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Weather research / EnvironmentClimate research / Agricultural meteorology / Tropical cyclones / Aeronautical meteorology / Marine meteorology / Water / Education and training

Weather research
Monsoon research

Climate experts from affected countries gathered in Beijing, China, in May to discuss seasonal prediction of the East Asian summer monsoon. 

As well as the latest outcomes from research and development, they reviewed the current situation and its influencing systems and developed an outlook of the 2005 summertime climate in North-east Asia. 

Another objective was to establish a network of experts in the region which would provide an opportunity for sharing information among countries and thus enhance capacity. 

For more information, see http://www.wmo.int/web/arep/tmrp/tmrp_homepage.shtml


Weather forecasting research

An initiative now underway is a key component in WMO efforts to accelerate improvements in the accuracy of 1-day to 2-week high-impact weather forecasts. 

The THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) will develop new methods of combining predictions from different sources (ensembles) and correcting systematic errors (e.g. from observations and model input). 

Ultimately, the aim is to produce ensemble-based predictions of high-impact weather, wherever it occurs, on all predictable time-scales. 

TIGGE data will be available to all researchers in a user-friendly manner.

Real-time access to the data will be available for the International Polar Year field campaigns in 2007-2008, the Beijing 2008 Olympics Research and Development project; and for regional and global experiments on disaster-management systems, including multi-hazard early warning systems. 

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For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/web/arep/wwrp/wwrp_homepage.shtml and http://www.wmo.int/thorpex/         
   

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Environment

Ozone monitoring in Africa: a success story

Measures taken to control the emission of greenhouse gases are expected to result in a recovery of the ozone layer sometime in the next decade. In order to be able to follow the process, ozone must be monitored in a sustainable manner: WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) is supported by some 80 countries and maintains a network of ozone monitoring stations.

In what was a truly international effort, a GAW team has assisted Kenya in adding an ozone-monitoring instrument (spectrophotometer) to its existing balloonsonde observations, thus filling a major gap in coverage over Africa.

A WMO instrument comparison revealed that the spectrophotometer at the University of Nairobi in Kenya needed extensive and expensive repairs. The University and the Canadian Meteorological Service agreed to bear the costs of refurbishing the instrument and its relocation to the global GAW station in Nairobi.

The GAW Regional Dobson Calibration Centre in Germany refurbished the instrument. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute installed it. MeteoSwiss transported it to Nairobi in May 2005 and will assist in its long-term maintenance and operation. WMO used a dedicated trust fund for assistance to developing countries to cover additional costs.

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WMO coordinates a global network of ozone monitoring stations and assists countries with the installation, maintenance and operation of the measuring instruments (spectrophotometers).

 

For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/gaw/gaw_home_en.html

 

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Climate research

International Research Centre on El Niño (CIIFEN)

CIIFEN and the European Geosciences Union organized the First Alexander Von Humboldt International Conference on El Niño Phenomenon and its global impact which was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in May 2005. 

All aspects of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) were discussed, ranging from the oceans, atmosphere, climate, biology and human dimensions to its impacts in South America and teleconnections worldwide. 

A major outcome of the conference was that CIIFEN and ENSO-related science will have a substantial and useful contribution to make to a wide range of research issues and applications. 

For more information, see: http://wcrp.wmo.int/wcrp-index.html

and http://www.ciifen-int.org 

World Ocean Circulation Experiment atlas 

An important end-product arising from the biggest ocean experiment ever conducted—the 10-year World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE)—is an atlas which is being published in four volumes. 

WOCE was a major research effort of the World Climate Research Programme sponsored  by WMO, the International Council for Science and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. More than 20 countries participated in collecting the data in the 1990s.

The data in the Atlas will provide a baseline against which future ocean changes, whether natural or man-made, can be assessed.  For this reason, all deep-sea research ships will carry a copy. 

The first volume in the series, the Southern Ocean Atlas, a state-of-the-art directory to the waters of the least accessible of the world’s oceans, has just been published.  

Volumes describing the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans will be published in due course. 

For more information, see: http://www.woce.org/atlas_webpage/

or contact Mike Sparrow (mdsp@noc.soton.ac.uk) 


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Agricultural meteorology

Desertification

Within the framework of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, discussions have recently taken place about the contribution of national action programmes to poverty-reduction strategies and integration of the implementation of the Convention into national development strategies and other relevant policy frameworks. Linkages between desertification, migration and conflicts were also discussed.

For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/agm/agmp_en.html 

Together against locusts

National Meteorological Services in locust-affected areas are actively involved in control operations. A major gap remains the identification of clear and useful guidelines on the exact nature of meteorological products that must be provided at regular intervals. WMO provides valuable assistance with near-real-time weather data for locust-affected countries via the World AgroMeteorological Information Service (WAMIS), a centralized Webserver that disseminates agrometeorological products issued by WMO Members. 

The products needed by locust-control specialists include rainfall and wind data, vegetation maps and numerical forecasts both during quiet years and during periods of outbreaks or plagues, when data requirements are more demanding. 

WMO is taking steps to ensure the quality and smooth transmission and exchange of meteorological data. It will also provide additional training of staff at locust control centres and for an exchange of personnel between those centres and Meteorological Services.

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Meteorological information is vital for spraying operations to combat locust swarms. (Photo: FAO)

 For more information, see: http://www.wamis.org/ 

See also item “Catching fish with a climate prediction” in “In the news

 
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Tropical cyclones

Vulnerability to tropical cyclones

A report has just been issued on a project which was carried out in Australia to assess climate change and community vulnerability to tropical cyclones in Queensland. 

