June 2009

WMO activities

Towards World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) / WCC-3: media launch / Weather, climate and agriculture in West Africa: More roving seminars for farmers / Adapting to climate change / Impacts of floods and drought on agriculture in Mali / Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) / WMO retires hurricane names


Towards World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3)

Better climate information for a better future:
World Climate Conference-3,
Geneva, 31 August-4 September 2009

WMO and UN partners organized the first two World Climate Conferences that brought climate issues to the attention of policy-makers, in particular the climate change issue.

The First World Climate Conference in 1979 was instrumental in the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

The Second World Climate Conference in 1990 added momentum to international efforts focusing on climate change, leading to the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.  The Conferences also led to the establishment of key global climate initiatives: the World Climate Programme, the World Climate Research Programme and the Global Climate Observing System (see below).

WCC-3 aims to further advance the development of global climate services and their applications for societal benefits.

The proposed outcome of the Conference is a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) with four components, namely Observation and monitoring; Climate research and modelling; Climate services information system; and Climate services application programme.

Implementation of such a framework will significantly improve the well-being of society worldwide by facilitating improvements in the provision and application of climate services. These, in turn, will contribute to climate adaptation and climate risk management through the incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction into policy and practice at global, regional and national levels.

The draft high-level declar­ation and summary of GFCS are under review by governments for comments and input to facilitate the development of consensus.

The Secretary-General established the WCC-3 International Organizing Committee (WIOC), which is chaired by John Zillman (Australia), and a Secretariat for the Conference, and formed two internal Task Teams on Technical Coordination and Logistics.

WIOC has held three meetings: in February and September 2008 and in March 2009. It will hold its fourth meeting on 30 August 2009 in Geneva prior to the Conference. At its first meeting, WIOC formed four sub-committees to handle specific assignments involving the organization of the Conference. They are the Sub-Committees on Programme, High-Level Segment, Resource Mobilization, and Linkages and Interactions.

WIOC, together with its sub-committees, has made significant progress in the organization of the Conference, which is at an advanced stage. The Conference Programme and calls for abstracts have been finalized and posted on the WCC-3 Website. The programme has diverse roles and gives an opportunity for wide participation in the Conference. The selection of speakers is progressing well and has been finalized for most sessions.

Several countries and institutions including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, USA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Environment Programme have committed to contribute or have remitted their contribution to the WCC-3 Trust Fund.

The organization of the Conference is on course, the benefits of a successful Conference are high and all are invited to register and attend this unique global event that addresses the climate challenges of today and the future.

WCC-3: media launch

On 30 June 2009, WMO will hold a media launch for World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), 31 August to 4 September 2009, in Geneva (see item).

Press conferences, given jointly by a provider and a user of climate services, will be set in coordination with WMO Members and the United Nations System. The main launch will take place at the United Nations Information Office in Geneva, and other launches took place around the world, including in Bangkok, Brussels, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, San José and Santiago. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of WMO Members are invited to organize media launches at the domestic level.

Available as of the media launch will be a press release about the status of Conference preparations, and a media kit in the six UN official languages. The WCC-3 media kit includes:

  • An introductory letter from the WMO Secretary-General
  • Seven fact sheets about the benefits of using climate information in decisionmaking
  •  Frequently asked questions
  •  Media advisory
  •  Provisional Conference programme
  • Sponsor information
  •  A flyer about the World Climate Broadcasts Forum to be held at WCC-3

This kit will be accessible on the WCC-3 Website.

For more information, please contact WMO Communication and Public Affairs:
E-mail: cpa[at]wmo.int  
Tel.: (+41) (0) 22 730 8314/15

  cover media kit WCC-3



back to top


Weather, climate and agriculture in West Africa

More roving seminars for farmers

Roving Seminars on Weather and Climate for Farmers in West Africa, funded by the State Meteorological Agency of Spain and coordinated by WMO, strive to secure rural farmers’ self-reliance in West Africa by informing them about effective weather and climate risk management and the sustainable use of natural resources for agricultural production.

An Evaluation and Planning Meeting was held in Bamako, Mali, in March 2009. It evaluated the outcome of Phase I of the project, which focused on Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.  Based on the experience and feedback from representatives of those countries, the meeting then developed and planned for 10 roving seminars to be organized in six other countries in West Africa: Benin, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Togo. Three additional seminars were scheduled in the five countries which conducted seminars in Phase I.

Some of the difficulties encountered by the first group of countries included: logistics, transport of rural farmers to the seminars, managing uninvited participants and timing the seminars in the winter season.

Some of the benefits were: good partnerships with other organizations especially with local NGOs, better promotion of the services provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), better understanding of the needs of rural farmers by NMHSs, better perception of climate change by the rural farmers, and increased receptiveness of rural farmers to weather advice issued by the NMHSs.

The meeting recommended making more efficient the administrative process of transferring the funds to countries, organizing the seminars just before the beginning of the rainy season, creating a regional network to exchange ideas and difficulties encountered among the countries involved, and exploring the potential of using seasonal climate forecasts from the Regional Climate Outlook Forums.

farmers in the field







Farmers in West Africa face many challenges from climate variability and change but can learn how to adapt and even profit from the changes.

WMO Agricultural Meteorology Programme


back to top

Adapting to climate change

An International Workshop on Adaptation to Climate Change in West  African  Agriculture was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in April 2009. More than 70 experts and key decision-makers dis­cussed and recommended climate change adaptation options for the agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries sectors in West Africa.

Underlying the resulting recommendations was the primordial role of weather and climate services and products in developing adaptation solutions to climate change in West African agriculture in national development policies.

