Climate / Tropical cyclone forecasting / Coding the weather / Transmitting weather data / THORPEX / Public weather services / Drought and desertification / Marine safety and environment / Water resources / Education and training / Technical cooperation / Disaster reduction / Satellites
Work is underway to develop guidelines on heat/health warning systems, which will be distributed to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other partners in health and other sectors to alleviate suffering and reduce the impacts of heatwaves in vulnerable regions. A booklet will explain different aspects of heatwaves to the general public. Other guidelines will include best practices for health services and decision-makers. A WMO publication on the socio-economic benefits of climate services (Technical Note No. 145) will be updated.
Training has been provided to meteorologists in
Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao People's Democratic Republic in the preparation of national seasonal climate bulletins and the promotion of networking between forecast producers and users, both within and across those nations.
The concept and structure of a Regional Climate Centre for North America, Central America and the Caribbean have been endorsed and details are now being worked out about implementation.
A climate data management system (CLIDATA) has been installed and training has been carried out at the regional Agrometeorological and Hydrological (AGRHYMET) Centre of the Inter-State Committee on Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), based in Niamey, Niger. CLIDATA will be installed in the nine CILSS countries by the end of 2004.
A preliminary analysis of the availability and accessibility of atmospheric and hydrological data relevant to climate, from the perspective of monitoring and archiving centres was submitted to the 20th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in June 2004.
For more information, see http://www.wmo.ch/web/wcp/wcp-home.html
Tropical cyclone forecasting
By their severity, size, frequency and vulnerability of the areas they affect, tropical cyclones and associated phenomena of storm surges, floods and landslides, are among the worst of natural hazards. An integrated approach to tropical cyclone disaster prevention and mitigation is being promoted, which brings together tropical cyclone and associated storm surge and flood operational and research experts.
Capacity building is a key element in this process and WMO regularly organizes training for tropical cyclone forecasters at its regional centres around the world. Participants are coached in the use of the latest techniques to lengthen lead time of warnings and track cyclone paths with greater accuracy. Regional partnerships are important, as well as efficient telecommunications and new technology.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/index_en.html
Coding the weather
Meteorological data are coded to facilitate their exchange in real-time for all World Weather Watch operations. Any changes to the standard codes are significant, as they have implications for training and resources. A new standard called table-driven codes (the information is defined in sets of tables) is gradually being introduced. These codes are universal and flexible and can be easily expanded to satisfy all observational, including specific national, requirements: vital qualities in the face of fast evolving science and technology and the need for exchanging operationally new parameters and data types. A training programme has been developed to explain the philosophy, structure and use of the new codes.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/DPS/gdps.html
Transmitting weather data
Ensuring the exchange of data in near-real-time among nations is at the core of WMO’s World Weather Watch operations and the task of the Global Telecommunication System. The cost-effectiveness and capacity of its Improved Main Telecommunication Network have recently been enhanced. Procedures and guidance have been refined for use of the Internet for weather and climate data exchange, collecting these data on the Internet via e-mail or a Web interface, as well as on information technology security. Filenaming conventions and IP addresses for the GTS are also under review.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/TEM/GTS/index_en.html
THORPEX: a Global Atmospheric Research Programme
This new 10-year international research programme aims to respond to the challenges associated with accelerating improvements in the skill of 1-14 day forecasts of high-impact weather.
THORPEX will contribute to the development of an interactive global multi-model ensemble forecast system, which will generate numerical probabilistic products which will be made available to all countries. The purpose is to provide accurate, timely, specific and definite weather warnings in a form that can be readily used as decision-support tools in order to reduce the impact of natural hazards and realize the socio-economic benefits of improved weather forecasts and environmental protection.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/thorpex/
Public weather services
The exchange, understanding and use of warnings and forecasts are of particular importance. Current issues are cross-border exchange and public forecast exchange over the Internet, and risk-management principles. Of special interest is the further development of two Web-based projects: the Severe Weather Information Centre (SWIC) and the World Weather Information Service (WWIS). SWIC provides information in real-time about heavy precipitation and tropical cyclones worldwide. On 1 November, climatological data from 1 038 cities in 153 countries were being presented and 94 Members were supplying weather forecasts for 957 cities.
