February 2009

Recent events

Expert Mission to Review Agrometeorological Services in the Bangladesh Meteorological Department / Regional Association II (Asia)—14th session / Science Steering Group (SSG) of the World EXPO 2010 Nowcast Services Demonstration Project (WENS)—first meeting / Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Panel Meeting—11th session /Workshop on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the National and Regional Levels/Meeting of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology Expert Team on the Collection and Evaluation of Operational Agrometeorological Tools and Methodologies / Public Weather Services Workshop on Learning-through Doing Project-Madagascar / World Modelling Summit for Climate Prediction / Third Joint WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Workshop on Advances in Marine Climatology (CLIMAR-III)


Expert Mission to Review Agrometeorological Services in the Bangladesh Meteorological Department
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 14-17 Dcember 2008

At the request of the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Bangladesh, a WMO expert mission to Bangladesh was undertaken to review the existing Agrometeorological Services in the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) and help improve these services to the farming community in Bangladesh.

The programme for the expert mission comprised mainly presentations from BMD staff, internal meetings with staff, review by the expert panel and discussions along the different terms of reference of the expert mission. The Expert Panel prepared a detailed questionnaire and sent it to BMD ahead of their visit. Responses to the questionnaire were prepared and presented by the BMD staff. The Expert Panel sought clarifications on a number of answers provided by the BMD staff.

The Expert Panel held discussions with Kamarul Hassan, Secretary, Ministry of Defense; and Arjumand Habib, Director, BMD. The Expert Panel also held discussions with the heads and representatives of a number of agencies with which BMD collaborates actively. These included Anwar Iqbal, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council; Abdul Majid Biswas, Director General, Department of Agricultural Extension; K.H. Masud Siddiqui, Director General, Disaster Management Bureau; A.H.M. Abdallah, Director (Training and Planning) and Component Manager; and Mohammed Abu Sadeque, Director, Disaster Management Bureau.

A one-day workshop on agrometeorology in the Sservice of agriculture in Bangladesh was held at BMD attended by over 70 participants drawn from all stakeholder organizations and senior government officials in Bangladesh including representatives of the ministries of Agriculture, Defence (under whom BMD falls) and various agricultural research institutes such as the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, universities, NGOs, etc., A session on target-oriented project planning was held, at which a series of questions were given to the participants. Answers from the participants were analysed and a number of recommendations to strengthen linkages with the user community and obtain their constant feedback were drawn up. These draft recommendations were deliberated and approved during the workshop.

The recommendations of the expert panel were categorized into six major heads: organizational issues; agrometeorological observation system; agrometeorological data management; weather forecasts and agrometeorological products; agrometeorological advisory services; information communication; human resource development and capacity building; policy issues and miscellaneous. These recommendations will be submitted for consideration by the Ministry of Defence of the Government of the Bangladesh to improve agrometeorological services.

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Regional Association II (Asia)—14th session
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 5-11 December 2008

Seventy-one participants from 27 Members of the Association, seven observers from four Members from outside the Region and two from international organizations attended the session.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, December 2008— Participants in the 14th session of WMO Regional Association II (Asia)


The Association recognized that an increasing focus on climate change and associated vulnerabilities and risks and an increasing frequency of a number of hydrometeorological hazards, especially floods and droughts in Asia and other parts of the world, which posed escalating threats to sustainable development, and other disasters, including the tragic Indian Ocean tsunami, had been important areas to which WMO and RA II Members had contributed decisively.

The session discussed and made decisions on, among others, the further improvement of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services’ forecasting and warning capabilities, additional support to climate-related activities through the establishment of a network of regional climate centres, implementation of the WMO Flood Forecasting initiative, development and implementation of the WMO Integrated Global Observing Systems (WIGOS) and the WMO Information System (WIS), efforts in natural disaster mitigation, enhanced user focus on public education and awareness-building initiatives, enhanced cooperation with other service providers and sectors and strengthened collaboration with relevant regional institutions and sustainable human resources development.

