and World Bank initiative currently under way.

The key objectives of the Workshop were to: reveal and assess the main challenges related to disaster risk reduction including those related to climate change; discuss main issues of hydro-meteorological and climate service delivery in Central Asia and Caucasus; and to reach agreement on how to improve these services.

Participants of the Workshop include representatives of agencies involved in disaster risk reduction and main users of hydro-meteorological information, such as early warning, agriculture, water resources management, energy, transport, nature protection and mass media. Senior officials from the region, as well as donors, international financial institutions and United Nations agencies, representatives from academia and civil society also participated.




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