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Recent events

Commission for Basic Systems13th regular session,
St. Petersburg (Russian Federation), 23 February-3 March 2005

The major objective of the meeting was to improve weather observations, forecasts and alerts through the development of WMOs World Weather Watch Global Observing System and its Global Telecommunications and Data Processing and Forecast Systems.  

The Commission is responsible for the coordination of the operational activities of WMOs Members with respect to the generation and exchange of weather observations, forecasts and warnings. The Commission agreed on standards, procedures and practices which are needed to respond to the scientific and technical progress and the application of new technological systems in meteorology and related disciplines. The Commission took into account the 10-Year Implementation Plan for the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) adopted by the third Earth Observation.  

Some 200 government representatives from about 70 countries and eminent experts participated in the meeting, chaired by the acting president of the Commission, Mr Alexander Gusev (National Hydrometeorological Service of the Russian Federation (Roshydromet)).  The session was opened in presence of officials of the Russian Government and Mr Alexander Bedritskiy, Chairman of Roshydromet and President of WMO.   

In his opening address, Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO, drew attention to the tremendous potential of the WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTS), which interconnects National Meteorological and Hydrological Services around the world, for the timely and reliable exchange of warnings and messages beyond the strict domain of weather, climate and water.   

The Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific Ocean already utilizes the WMO GTS for the exchange of such warnings and WMO is actively joining forces with the other key agencies of the UN system and, in particular, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, in ensuring that such a system may soon become a reality, in the Indian Ocean and other regions at risk.  Another example was WMOs contribution to the international arrangement for Emergency Response Activities related to nuclear accidents, adopted under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  In this connection, WMO plays an important role in monitoring and, through its numerical weather prediction (NWP) capability, predicting the atmospheric dispersion of hazardous materials.  

The Commission examined the future cost-effective constellation of systems for global weather observation, which includes meteorological, environmental and research and development satellites, automatic aircraft weather reporting systems, thousands of merchant ships, and over 10 000 land-based observation stations.    

Progress in weather simulation and forecast models, which in some countries allow reliable forecasting up to 10 days ahead, was reviewed. The Commission defined mechanisms for making these valuable forecasts available to all countries through appropriate telecommunication arrangements for the exchange of information and training of experts in the application of computer output for local weather forecasting. Arrangements for a possible large-scale international experiment on the improvement of weather forecasting was examined.   

Another major agenda item covered urgent requirements for international data exchange and the need to ensure that all countries have access to critical environmental measurements and forecast information.  A critical area is the international coordination of radio-frequency bands.  Radio-frequencies are a much sought-after commodity by governments, industry and the scientific community.  The Commission is actively engaged in ensuring that radio-frequency bands are available for environmental satellites, weather radar systems, and other transmitting systems used for remotely sensing the atmosphere, oceans, water bodies and land surfaces, as well as for related communications. 

The Commission also considered recommendations made at a preceding technical conference on public weather services, aimed at improving early warning methods and operational arrangements for natural disaster risks, such as those stemming from severe or high-impact weather and river flooding. 

Mr Alexander Gusev (Russian Federation) was elected president of the Commission for Basic Systems and Prof. Geerd-Ruediger Hoffmann (Germany) was elected vice-president.

 

 Opening ceremony of the session with Dr A. Bedritskiy, President of WMO (second from right), Mr M. Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO (second from left) and Mr A. Gusev, newly elected president of the Commission (centre).

 

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