Victor Chub (Uzbekistan, right) and Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry (Pakistan) were elected president and vice-president of RA II.   photo

The Association adopted the Strategic Plan for the Enhancement of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in Regional Association II (Asia) (2009-2011), which identified a set of action-oriented deliverables categorized under Regional Expected Results in accordance with WMO’s set of Expected Results.

The following four Working Groups were newly established to implement various activities in light of the RA II Strategic Plan: Working Group on WMO Integrated Observing System and WMO Information System (WG-IOS/WIS); Working Group on Climate Services, Adaptation and Agrometeorology (WGCAA); Working Group on Hydrological Forecasts and Assessments (WGH); and Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction and Service Delivery (WGDRS).  The Management Group of RA II was also established.

The Association further established three pilot projects: Pilot Project to Enhance the Availability and Quality Management Support for NMHSs in Surface, Climate and Upper-Air Observations; Pilot Project to develop support for NMHSs in Numerical Weather Prediction; and Pilot Project to develop support for NMHSs in Satellite Data, Products and Training.

The Association unanimously elected Victor Chub (Uzbekistan) as president and Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry (Pakistan) as vice-president.


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Science Steering Group (SSG) of the World EXPO 2010 Nowcast Services Demonstration Project (WENS)—first meeting
Shanghai, China, 26-29 November 2008

The SSG meeting was preceded by a two-day meeting of the Interim SSG to prepare for the full meeting. The WENS SSG is composed of representatives of the WMO Public Weather Services Open Programme Area Group, representatives of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), representatives of the WMO Members which propose to provide nowcasting systems in support of WENS, capacity-building leads, and socio-economic leads

The WENS structure was based on a concept document developed by the Public Weather Services Implementation and Coordination Team (PWS-ICT) at its meeting in Shanghai in May 2008.

In addition to the participating experts, representatives from Emergency Response Management Office; Water Affairs Bureau; CACC East China Regional Administration; Harbour Management Office; Expo Bureau; Ya Tong Enterprise; and Electric Power Company also participated at a one-day round-table discussion on the identification of the user requirements and the potential impact of the WENS project.

The meeting considered the concept document and the draft implementation plan document prepared by Shanghai Meteorological Bureau (SMB). Based on these two documents the SSG prepared the Project Implementation Plan (PIP). This Plan represents the principal output of the meeting. PIP contains detailed description of the project, including its goals and objectives, mode of operation, the structure and membership of its various bodies. These include the Science Steering Group the Management Group and the Nowcasting Service Product Providers (NSPPs). The terms of reference of these bodies were developed during the interim SSG meeting and adopted by the full SSG.

In addition to consideration of the WENS project, discussions were held between CMA/SMB regarding plans for participation of the International Association of Broadcast Meteorology (IABM) in World EXPO 2010. Several options were prepared for further study by CMA/SMB as regards capacity building activities and the possible broadcasts to be made from the CMA/WMO Pavilion during World EXPO 2010. The final outcome will formulate the activities of WMO, CMA/SMB and IABM in this regard.

The Project Implementation Plan incorporates the following:

The goals and objectives of the project


bulletIn the context of multi-hazard early warning services (MHEWS), to demonstrate how nowcasting applications can enhance short-range forecasts of high-impact weather using the opportunity afforded by World EXPO 2010; and

bulletPromote the understanding and enhance the capability, as appropriate, of WMO Members in nowcasting services.


bullet Provide advanced high-impact weather and precipitation nowcasting products and services in the context of the World EXPO 2010;

bullet Enhance the capacity of the SMB in MHEWS to:

  • Address the problem of urban flooding;
  • Provide improved heavy precipitation warnings;
  • Evaluate the contribution of QPE/QPF to the overall effectiveness in the risk assessment process;
  • Effectively present the information to the decision makers and the public.

bullet Demonstrate the introduction, optimal implementation, and training in use (technology transfer) of advanced nowcasting systems in operational forecasting and in the generation of enhanced products and services;

bullet Evaluate the impact of the implementation of operationally focused nowcasting on    the quality of high impact weather and precipitation forecasts, on forecasters and on end-users of a local meteorological service;

bullet Promote the implementation of nowcasting services in the Shanghai region initially and ultimately for the benefit of all WMO Members, especially those in East Asia.

