December 2010

In the news

New online: WMO at UN Climate Change Conference / UN marks first World Statistics Day / Observation for adaptation to climate change in Hindu Kush-Himalaya region / Experts recommend management strategies for drought risk reduction / New Cooperation Agreement between WMO and CERN / WMO Vice President for Asia region receives award / New Assistant Secretary-General


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New online: WMO at UN Climate Change Conference

Like in the past, WMO is taking an active part in the 16th session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

See WMO’s new web pages for the UN Climate Change Conference. The pages contain information on WMO-related side events, contact information for journalists, the latest WMO science news, partnership suggestions, success stories using climate information and a range of background materials.

Regular updates will be available during COP 16, including the WMO Statement on the status of the global climate in 2010, which will be released on 2 December.

See www.wmo.int/cop16

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UN marks first World Statistics Day

World Statistics Day, celebrated for the first time on 20 October 2010 worldwide, highlighted the vital importance of statistics to respond to present and future challenges and to measure progress.

“Statistics are a vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. For development to succeed, we need data collection and statistical analysis of poverty levels, access to education and the incidence of disease,” stated United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

At a conference in Geneva, WMO representatives explained how WMO coordinates data collection for weather and climate analysis and forecasting; tracks long-term global temperature changes and weather and climate extremes worldwide; monitors atmospheric composition, including greenhouse gases and ozone, and develops relevant information services for sectors such as agriculture, transport and tourism. They highlighted the efforts of the WMO and its partners in ensuring the development and use of high standard global datasets for climate assessment.

Geneva – which has the world’s highest concentration of international organizations - hosted the conference to provide an interface between statistical practitioners and policy makers, academia and civil society.

Presentation

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Observation for adaptation to climate change in Hindu Kush-Himalaya region

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud has highlighted the need to improve observation systems for climate change adaptation at a conference organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Mr Jarraud said the International Symposium "Benefiting from Earth Observation – Bridging the Data Gap for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region" in Kathmandu, Nepal, provided the region with a key opportunity to advance in sustainable development and international cooperation.

“Although some changes are unavoidable, it is not too late to prevent them from becoming an even more serious threat to our common future,” Mr Jarraud said in a video message to the opening session.

Known as the "water tower" of Asia, the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region exhibits the largest concentration of snow and glaciers outside the polar regions and it contributes the headwaters of the 10 largest Asian river basins. 

In its Summary for Policymakers, the WMO co-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that glacier melt in the Himalayas is projected to increase flooding and rock avalanches from destabilized slopes, and to significantly affect freshwater resources within decades, Mr Jarraud recalled.

Difficulties in accessing some parts of the region mean that remote observations, in particular space-based observations, are vital in predicting and assessing natural hazards, such as the floods afflicting Pakistan. On-site observations are also imperative, highlighting the importance of strengthening national Meteorological and Hydrological Services, Mr. Jarraud said.

In 2002, WMO and ICIMOD subscribed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation in weather, climate and water, including environmental and disaster risk reduction, research and capacity building for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.

For more about the event, see geoportal.icimod.org/symposium2010/

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Experts recommend management strategies for drought risk reduction

Early, accessible and continually updated information is essential to improve drought risk management according to a group of international scientists at a conference this week. Case studies from different regions point to the importance of improved monitoring of droughts for effective early warnings. One important recommendation calls for implementation of policies to coordinate drought preparedness planning.  Services are needed to link to forecasts and impact assessments with decision-making so that communities benefit from early warning information systems and drought risk mitigation.

The recommendations were presented at a meeting organized from 27 to 29 September in Boulder, Colorado, USA, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), WMO and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

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New Cooperation Agreement between WMO and CERN

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has signed a cooperation agreement with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to promote the sharing of information and knowledge in information technologies.

The agreement was signed by WMO Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud and CERN Director-General Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer 26 August. It is one of a series of contractual cooperation accords signed between CERN and international organizations and is in line with WMO’s policy to foster global scientific and technical cooperation.

Areas of potential collaboration include: high bandwidth capacity networks for exchange of observations and information; collaborative on-line software tools for data and information analysis; management of mass data and storage systems; and capacity building and e-education tools, especially in developing nations.

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WMO Vice President for Asia region receives award

WMO extends its congratulations to Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudry, Director-General of Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, for the national civil award “Sitara-i-Imtiaz”, conferred in August, in recognition of his national and international climate science achievements.

Dr Qamar is also a recipient of the SAARC Best Scientist Research Award (1993) and the President’s Pride of Performance Award (1998).

Dr Qamar is Vice-President of WMO’s Asia region, as well as Secretary for the WMO-UNESCAP Intergovernmental Panel on Tropical Cyclones for the Indian Ocean.

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New Assistant Secretary-General


The WMO Executive Council endorsed the appointment of Elena Manaenkova as Assistant Secretary-General of WMO. Prior to this, she was Director of Cabinet and External Relations of the Secretary-General and and Director of Atmospheric Research and Environment.

A geographer specialized in hydrology and meteorology, Ms Manaenkova has a PhD in physics and mathematics from the Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia.

Before joining WMO, Ms Manaenkova devoted her career to the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, and was the Scientific Secretary and Director of Department of Science and International Cooperation.

 

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