climate and infectious diseases / Global Atmosphere Watch / La
Niña conditions / Instrument
intercomparisons / Multi-hazard early
warning systems / Satellite
meteorology / Sustainability
science / Sustainable agriculture / Agrometeorological services / Training /
climate and infectious diseases
of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases such
as malaria and meningitis have a devastating effect on human
well-being and socio-economic development.
influences both the development of the malaria parasite and
the behaviour of the carrier mosquito. An estimated one
million people die every year from the disease, while some
500 million are infected, of whom 90 per cent are in Africa.
a combination of climate-forecasting models, research
scientists have recently been able to provide more accurate
predictions of when and where an outbreak is likely to
occur. Ensuing early warnings would enable decision-makers
to identify areas where mosquito nets and anti-malarial
drugs, among other things, could be deployed.
respect to avian influenza, studies show that infected birds
have been the primary source of influenza A (H5N1)
infections in humans. The disease is primarily contracted
through inhalation of infectious droplets, by direct or indirect contact
with infected (sick or dead) birds.
infected migratory birds may be able to carry the highly
pathogenic virus long distances. WMO is taking steps to
evaluate the role of hydrometeorological conditions in the
spread of this disease. It is currently identifying groups,
including National Meteorological Services, having research
and assessment activities related to climate and avian
influenza. The aim is to develop a multidisciplinary
database of contacts.
concentrations reached new highs in 2004
Globally averaged concentrations of carbon
dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in
the Earth’s atmosphere reached their highest-ever recorded levels in 2004
according to the first annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published by WMO on
14 March. CO2 was recorded at 377.1 parts per million (ppm), CH4 at 1783 parts per billion (ppb), and N2O at 318.6 ppb. These values
supersede those of pre-industrial times by 35%, 155% and 18% respectively, an
increased over the previous decade by 19ppm, 37ppb and 8ppb in absolute amounts.
Accurate observations from some 44 WMO Members
are archived and distributed by the World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG),
located at the Japan Meteorological Agency. WMO prepares the Bulletin in
cooperation with the WDCGG and the Global Atmosphere Watch Scientific Advisory
Group for Greenhouse Gases with the assistance of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory. WMO plans to
release the 2005 bulletin in November 2006.
See Press Release
No. 744, Info Note
issued an El Niño/La Niña update on 3 March 2006 for the
first time since April 2005. Observations of the equatorial
Pacific showed that, at the beginning of the year,
sea-surface temperatures had become anomalously cool in the
central and eastern areas. At the time of the release of the
update, tropical Pacific Ocean and atmospheric conditions
were consistent with the early stages of a basin-wide La Niña
agree that development of basin-wide conditions at this time
of the year is highly unusual, leading to some additional
uncertainty as to the extent to which “typical” La Niña
rainfall and temperature patterns might occur for this
computer models predict that conditions will return to
neutral state by mid-year. Seasonal climate forecasts
provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological
Services will take into account the unusual conditions
surrounding this La Niña event, as well as other relevant,
WMO El Niño/La Niña updates offer a global consensus on
the status and evolution of the phases of El Niño and La Niña.
intercomparisons are essential for ensuring the long-term
accuracy and homogeneity of measurements, which form the
basis of weather-, climate-, water- and environment-related
information used for monitoring, forecasting, research and
applications in many socio-economic sectors.
Tenth International Pyrheliometer Comparison
WMO laboratory intercomparison of 19 rainfall intensity
gauges was carried out at three laboratories in France, the
Netherlands and Italy, from September 2004 to September
2005. As well as an evaluation of the performance of the
participating instruments, a standardized procedure for
laboratory calibration of catchment-type raingauges and
general guidance on objective laboratory tests were
formulated. The exercise also provided information relevant
to improving the homogeneity of rainfall time-series with
special consideration given to high rainfall intensities.
quality-assessment procedure initiated in the laboratory
will be followed up by an intercomparison in the field in
Italy, from mid-2007 to mid-2008. This will allow for
continuity in the performance assessment procedure and
result in the estimation of the overall operational error to
be expected in the measurement of rainfall intensity in the
this end, the operational aspects related to the
intercomparison, such as conditions for participation, type
of instrument, intercomparison rules, responsibility of the
host(s) and participants, data acquisition, processing
analysis methodology and publication results have been
reliable and homogeneous solar radiation measurements are
needed in support of climate monitoring and other
the tenth International Pyrheliometer Comparison (Davos,
Switzerland, September/October 2005), 101 pyrheliometers
(including the World Standard Group instruments) were
calibrated (see photo below).
favourable weather conditions yielded a record number of
calibration points for most of the participating
instruments. Cloudy and overcast days were used for
technical preparations and training.
temperature and humidity
are being planned for thermometer screens/shields and
humidity-measuring instruments in Algeria.
further development of a World Standard Group of absolute
long-wave radiometers has also been discussed. The Infrared
Radiometer Calibration Centre, established at the World
Radiation Centre in Davos in 2004, was audited.
early warning systems
Second World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR, Hyogo,
Kobe, Japan, January 2005) adopted the Hyogo Framework for
Action 2005-2015 (HFA). One of the high-priority areas for
action stresses the identification, assessment and
monitoring of risks and the enhancement of early warnings as
a crucial component of disaster risk reduction. Early
warning systems should also be developed with a multi-hazard
initiatives have since emerged worldwide to develop national
and regional strategic plans for disaster risk reduction
based on the HFA. At the United Nations World Summit (New
York, September 2005), governments requested that early
warning systems for all natural hazards should be
established, building on existing national and regional
capacities to complement broader disaster preparedness and
Secretary-General of the United Nations requested a global
survey to be made of the status of early warning systems.