The Nowcasting Service Product Providers (NSPPs) which will contribute to WENS

bullet China Meteorological Administration (CMA);

bullet Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology (BOM);

bullet Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), China.

Their terms of reference are to:

  • Provide nowcasting services products or systems in support of the World EXPO 2010 on a functional real-time basis;

  • Assist in the customization, support, maintenance and interfacing of their systems to operational data feeds and information/dissemination systems as agreed for implementation in Shanghai;

  • Offer consultancy and advisory support and undertake agreed interface and capacity-building activities.


Expected outcome

Through international collaboration to build, demonstrate and quantify the benefits, during World EXPO 2010 period, of an end-to-end nowcasting weather service focused on high impact weather and based on the latest science and technology.


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Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Panel Meeting—11th session
Malaysian  Meteorological Department, Petaling  Jaya, Malaysia, 19-21 November 2008


The Panel discussed the status of the AMDAR programme and, in particular, the status of the water vapour sensor WVSS-II currently under test in the USA and Europe. The meeting noted that the USA AMDAR programme had agreed to provide assistance to those NMHSs considering implementing WVSS-II in their AMDAR programme by providing guidelines based on experience on USA based aircraft. The Panel was also informed that the USA would report on the performance of WVSS-II, including an additional two one week field experiment, towards the lastquarter of 2009.


The Panel agreed that a new ring-fenced line item should be established within the AMDAR Panel Trust Fund called “Technical support” with an initial figure of CHF 5 000 to assist with projects such as an investigation into the performance of WVSS-II.

The Panel discussed the arrangement of the meeting proposed between AMDAR Panel members, stakeholders and Airbus. The proposed meeting with Airbus would discuss the future development and implementation of software and humidity sensor implementation on current and future Airbus aircraft.

The Panel agreed to develop a set of guidelines to assist NMHSs in developing their national AMDAR programmes. The Panel also agreed that there was a requirement to provide some funding within the Panel budget to promote AMDAR training. The Panel noted that the AMDAR training sub-group would provide assistance to Panel members in their development of the AMDAR outreach programme to promote and develop AMDAR.

The Panel agreed that the full integration of AMDAR (including financial support from the WMO regular budget) was a definite and real requirement for the future. The Panel discussed the steps required to fully integrate AMDAR into WMO and the World Weather Watch (WWW) (Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) and Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO)) with the long-term objective to have AMDAR activities fully supported from the WMO regular budget. Panel members agreed to coordinate this action with their respective permanent representatives (PRs) to establish national strategies. Panel members agreed to work with their respective PRs to put forward a proposal that would examine the full integration of AMDAR into WMO.

The Panel reviewed the outcomes from the CBS Implementation Coordination Team-Integrated Observing Systems (ICT-IOS) meeting held in Geneva, 15-18 September 2008. The Panel agreed on ICT-IOS Recommendation 7.2.4 “Establishment of new expert team on airborne observations and revised the terms of reference for ET-AIR”. The Panel agreed that the establishment of an ET-AIR within the CBS working structure would mean that the AMDAR Panel Management Group, CBS AMDAR Rapporteur and the ad hoc Steering Group on WMO Integrated Observing Systems (WIGOS) Pilot Project for AMDAR may no longer be required and some of these functions would be integrated into ET-AIR. 

To assist with the integration of AMDAR into WMO structures, the AMDAR Panel agreed on a statement that declares that AMDAR is now a mature and operational system.

“Following the assessment of the global availability and sustainability of the provision of AMDAR data for the operations of the NMHSs, the AMDAR Panel declares the AMDAR programme operational. Currently, this declaration refers to wind, temperature and pressure observations collected through AMDAR systems and in use by the meteorological community. Furthermore, it is recognized that the AMDAR as a GOS observing system component has the potential for expanding its capabilities to increase data coverage and add other observational elements.
Following the AMDAR being operational, the AMDAR activities are expected to gradually integrate into WMO WWW Programme, CBS and CIMO structures.”

