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zone hole most serious on record
year’s hole in the Antarctic ozone layer was the most serious on record,
exceeding that of 2000. Not only was it the largest in surface area (matching
2000) but also suffered the most mass deficit, meaning that there was less
ozone over the Antarctic than ever previously measured.
were taken by instruments on board satellites of the US National Atmospheric
and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The
measurements were validated by surface-based observations of the WMO Global
Atmosphere Watch ozone network. (Each agency uses different instruments hence
the values obtained are slightly different.)
instruments showed that, on 25 September 2006, the area of the hole reached
29.5 million km2, compared to 29.4 million km2 reached
in September 2000.
to ESA, the ozone hole area reached 28.0 million km2 on 25
September 2006, very close to the maximum in 2000, which peaked at 28.4
ozone mass deficit in 2006 was measured at 39.8 megatonnes on 1 October,
higher than in 2000, which peaked at 39.6 megatonnes on 29 September. Mass
deficit is the amount of ozone missing from a vertical column of air compared
to a baseline measured many decades earlier, before severe ozone depletion
year’s hole was caused by the continuing presence of peak levels of
ozone-destroying substances in the atmosphere, combined with a particularly
cold stratospheric winter.
For more information about monitoring the state of the ozone layer, see box below.
greenhouse gas bulletin 2005: carbon
dioxide levels highest ever recorded
2005, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
reached their highest levels ever recorded. The World Meteorological
Organization’s (WMO) 2005 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published in November
2006, says quantities of carbon dioxide were measured at 379.1 parts per
million (ppm), up 0.53 per cent from 377.1 ppm in 2004.
water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are the three most
prevalent greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere (in that order).
Greenhouse gases are some of the major drivers behind global warming and
bulletin preceded WMO’s participation in the second meeting of the Parties
to the Kyoto Protocol (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), in conjunction
with the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November
of nitrous oxide also reached record highs in 2005, up 0.19 per cent from
318.6 parts per billion (ppb) to 319.2 ppb while methane remained stable at
the full Bulletin, see: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/gaw/ozone/documents/arctic-bulletin-2005-2006.pdf
Helping countries adapt to climate change
High on WMO’s agenda are activities to assist developing countries reduce the negative impact of natural hazards and so enhance socio-economic development. In this connection, WMO seeks to help such countries, especially those in Africa, adapt to the potential adverse consequences of global warming. Africa’s emissions of harmful greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are minimal, yet the continent is at great risk from their negative impacts on the environment, especially drought and desertification and flooding.
recent report on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in Africa, released by
the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
and to which WMO contributed, indicates that the continent’s vulnerability
to climate change is even more acute than had previously been supposed.
well as better forecasting and early warning systems, Africa’s adaptation
needs include improvements in climate and weather monitoring capabilities,
better links between climate research and policy-making, mainstreaming
climate-change considerations into development and sectoral plans and
programmes, education and awareness-raising for governments, institutions and
Management Centre for South-Eastern Europe
has been selected to host the new Drought Management Centre for South-Eastern
Europe. The decision was made at a meeting hosted by WMO in Geneva with the
Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
and climate monitoring
satellites offer a vast source of information for monitoring the climate
system, but the full potential of this source has yet to be tapped.
the requirements will provide a vastly improved information basis from which
nations can make more informed decisions on how to respond and adapt to
include information products, such as rainfall estimates, sea-ice
concentrations and changes in land cover, as well as detailed specifications
on accuracy, stability and spatial/temporal resolution of satellite data.
requirements have been developed by WMO in collaboration with partner
organizations that co-sponsor the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and
the climate community at large.
Opportunities and gaps in past, existing and future satellite data records have been highlighted and specific needs for additional research have been identified.
indispensable role of ground-based data (such as from weather stations and
balloon sondes) needed to complement and ensure quality of the satellite-based
information has been addressed throughout.
the recommendations are implemented, data for applications in many societal
sectors, including agriculture, water-resource management, forestry and
shipping will be more readily available to decision-makers and scientists
across the globe.
with the WMO Space Programme and the Committee on Earth Observation
Satellites, space agencies throughout the world have already begun responding
to the GCOS requirements—a significant first step towards coordinated
for example, is incorporating the GCOS needs in the re-design of its Global
training in satellite meteorology
than 4 000 participants in over 100 WMO Member countries received
face-to-face lectures and training in a special two-week real-time event via
the Virtual Laboratory for Education and Training in Satellite Meteorology
Training, training focused on the use of data and products from meteorological
and environmental satellites. Applications of such data and products include:
weather forecasting, climate change monitoring, maritime safety and
natural disaster prevention and mitigation.