WMO contributed to various aspects of this wide-ranging
survey, a report of which was presented to the Third
International Early Warning Conference, organized by Germany
in March, under the auspices of the United Nations. The
report calls for more detailed assessment of the technical
capacities in all countries with respect to
hydrometeorological and climate-related hazards, which
account for nearly 90% of all natural disasters worldwide.
the report’s recommendations, WMO announced the launch of
a disaster prevention and mitigation survey to assess
scientific and technical capacities on a country-by-country
basis. WMO expects to complete the survey and develop a
comprehensive country profile database later this year.
the mean time, WMO’s regional-level disaster prevention
and mitigation survey will assess and prioritize similar
needs and gaps at the regional level.
floods can strike with little or no warning and can trigger
massive landslides with catastrophic loss of life. They are
among the most destructive of natural disasters, posing
complex problems for communities, decision-makers, National
Meteorological and Hydrological Services and relief
organizations, especially in developing countries.
first ever international workshop on flash-flood forecasting
(Costa Rica, March 2006), there was consensus that the loss
of life and property was unacceptable when appropriate
technologies and know-how were available to prevent flash
floods from becoming disasters.
to reduce the impacts of these events, the experts
participating in the workshop affirmed that an
internationally concerted approach should be taken with the
aim of establishing end-to-end flash-flood warning systems.
also agreed to maintain a platform for the exchange of
knowledge, information and technology (including experts)
while strengthening all elements of the flash-flood
forecasting and warning systems. They also recognized the
need for advanced data-observing systems, computer models
communication systems and response planning.
experts began the testing and application of advanced
technologies through region- specific demonstration projects
of high national and international interest.
See: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/hwrp/homs/homs_en.html and
Release No. 747
in marine meteorology and oceanography from WMO and the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) have
been discussing contributions to developing and maintaining
marine multi-hazard warning systems for tsunamis, cyclones
and storm surges.
for this work is the extension
of communication means for the dissemination of marine
safety information, especially in areas of poor coverage, by
geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites or ground-based
radio systems. Additional research is required to enhance
forecasts and product delivery for marine hazards on all
important issues being addressed in this area are the
operation of and sustained access to Earth Observing System
satellites, and operation of coupled atmosphere-ice-ocean
and the IOC have also been discussing the preparation of a
guide to storm-surge forecasting.
Virtual Laboratory Centre of Excellence for Education and
Training in Satellite Meteorology was commissioned in Oman
in February, marking a significant step in efforts to
strengthen preparedness in dealing with weather-related
natural disasters in the Middle East.
Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the WMO, at the
commissioning of the
seventh Centre of Excellence for Education and
Training in Satellite Meteorology, Muscat, Oman.
new centre is jointly sponsored by WMO and EUMETSAT and is
the seventh such WMO centre of excellence for training in
satellite meteorology around the world. The other centres
are in Australia, Barbados, China, Costa Rica, Kenya and
discipline of sustainability science seeks to understand the
mechanisms that damage global, social and human systems and
their linkages, exemplified by global environmental problems
and threats to human security. It also proposes methods and
visions for repairing these systems and linkages.
Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science is an
initiative launched by the University of Tokyo, Japan. It
has the objective of establishing the world’s highest
level research and education network for sustainability
science, in alliance with leading Japanese universities and
research institutes working in the field.
participating in this initiative, notably in the areas of
sustainable agriculture, perspectives for mitigating global
warming and strategies for global sustainability.
underway to assess and report on the appropriate
agrometeorological criteria to conserve and manage natural
and environmental resources for the benefit of agriculture,
rangelands, forestry and fisheries.
are being documented of successful measures to manage land
use, protect land and mitigate land degradation. Information
on trends in land degradation is being surveyed and
activities concern the establishment of practical
agrometeorological guidelines for the conservation of
natural and environmental resources in harmony with
agricultural production systems and operational guidelines
for fire weather agrometeorology.
constraints in the delivery of agrometeorological products
and advisories are a major issue. The need to establish
partnerships between private sector and agrometeorological
services has been identified through case-studies that have
been carried out on the socio-economic benefits of
agrometeorological services in different regions.
on agroclimatic characterization and database management
have been proposed for regional implementation as
contributions to supporting and improving agrometeorological
preparing a supplement to existing guidelines, in which the
WMO requirements for the training and qualification of
aeronautical meteorological personnel will be presented in a
concise and unambiguous manner. It will also facilitate the
development of specialized syllabi for the initial
qualifications of such personnel.
is currently being collected in relation to the policy,
legal and operational framework as well as best practices
for quality education undertaken or planned by Members.