July 2013

The 2°C Long-term Goal for Temperature Rise

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The UNFCCC Workshop

The UNFCCC Workshop Under the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-15 Review, held in Bonn on 5 June, discussed the adequacy of the long-term global goal (LTGG) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa opened the discussion by underlining that the changing climate would engender extreme weather and climate events, making the WMO Climate System Monitoring of paramount importance to policy-makers who need such changes documented and presented in a way that is meaningful for decision making. He further informed participants that several Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) stations in the Northern Hemisphere had recently registered CO2 levels at the milestone figure of 400 parts per million. He also offered some insight into the critical work being undertaken by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and highlighted how the Global Framework for Climate Services would assist decision-makers.

By video link from the US, Dr Christopher Field, Co-Chair of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II, spoke on the IPCC assessments and their possible use for assessing the LTGG. He underlined that setting a standard or goal involves value judgments that go beyond science and respond to "the world we want," considering emissions and associated impacts on wealth, equity, infrastructure and institutions. The third speaker, Dr. Jason Lowe, Hadley Centre, UK Met Office, focused on the climate risks associated with the 2°C target.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed the need to use information from where impacts are felt, while taking decisions that require value judgments due to scientific uncertainties. Some participants supported an evaluation of the LTGG based on economic and social contexts, and the consequences of temperature rise, in addition to climate information.

The second part of the workshop was reserved for questions from the floor.

 

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Cascading Forecast Process

WMO, the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the US National Weather Service convened a workshop in Washington from 18–20 June to promote the need for cost-effective and sustainable investments to develop the capacity of NMHSs to provide warnings of severe weather in order to protect life and property. The workshop focused on how to harness the growing donor interest in helping least developed and developing countries increase their capability to manage the risks associated with hydro-meteorological hazards. It highlighted the need to ensure that investments in modernizing NMHSs are based on the necessary long-term sustainability strategies and a coordinated approach at the global, regional and national levels.

More specifically, participants considered how to strengthen and expand the acclaimed WMO Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) and its Cascading Forecast Process. The SWFDP shares the expertise and sophisticated forecast and training products of top-level global centres with approved regional centres, which in turn make this expertise available to national public weather services in participating countries.

The SWFDP, which was piloted in 2007 in Southern Africa and has since spread to other regions, has proved to be a cost-effective and practical method of strengthening capacity and capability in NMHSs. It has improved the lead-time and reliability for alerts about high-impact events such as heavy rains, severe winds and high waves, thus promoting disaster risk reduction and supporting key economic sectors like farming and fishing. The SWFDP has:

  • improved the quality of national forecast and warning services,
  • facilitated the development of operational partnerships between meteorologists, hydrologists and disaster managers,
  • developed operational partnerships between global, regional and national centres,
  • enhanced the visibility and reputation of participating NMHSs, and
  • increased forecaster confidence and capability.

Workshop participants urged WMO to consolidate the Demonstration Projects into sustainable operational services and to transition the SWFDP into a fully supported global programme. This would coordinate and strengthen the Cascading Forecasting Process worldwide, thereby providing access to high quality analyses and forecasts for least developed and developing countries.

Emphasizing the crucial role of all stakeholders in improving severe weather forecasts and warnings, the workshop encouraged a coordinated approach for donor investments targeting groups of countries with similar needs and regional frameworks. It also encouraged more intensive engagement of the donor community in the mobilization of long-term financial resources to support sustainable operations of the Cascading Forecasting Process.

 

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Regional Training Seminar for National Trainers

To support the development of new and existing trainers in all WMO regions, each year the WMO Education and Training (ETR) Office organizes a Regional Training Seminar for National Trainers. In this seminar, ETR staff and invited instructors work with trainers from national and regional training centers to help them learn the latest theories, techniques and technologies for delivering effective training to the NMHS staff they serve.

In 2013, the Indonesian meteorological service, BMKG, hosted the event at the WMO Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Citeko, Bogor, in the mountains a few hours south of Jakarta. The location is surrounded by tea plantations and small villages, and offers an expansive view of the weather systems moving in from the west and north. The setting was perfect for meteorology and hydrology trainers to reflect on their missions and roles.

The seminar practices what it teaches about training, thus it is highly interactive and combines lectures and large and small group discussions with authentic activities such as planning and developing lessons and delivering short instructive presentations. The topics addressed include the qualities and competencies of good trainers, training systems and processes, learning theory and training design, presentation design, distance learning techniques and tools, and evaluation.

To expand the seminar beyond its two-week length and to reach out to a wider community of trainers, some of these topics are also addressed on the recently updated WMO course management site (etrp.wmo.int). These distance-learning courses use discussion forums, wikis, questionnaires, and other tools to engage trainers outside the classroom. These tools permit ETR to hone the skills of trainers, whether they attend a Regional Training Seminar or not.

Regional Training Seminars are indispensable for addressing the WMO capacity development mission and are provided to all regions on a rotating basis. The seminars help the community of national and regional trainers to further expand their skills and to address training needs in all WMO priority areas. They also offer a rare opportunity for trainers to meet and learn from their counterparts from neighbouring countries and to work with experts eager to inspire them toward higher goals.

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