The Panel agreed with the design of the WIGOS pilot project for AMDAR developed by the ad hoc Steering Group and agreed that Panel members would support the implementation of pilot project tasks.


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Workshop on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the National and Regional Levels
Orlando, Florida, USA, 18-21 November 2008

As the world population grows and the global climate changes, local food supplies are facing more risks. The WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of increases in the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts, heat waves and other natural hazards that directly impact agriculture and fisheries. Higher global temperatures will also put crops and fish stocks at increased risk of disease and pests. These same climate pressures also threaten the health and viability of forests and other vulnerable ecosystems and land resources. However, the main determinants of agricultural production are still the seasonal weather variations. There are many adaptation measures that the agricultural sector can undertake to cope with these future changes.

To address these issues, local, national and international food providers must collaborate with climate experts to develop sustainable strategies. To that end, WMO), the United States Department of Agriculture and the US Southeast Climate Consortium organized the Workshop on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the National and Regional Levels. It was held in conjunction with the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology Implementation/Coordination Team on Climate Change/Variability and Natural Disasters in Agriculture and meeting of the SECC members.

The workshop brought together more than 60 land-use and food-security experts to address the needs and requirements for such adaptation tools. The objective was to develop recommendations for producing and using weather and climate information to implement adaptation strategies at the national and regional levels. The recommendations focused on specific topics such as climate and agricultural research, refinements in climate forecasting, capacity building, agricultural operations, farming communities and farmer adaptation strategies.

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Meeting of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology Expert Team on the Collection and Evaluation of Operational Agrometeorological Tools and Methodologies
Nairobi, Kenya, 21-24 October 2008

Agricultural production is highly dependent on weather, climate, and water availability and sustainable agricultural development needs to incorporate weather and climate information in order to be effective. Weather and climate information is needed for the real-time monitoring and assessment and long-term risk assessment of climate variability, climate change, and natural disasters, such as drought, floods, grassland and forest fire, severe weather and tropical cyclones, impacting natural and environmental resources. In order to make quality assessments and to provide the most knowledgeable information to decision-makers (farmers, extension agents, or policy makers) on these issues, scientists need to be aware of updated and well-trained on state-of-art tools, technologies, and methodologies. It should also be noted that the various agrometeorological tools and methodologies have differing application and utility for different agricultural systems (crops, livestock, grasslands, rangelands, forestry and fisheries) but also for different regions.

The Expert Team focused on the following categories of tools: data acquistion; data analysis and management; agrometeorological models (i.e. crop models); capacity development (learning management); and dissemination tools. The ET members will collect, categorize, and evaluate tools by using the some of the following attributes: accessibility, level of support, data requirements, ease of use, training requirements, scientific validity, dissemination policy, and cost. An operational tool was tentatively defined as one that is currently being used and has some demonstrated impact to the farming sector.

In order to provide more input into this process, the Expert Team also met with representatives from various international organizations based in Nairobi such as the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), the International Livestock Research Institute, the University of Nairobi and the Canadian International Development Research Centre. There were 16 participants from seven countries.

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Public Weather Services Workshop on Learning-through Doing Project-Madagascar
14-16 October 2008

The workshop was the kick-off activity to start a partnership between the Madagascar Meteorological Services and the Ministry of Health and Family Planning in the use of weather and climate information and services by the health sector, targeted at the three diseases with the most disabling impact in the country, namely, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever and Plague. This project is undertaken in the framework of the PWS series of “Learning through doing” initiative as approved by EC-60 and its objective is to enhance the capability of the NMHS Madagascar to respond to the needs of the health sector. The meeting was opened on 14 October by the Minister of Public Works and Meteorology.

Madagascar was chosen for this project for three reasons: (a) there exists an operational forecast office which produces an adequate suite of products and services; (b) the NMHS Madagascar has demonstrated a level of commitment, both in terms of infrastructure and support from the management to engage in this activity; and (c) the Meteorological and Health Services have started a dialogue and shown a willingness to cooperate. WMO’s role is to act as catalyst to create greater synergy between the two sectors.

