June 2009

In the news

Hans Erni fresco unveiled at the United Nations Office in Geneva / 2008 Vigne des Nations vintage dedicated to IPCC / Memorandum of understanding signed / Bringing youth messages to World Climate Conference-3 / President of WMO meets President of USA / New acting members of WMO Executive Council elected / Normal or below-normal eastern Pacific hurricane season predicted / Near-normal Atlantic hurricane season predicted / Launch of Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction / ISO accreditation for Hong Kong Observatory’s Radiation Laboratory

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Hans Erni fresco unveiled at the United Nations Office in Geneva

A 60-metre long ceramic fresco on two walls by Swiss artist Hans Erni was officially inaugurated on 6 June. The mural, which is devoted to peace, is located at the entrance of the Palais des Nations. A recurring symbol is Erni’s signature dove.

artHans Erni was a guest at World Meteorological Day celebrations at WMO headquarters in 2006, when an exhibition of his paintings entitled Forces of Nature was opened by the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva. The online WMO art gallery was also launched, which contains a selection of Erni’s paintings.

Hans Erni celebrated his 100th birthday in February this year.

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2008 Vigne des Nations vintage dedicated to IPCC

The Vigne des Nations ceremony took place at the Signal de Bernex in the canton of Geneva on 5 June 2009, honouring the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The ceremony was held in the presence of the diplomatic corps, representatives of international environmental institutions based in Geneva and members of the WMO Executive Council, which was holding its 61st session.

vigneSince the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Organization, in 1995, it has been the tradition to honour an international organization by dedicating to it one of the vines from the domain of the Republic and canton of Geneva.

IPCC was established by WMO and the UN Environment Programme in 1988. The IPCC Secretariat is hosted in the WMO headquarters building.

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Memorandum of understanding signed

The  Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization (IRIMO) and the South African Weather Service signed a memorandum of understanding on 5 June to promote the training of meteorological personnel, joint research programmes and the use of modern forecasting technologies. Specifically, the agreement focuses on: development and distribution of products to users, development of new technology, rainfall enhancement research, atmospheric chemistry, capacity building, and new systems for applications in observations and forecasting. This cooperation will help enhance meteorological products and services in both the Islamic Republic of Iran and South Africa to benefit society and decision-makers.

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Bringing youth messages to World Climate Conference-3

WMO, through the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and the GLOBE Program (Global Learning Observations to Benefit the Environment) are inviting young people to create compelling, short messages on the topic: “Youth working to solve local problems through weather and climate research”. A selection of the messages submitted will be displayed at World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), from 31 August to 4 September in Geneva. The intent of the WMO-GLOBE youth message initiative is to provide scientists, policy-makers, global business leaders and media representatives attending WCC-3 with examples of the many ways that youth from around the world are using their research on weather and climate to respond to climate issues in their regions. For more visit GLOBE.

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President of WMO meets President of USA

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  Alexander I. Bedritskiy with Barack Obama
   
A meeting of special representatives of the leaders of the world ’s 17 largest economies was held in Washington, DC, on 27 and 28 April 2009 as part of the preparations for the Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy (L’Aquila, Italy, July 2009). The Russian delegation, representing President D.A. Medvedev, was led by Alexander I. Bedritskiy, head of Roshydromet and President of WMO.

The representatives of the world’s largest economies discussed possible technological approaches to resolving the climate problem. They focused on technologies for adapting to climate change, including strengthening systems for the observation and prediction of extreme climate variability phenomena and reducing the danger of natural disasters. Initiated by the USA, the Forum, is an effective consultative process that will facilitate further progress in climate negotiations within the framework of the United Nations.

The President of the USA, Barack Obama, received the heads of delegation and held a brief conversation with Mr Bedritskiy concerning the prospects for Russian-American cooperation on climate issues.

Russian

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New acting members of WMO Executive Council elected

The following were elected acting members of the Council on 3 June:

Gregory P. Ayers (Australia)

Byung-Seong Chun (Republic of Korea)

François Jacq (France)

Kunio Sakurai (Japan)

Ajit Tyagi (India)

Composition of the WMO Executive Council

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Normal or below-normal eastern Pacific hurricane season predicted

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that projected climate conditions point to a normal or below-normal hurricane season in the eastern Pacific this year.

Allowing for forecast uncertainties, seasonal hurricane forecasters estimate a 70 per cent chance of 13-18 named storms, which includes 6-10 hurricanes, of which two-five will become major hurricanes. An average eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 to 16 named storms, with nine becoming hurricanes and four to five becoming major hurricanes.

The eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from 15 May to 30 November; the peak period of activity is July-September.

The main climate factors influencing this year’s Eastern Pacific outlook are the atmospheric conditions that have decreased hurricane activity over the eastern Pacific Ocean since 1995 and the possible development of El Niño.

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Near-normal Atlantic hurricane season predicted

In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season (1 June- 30 November), the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for a 50 per cent probability of a near-normal season, a 25 per cent probability of an above-normal season and a 25 per cent probability of a below-normal season.

Global weather patterns are imposing greater uncertainty this year than in recent years. Forecasters say there is a 70 per cent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes.

Activity will increase if enhanced rainfall over West Africa, warmer Atlantic waters and reduced wind shear continue. Activity could be reduced if El Niño develops in the equatorial Eastern Pacific or if ocean temperatures in the eastern tropical Atlantic remain cooler than normal.

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Launch of Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction

The United Nations launched the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction in Bahrain on 17 May in the presence of Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain. Other eminent guests include UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud; and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrom.

It is the first global report to identify increasing disaster risk factors. It recommends 20 disaster risk reduction actions that will reduce poverty, safeguard development and adapt to climate change, with beneficial effects on broader global security, stability and sustainability.

NISDR media advisory

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ISO accreditation for Hong Kong Observatory’s Radiation Laboratory

The Hong Kong (China) Observatory’s Radiation Laboratory has received ISO 9001:2008 accreditation for its radiation measurement services.

The Observatory started monitoring environmental radiation levels in Hong Kong in 1961 and took part in international programmes on environmental radiation monitoring organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency and WMO.

Observatory launched a comprehensive environmental radiation-monitoring programme in 1983 to monitor radiation levels in Hong Kong before and after a nuclear power station opened in Guangdong. Measurements over the years show there has been no measurable change in either the ambient radiation levels or the activities of artificial radionuclides in the environment and foodstuffs consumed.

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The Director of Hong Kong Observatory, Dr  Lee Boon-ying (left), receiving ISO 9001:2008 certification

     

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WMO Emergency Response Activities

 

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