The Workshop called for improved water resources management with a primary focus on enhancing food security. It also seeks to facilitate better access to credit and agricultural inputs to intensify integrated production systems such as crop-livestock and aquaculture-agriculture through improved natural resource management, adapted varieties and livestock breeds.

With the aim of serving the needs of smallholders, a comprehensive and action-oriented database of adaptation options for different farming and livelihood systems and agro-ecological zones will be assembled.

  african village

Resources will be sought to strengthen research, notably into the impact of climate change on agriculture in the different agro-ecological zones in the region, as well as for adaptation efforts.

Actions recommended include the establishment of a West and Central African Network on Climate Change and Food Security and that of a Technical Secretariat with the support of the Economic Community of West African States and competent institutions. At the national level, the Secretariat should benefit from the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, in coordination with the NMHS.

The Workshop was organized by WMO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the State Agency for Meteorology of Spain and partners.

Climate adaptation and risk management in the agricultural sector will be addressed at World Climate Conference-3, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 August to 4 September 2009 (see www.wmo.int/wcc3).

WMO Agricultural Meteorology Programme



back to top

Impacts of floods and drought on agriculture in Mali

Assessment of the Impacts of Floods and Droughts on Agriculture in Mali is a project in the framework of the Assessment of Natural Disaster Impacts on Agriculture  (ANADIA), an integrated national, regional and international programme for reducing vulnerability to the impacts of natural disasters in agriculture. It thus contributes to sustainable food security, poverty alleviation, rural development and quality of environment.

The project was launched at a meeting in Bamako, Mali, in March. The meeting reviewed the objectives of the project, evaluation of the impacts of floods and droughts, and experience with the evaluation of floods and droughts in the framework of a project implemented at the AGRHYMET Centre in Niger.

Participants then reviewed the impacts of floods and droughts in Mali and discussed the appropriate sites where such impacts could be assessed during the project implementation.

Plans for a training workshop on the different aspects of assessment of impacts of floods and droughts in Mali were discussed and a Coordination Committee for the ANADIA-Mali project was established under the chairmanship of the Director of the National Meteorological Service of Mali.

Natural hazards

WMO Agricultural Meteorology Programme

WMO Hydrological and Water Resources Programme

WMO Disaster Risk Reduction Programme



back to top


Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)

GCOS Progress Report 2004-2008


The Progress Report on the Implementation of the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC 2004-2008 addresses progress since late 2004 in implementing the global observing system for climate through actions called for in the 2004 Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC (GCOS-92). This version of the Report was submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat on 8 April 2009 in response to a request from its Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in December 2005.

SBSTA invited the GCOS Secre­tariat to “provide a comprehensive report at its 30th session (June 2009) on progress with the GCOS Implementation Plan.” The Report was made publicly available for technical review and comment.


GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN)

GCOS is establishing a reference network for highest-quality upper-air climate observations (GRUAN). GRUAN is expected to provide long-term, highly accurate measurements of atmospheric profiles, complemented by  ground-based, state-of-the-art instrumentation. In order to fully characterize the properties of the atmospheric column and their changes, GRUAN will serve to constrain and calibrate data from spatially comprehensive global observing systems (including satellites and current radiosonde networks).

The first GRUAN Implementation Coordination Meeting (ICM-1) was held in March 2009. The meeting afforded an opportunity for the Working Group on Atmospheric Reference Observations, the GRUAN Lead Centre and representatives of 14 initial GRUAN candidate sites to review progress to date and exchange their views on how to define the most practical mode of operation. Furthermore, it was agreed that GRUAN should become a pilot project for the WMO Integrated Global Observing System. 

The meeting report (GCOS-131) is available on the GCOS Website and then Publications.

The Global Climate Observing System

logoThe Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) was established in the wake of the Second World Climate Conference. It is a joint undertaking of WMO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council for Science.

GCOS is intended to be a long-term, user-driven operational system capable of providing the comprehensive observations required for:

  •  Monitoring the climate system;
  •  Detecting and attributing climate change;
  •  Assessing impacts of, and supporting adaptation to, climate variability and change;
  •  Application to national economic development;
  •  Research to improve understanding, modelling and prediction of the climate system.

GCOS addresses the total climate system including physical, chemical and biological properties, and atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial, hydrological and cryospheric components.

The new GCOS Website was launched on 27 May 2009.


back to top


WMO retires hurricane names

Three hurricane names in the Atlantic—Gustav, Ike and Paloma—and one in the eastern North Pacific—Alma—have been retired from the official name rotation by the WMO Hurricane Committee because of the deaths and damage they caused in 2008.

The Committee issues the list of potential names for tropical cyclones to be used every six years for both ocean basins. These names would have been used again in 2014 and will be replaced by Gonzalo, Isaias, Paulette and Amanda, respectively.


The Hurricane Committee of WMO Regional Association IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) held its 31st session in Nassau, Bahamas, from 20 to 24 April 2009.

A near-normal hurricane season is predicted for the Atlantic basin (1 June- 30 November) and a normal or below-normal hurricane season for the eastern Pacific (15 May-30 November). Activity in both oceans will depend, among other factors, on the possible development of an El Niño episode.

The first names to be used this year will be Ana in the Atlantic and Andres in the eastern Pacific.

WMO Tropical Cyclone Programme

Tropical cylone names

World Climate Applications and Services Programme (WCASP) and Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS) Project

back to top



Condensed version/
version condensée
cover   cover
English   Français

Regular features
In the news
Recently issued
Upcoming events
Recent events
High-impact weather events

MeteoWorld archive
Archive MétéoMonde
WMO Bulletin


Contact: MeteoWorld Editor - WMO ©2008 Geneva, Switzerland