The objective of the workshop was to create through the participation of representatives from both weather and health sectors, a national Working Group on Weather, Climate and Health, and to develop the scope and terms of reference of the working group. The terms of reference and working arrangements of the group were finalized at the national level by the end of 2008.

There were 56 participants at the workshop, composed of national meteorological and health sector officials from all regions of the country, in addition to invited experts from the World Health Organization, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the NMSs of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The main achievement of the workshop was the attendance of the workshop on 16 October, by the Minister of Public Works and Meteorology and the Minister of Health and Family Planning who signed a Protocol of Partnership to collaborate on implementing the WMO “Learning through doing” project towards attaining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the goals of the Madagascar Five-year Action Plan. The meeting was officially closed by the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Health on 16 October.

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World Modelling Summit for Climate Prediction
Reading, United Kingdom, 6-9 May 2008

The need for a quantum leap in advancing climate modelling and tackling its challenges was the background of the historical World Modelling Summit for Climate Prediction. The Summit was organized by the World Climate Research Programme, the World Weather Research Programme and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and brought together, perhaps for the first time, a diverse set of experts from the weather, climate and environment community. The objective of the Summit was to develop a strategy to revolutionize the prediction of the climate to better address global climate change, especially on the regional scale. The main emphasis was on the simulation and prediction of the climate system but the 120 participating experts from the world’s leading forecast and prediction centres soon recognized similar challenges and opportunities in weather and other environmental simulation and prediction.

The participants identified four major priorities:

  • Developing models that represent realistically all aspects of the climate system;

  • Confronting these models with observations to evaluate their adequacy, accuracy and shortcomings;

  • Obtaining computational capabilities that are three to four orders of magnitude greater than the best available capabilities today; and

  • Establishing a world climate modelling project that will focus on the “seamless (seasonal to decadal) prediction approach”, which unifies weather and climate science so that the insights and constraints of one can be brought to bear on the other.

The participants also recognized all four objectives to be challenging beyond the resources and capabilities of any single nation requiring a strong international effort to achieve the envisioned quantum leap in climate prediction.

Summit Report (WCRP Series Report No. 131)

Revolution in Climate Prediction is Both necessary and Possible. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1175/2008BAMS2759.1, early online release.

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Third Joint WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Workshop on Advances in Marine Climatology (CLIMAR-III)
Gdynia, Poland, 6-9 May 2008

Marine climatology is increasingly recognized as vital to improving our characterization and understanding of climate change. The numerical models that we rely on to predict changes to our climate must be able to model the evolution of past climate, so research to develop long-term and accurate historical datasets has never been more important.

Participants in CLIMAR-III   photo

The Third JCOMM Workshop on Advances in Marine Climatology (CLIMAR-III) built on outcomes from two previous CLIMAR workshops in 1999 and 2003, and from two workshops in the alternating and closely related Advances in the Use of Historical Marine Climate Data (MARCDAT) series in 2002 and 2005. In addition to wide-ranging presentations and discussions of the latest scientific and technical developments, the CLIMAR workshops have formed the mechanism for updating Advances in the Applications of Marine Climatology. This widely cited JCOMM publication, which is a dynamic extension of the Guide to the Applications of Marine Climatology (WMO-No. 781), allows a rapid and wide dissemination of the latest information and techniques relevant to marine climatology.

CLIMAR-III, the earlier workshops, brought together the community of scientists who strive to produce climate-quality datasets of surface meteorology, air-sea interaction and, increasingly, scientists developing datasets of the subsurface ocean: 69 participants from 19 countries (representing all but one WMO regional association) involved in the fields of applications of marine climatology, climatological data archival and retrieval, and climate research, including modelling.

Among the recommendations from CLIMAR-III were that NMHSs engage actively in the recovery of historical marine data and metadata, including ensuring adequate coordination across data disciplines (e.g. oceanographic and marine data rescue); to emphasize the continuing importance of Voluntary Observing Ship data (including irreplaceable manual observations); and to continue the two successful, alternating workshop series with a third MARCDAT around 2010 and a fourth CLIMAR around 2012.

See also article in the December 2008 issue of MeteoWorld

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