For more information, see:
Drought and desertification
Improving knowledge about the use of weather, climate and water data in the combat against desertification and drought in the context of sustainable development remains a top priority in many countries. Aspects that are also taken into account are food safety and quality, nutritional balance, cultural heritage and agricultural research.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/wcp/agm/agmp_en.html
Marine safety and environment
Operational oceanographic models, product preparation and service delivery systems, parallel to the existing systems for operational meteorology, are major concerns. Such operational meteorological/ oceanographic (metocean) products and services are vital for maritime safety and environmental management. National Meteorological Services work closely with national response authorities to provide a range of meteorological and oceanographic data and services in pollution incidents in waters under national jurisdiction. WMO’s Marine Pollution Emergency Response Support System (MPERSS) ensures that similar high-quality services are also available in international waters in a coordinated manner. On trial since 1994, MPERSS has now been substantially implemented as far as the meteorological components are concerned and some NMSs are running oil-spill models. An MPERSS Website is being developed.
For more information, see
A project called Volta-HYCOS was launched in mid-November for the six countries of the Volta basin: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo. A water-resource information system will be established with up-to-date, high-quality data, easily accessible by users, in particular via the Internet. Institutional and technological capacity at the National Hydrological Services of the six countries will be built up. The main focus will be on strengthening hydrological observing networks, especially with the use of remote-sensing techniques, developing national databanks and promoting regional cooperation, as well as staff training.
For more information, see http://www.whycos.org/cms/
Education and training
Computer-aided and distance learning are key educational tools in the fields of meteorology and hydrology. Other priority areas are the development of case-studies, the provision of educational materials in multiple languages and workshops for instructors.
A subject of particular concern is to ensure a high level of qualifications of forecasters for aviation safety and security.
Provision of access to expertise and real-time data via the Internet, opportunities for instructors to study at training centres in developed countries and the preparation and distribution of lectures in the form of electronic presentations are all items high on the agenda for training centres.
For more information, see http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/etr/index_en.html
Implementation of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS)-Caribbean project nears completion with local training courses on data management and observing networks being held. The NMSs in the Caribbean region are key institutions that contribute to the reduction and mitigation of natural disasters and climate change impacts in the various national socio-economic sectors.
WMO is playing a central role in the reconstruction and modernization of the Iraqi Meteorological Organization (IMO). Assessments of infrastructure, facilities and human resources have been carried out; a forecaster workstation has been installed; and 10 IMO weather observers participated in an intensive training course at the National Weather Forecasting Centre in Amman, Jordan.
Installation of an automatic weather station at Timehri, Guyana, under the SIDS-Caribbeann project
For more information, see http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/tco/index_en.html
WMO is promoting a shift in disaster management approach from relief and rehabilitation to prevention and proactive strategies. Another objective is to integrate WMO’s core technical and scientific capabilities in all relevant aspects of disaster risk management from assessment, planning and prevention, to response and recovery at international, regional and national levels. The role of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is a critical component.
WMO co-chairs, with the United Nations Development Programme, the Working Group on Climate Adaptation and Disaster Reduction of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Inter-Agency Task Force and participates actively in the work of other groups. WMO is also participating in the intergovernmental process leading up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR), (Kobe-Haygo, Japan, January 2005).
Photo: M.C. Larsen/USGS
For more information on the WCDR, see http://www.unisdr.org/eng/wcdr/wcdr-index.htm
The satellite observing system under the aegis of WMO provides data of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface which are vital in many socio-economic sectors, such as water resources, aviation, agriculture, oceanography, marine meteorology, activities pertaining to natural disasters and climate monitoring and prediction. The basic architecture of the space based system of the WWW GOS consists of three constellations: operational meteorological polar orbiting and geostationary satellites and environmental research and development satellites. Every country can benefit from the system.
For more information, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/sat/index_en.html