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December 2006 Downloads & Links

Recent events

International Workshop on Agrometeorological Risk Management:
Challenges and Opportunities

Commission for Agricultural Meteorology—14th session 

Technical Exchange Conference (TECO) on the WMO Information System (WIS)

Extraordinary Session of the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS-E)

Sixth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones




International Workshop on Agrometeorological Risk Management:
Challenges and Opportunities

(New Delhi, India, 25-27 October 2006)  

In many parts of the world climate change and extreme climatic events such as severe droughts, floods, storms, tropical cyclones, heat waves, freezes and extreme winds are large production risks, as well as uncertainty factors impacting agricultural systems performance and management. Coping with agrometeorological risk and uncertainties is the process of assessing agrometeorological risks and uncertainties and then developing strategies to cope with these risks. WMO, in collaboration with a number of co-sponsors, organized this workshop to address these issues, which was attended by 188 participants from 78 countries.  

Weather and climate events and risks to farming from droughts, floods, cyclones and high winds, and extreme temperatures were identified through risk and risk characterization. Approaches to dealing with risks highlighted preparedness planning, risk assessments and improved early warning systems which can lessen the vulnerability of society to weather and climate risks. Enterprise diversification, contract hedging, crop insurance, weather derivatives and weather index insurance play a key role in developing agricultural risk management strategies. The use of crop insurance strategies and schemes to reduce the vulnerability of the farming communities to risks posed by weather and climate extremes was examined.  

A number of strategies were identified to cope with risks. These include the use of seasonal forecasts in agriculture, forestry and land management to assist alleviation of food shortages, drought and desertification. The use of integrated agricultural management and crop simulation models with climate forecasting systems give the highest benefits. Strategies to improve water management and increase the efficient use of water included crop diversification and better irrigation. Especially important was the application of local indigenous knowledge.  A combination of locally adapted traditional farming technologies, seasonal weather forecasts and warning methods were important for improving yields and incomes. Many challenges to coping strategies were identified.  Particularly important was the impact of different sources of climate variability and change on the frequency and magnitude of extreme events. Lack of systematic data collected from disasters impeded future preparedness, as did the need for effective communication services for the timely delivery of weather and climate information to enable effective decision-making.  

A range of policy options to cope with such risks were presented. These included contingency planning, use of crop simulation modelling, and use of agrometeorological services.   



Commission for Agricultural Meteorology—14th session
(New Delhi, India, 28 October-3 November 2006)

A total of 88 participants from 55 countries and five international organizations participated in this meeting, which was chaired by the president of the Commission, R.P. Motha (USA).

The Commission noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the WMO Agricultural Meteorology Programme during the intersessional period and was pleased with the large number of publications issued.

The Commission noted that its new working structure was effective and had enabled it to address a number of emerging issues such as the locust invasion of 2004 and natural disasters, in an efficient fashion.

Activities during the next intersessional period would be focused on the theme “Agricultural products, services and coping strategies to sustain agricultural development for both effective short-term daily operational farming decisions and proactive long-term strategic agricultural planning measures”.

M.J. Salinger (New Zealand) and L.S. Rathore (India) were elected president and vice-president of the Commission, respectively.




Technical Exchange Conference (TECO) on the WMO Information System (WIS)
(Seoul, Republic of Korea, 6-8 November 2006)

Key results/outcomes

  • More that 120 people attended—including members of the private sector;
  • General appreciation on progress made through presentations of technical solutions and prototypes, and live demonstration of services provided by the European Global Centre (GISC) project;
  • Strong support for WIS objectives to provide enhanced services for all WMO programmes; we emphasized that WIS will build on (not replace) the Global Telecommunication System (GTS) and include improvements to the GTS as core component;
  • Emphasized much work required before an operational WIS implementation and need for additional financial and human resources;
  • Support outreach programme for developing countries, and need for continued capacity building. 


Extraordinary Session of the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS-E)
(Seoul, Republic of Korea, 9-16 November) 


Key results/outcomes 

Global Telecommunication System (GTS)

Enhanced guidance on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for GTS and use of Internet by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, including security aspects

procedures for more effective exchange messages, digital information, files

Enhanced procedures Enhanced for effective exchange of data related to tsunami warning: sea-level, seismic, watch and warnings, acknowledgement of receipt. 

Data management

Agreement on WMO core metadata standard based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for all WMO programmes and actions for further development, including increased interaction with ISO. 

Data representation and codes

Review of strategy for migration to table-driven code forms, and enhanced coordination with other commissions, programmes and organizations, especially the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology and the International Civil Aviation Organization. 

WMO Information System (WIS)

Agreement on fundamental WIS services and phased implementation:  collection/exchange of time-critical and operations-critical data (GTS); data discovery; access and retrieval service to authorized users (Internet portals), and timely delivery service

Established WIS trust fund for facilitating additional financial and human resources to accelerate implementation of WIS

Agreement on governance principles and procedures for designation of WIS centres (Global Information System Centres and Data Collection or Product Centres).

Agreement on needed actions, priorities and resources to move WIS implementation forward, including involvement of WMO technical commissions, regional associations and interdisciplinary users communities, especially those relating to disaster prevention and mitigation goals. 

Radio-Frequency Management

Agreement on need for preparatory activities for World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (October-November 2007), that includes a number of important issues (weather radars, passive sensing). 

Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project

Very high degree of support from Regional Association I (Africa). This project is a pilot for a coordinated capacity building initiative to increase the access to and use of numerical weather prediction (NWP) in developing and Least Developed Countries.  It combines resources from developed and developing countries to improve NWP guidance in five developing countries in south-eastern Africa.  It began in November 2006 and will runs until October 2007.  Discussions addressed follow-on efforts, including demonstration projects in other regions. 

Operation of the surface-based and space-based subsystems

The importance of sustainable operation of the Global Observing System, especially in developing and Least Developed Countries was reiterated, and continued optimization of observing elements, to include development and deployment of an advanced composite system, was encouraged.   

Impact of new instrumentation

The Secretariat was tasked to continue monitoring of upgrades and replacement of certain radiosonde systems, especially in developing countries and introduction of new technologies.  

Quality management framework

Overall approach including proposals to develop a closer working relationship with the International Organization for Standardization was endorsed.


Sixth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones

(San Jose, Costa Rica, 21-30 November 2006) 

The sixth of the series of WMO International Workshops on Tropical Cyclones (IWTC-VI) was organized in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 21 to 30 November 2006. C.Y. Lam and Johnny Chan co-chaired this meeting under the special theme topic “Quantitative forecasts of tropical cyclone landfall in relation to an effective warning system”. 

Hosted by the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional of Costa Rica, the workshop provided an international forum for researchers and weather forecasters to discuss prediction and trends in tropical cyclones. The 125 participants from 34 WMO Member countries were tropical cyclone researchers (51%) and forecasters (46%) as well as experts on hydrology, storm surges, disaster mitigation and private risk modelling agencies (3%).  

IWTC-VI featured 32 presentations and nine break-out sessions for informal discussions allowing for in-depth analyses and experience sharing. A set of recommendations for future research was formulated with special regard to the varying needs of the different tropical cyclone regions and to improving operational tropical cyclone forecasting and warning practices.   

The recent high-impact tropical cyclone events around the globe and unusually active hurricane seasons have created a new sense of urgency for increased cooperation among tropical cyclone specialists around the world.   This is needed not only to reduce the damage caused by these natural hazards but also to resolve the link between variations in tropical cyclones and climate change. A special session was convened to draft a workshop statement on the links between human-induced climate change and tropical cyclones. Both the statement and summary are available online at:

For more details of the workshop, please refer to:





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