One part of the project has updated and extended understanding of the threat of storm tide inundation in Queensland on a state-wide scale, including the effects of extreme wave conditions in selected areas, and estimations of the potential of enhanced greenhouse-effect climate impacts. 

The second part contains an advanced numerical model of housing vulnerability under extreme winds for three parts of the state.  

These reports will serve as valuable reference material for an ongoing WMO project on the combined effects of storm surges/wind waves and river floods in low-lying areas. 

See also item “Hurricane season 2005” in “In the news

For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/index_en.html 


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Aeronautical  meteorology

Meteorological data reporting from aircraft (AMDAR) has proved to be cost-effective, timely and beneficial. These observations contribute to improving numerical weather prediction, operational forecasting, output accuracy and data coverage, particularly in upper-air data-sparse areas of the world. 

Some 180 000 observations per day are currently being exchanged over WMO’s Global Telecommunication System (GTS). This represents an increase of more than 300% since 1998. 

A total of 22 WMO Members and several international organizations now participate in AMDAR. A number of display systems are currently operational and available via the Internet. 

High-priority issues to be addressed include strategies to supply data-sparse areas of the world with targeted AMDAR data and the ability to display them operationally on a PC-based interactive system. 

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Meteorological reports from aircraft provide valuable data for parts of the world
 for which few data are available.

 

For more information, see http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/amp/mmop/index_en.html


 

Marine  meteorology

See item "Adopt a drifting buoy" in "In the news". 

   
   

Water

Monitoring the world’s water resources 

The World Hydrological Observing System (WHYCOS) is a WMO concept which complements national efforts to provide information for water-resource management. It allows for more accurate monitoring of water resources and better understanding of the global hydrological cycle. 

WHYCOS is implemented by cooperating nations through regional components called HYCOS projects. 

Observation of the global water cycle contributes to detecting climate change and variability (e.g. “Are floods more frequent?”) and to the  analysis of trends in precipitation, streamflows and other variables. These variables can be observed by satellites but especially through in situ measurements of streamflows. HYCOS projects generate, collect and share the data through the Global Runoff Data Centre based in Koblenz (Germany), a WMO-affiliated centre (see: http://www.gewex.org/index.html). 

The information collected contributes to sustainable development in areas such as water-resources assessment and planning, ecosystem and water- quality monitoring, agriculture, flood forecasting, drought monitoring and prediction, fisheries management and human health. 

Long-term streamflow measurements are essential for many applications, including the design of dams and reservoirs. 

The lack of water-related information in developing countries has led to food insecurity and drought vulnerability, with ensuing hunger and deprivation. 

The standardization of observation procedures to be adopted under WHYCOS will result in end products that will provide useful inputs to water-related initiatives, particularly in developing countries. Some of these products are flood forecasts and lean-season flow forecasts. In combination with regional climate outlooks, they will help decision-making in various economic sectors. 

There are requests for setting up 19 HYCOS components all over the globe. Three components (for the Mediterranean, southern Africa and West and Central Africa) have already been implemented. Two new projects—Volta- and Niger-HYCOS) are being implemented. A HYCOS for the Himalaya-Hindu Kush area has started with a test phase.   

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Twenty-four countries are participating in the ongoing HYCOS projects, of which 19 are Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In the LDC projects, capacity development of the National Hydrological Services forms an important part.

Negotiations are already advanced with development partners for funding HYCOS projects in eastern Africa, the Caribbean and the Mekong basin.   

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For more information, see http://www.whycos.org/cms/

See also item “Climate forecasts in the electricity sector: the New Zealand experience” in “In the news” 

Water matters in Europe

As in many other parts of the world, the main issues of concern in Europe relating to water have been identified as climate, water monitoring and assessment, extreme floods, drought assessment, forecasting and warning, flood forecasting and warning, networking for contributions to water related initiatives, and public relations and visibility of National Hydrological Services. 

More specifically, work is ongoing to formulate a statement on the scientific basis and limitation of hydrological modelling, priority areas for the implementation of a strategy on education and training in hydrology and water resources, the development of a WMO information system, and implementation of the WMO flood forecasting initiative. 

Groundwater

Groundwater is a vital source of water, providing us with almost one-third of all freshwater. It is increasingly threatened, however, by pollution, mismanagement and extreme demands due to expanding populations and is a matter of global concern. 

WMO supports countries in arid and semi-arid regions to ensure adequate freshwater resources, including through improved groundwater management leading to optimal utilization. 

Appropriate changes in groundwater practice can directly assist these nations alleviate poverty and meet sustainable development goals. 

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Photo:  FAO 

WMO chairs UN-Water/Africa

The UN-Water/Africa represents the regional body of UN-Water (Global) in Africa. WMO has been actively participating in all its sessions since its establishment in 1993.

The third session, held in March, discussed the concrete and collaborative activities which can effectively contribute to the assessment of the regional water situation, as well as water conferences, meetings and forums. 

During the session, WMO was selected to chair the UN-Water/Africa group for the next two years. 

Cooperation in water activities

WMO has been collaborating with UNESCO in the field of water for 25 years. Joint activities include the International Flood Initiative, the International Glossary of Hydrology and World Climate Programme-Water. 

This exemplary collaboration is used as a model by other UN bodies having activities in water.

For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/hwrp/homs/homs_en.html


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Education and training

Training the trainers

Trainers in meteorology and hydrology from Asia and the South-West Pacific have received training to improve their individual skills and effectiveness.

The course covered the use of new teaching techniques and resources, including information and communication technologies, computer-assisted learning and distance learning. They also learned about developing curricula, competencies and improving regional cooperation in training.

 

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