Laboratory Centres of Excellence are based in Australia, Brazil, China, Costa
Rica, Niamey and Oman.
developments in meteorological satellites
ground station for the new ocean observing satellite Jason-2
inaugurated in Usingen, Germany, in September 2006. The ground station is an
important part of the contribution of EUMETSAT (European
Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) to the
Ocean Surface Topography mission—a joint cooperative effort of the Centre
national d’études spatiales (CNES) (France) and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) (USA).
and EUMETSAT will be responsible for operating the system and for the
near-real-time product distribution. CNES and NASA are the developing agencies
for the Jason-2 satellite.
Jason-2 is scheduled for launch in June 2008.
The MetOp-A spacecraft was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in October. METOP-A is the first of a series of three polar-orbiting meteorological satellites to be operated by EUMETSAT over the next 15 years on a mid-morning orbit, crossing the equator southwards at 09h30 (Local Solar Time), as part of the NOAA-EUMETSAT Initial Joint Polar System. Its payload includes eight different instruments for atmospheric sounding and various meteorological and environmental applications, namely the prototype infrared atmospheric sounding interferometer.
takes about 100 minutes to orbit the Earth (ESA)
from drifting buoys
WMO co-sponsors, with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, a body entitled the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel. The Panel meets every year to evaluate the status and discuss the development of data buoy technology, the application of collected data to scientific research or operational services, and new programme initiatives.
year, for the first time, tsunami monitoring systems were included as a
specific theme within the programme and enhanced cooperation was proposed with
the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning and
Mitigation System in the Indian Ocean and its Pacific Ocean counterpart.
Panel agreed that it would promote regional capacity-building initiatives and
pilot projects. For example, countries need to develop their wave-measuring
networks for, amongst other applications, data assimilation into coupled
atmosphere-ocean wave models for real-time forecasting activities, and
Iridium satellite data telecommunication pilot project has been established to
demonstrate the feasibility of using that technology for buoy data collection.
The aim is to deploy some 50 drifters equipped with Iridium technology during
this period (see box below).
the value of weather services
and climate events have impacts on virtually every human being and every
sector of society.
Today, there is a growing capability to provide a wide range of environmental information and services whose effective use can help reduce costs and enhance the benefits of the impact of weather, climate and water phenomena. These range from historical climate data and products to weather, climate, air-quality, hydrological and oceanographic forecasts and include future human-induced climate-change projections and scenarios.
is organizing an international conference to assess those impacts on
socio-economic sectors worldwide.
conference will be held in Madrid, Spain, from 19 to 22 March 2007. It will
focus on the influences and impacts of natural hazards and natural disasters,
weather, climate (both natural variability and human-induced change), air
quality and water, as well as ocean-related phenomena, such as tsunamis.
conference will also focus on opportunities to use environmental information
and services to reduce adverse impacts and enhance social and economic
benefits in sectors such as agriculture, water resources, health, poverty
reduction, tourism, transport, energy and financial services.
will bring together decision-makers, users and service providers to
demonstrate the importance of partnerships between service providers and
users. It will also demonstrate that resources for the development and
provision of the relevant information and services are investments with
significant return to society.
of sectors which are sensitive to weather, climate and water will describe
environmental impacts; how weather, climate and water information helps them
make decisions and reduce risks; and how decision-making could be improved
through new or upgraded services.
event will thus be an opportunity to evaluate and enhance the social and
economic benefits from the use of meteorological, hydrological and related
environmental information and services, particularly in decision-making and
reduction of risks. A major outcome will therefore be improved understanding
of the decision-making process and how information providers need to adapt to
comprehensive publication will subsequently be prepared on the global social
and economic benefits of meteorological and hydrological information,
including case-studies, best practices and recommendations
conference is being organized with the collaboration and support of the
Government of Spain, with the patronage of HM Queen Sofia.
for public weather services
with experts in related fields, WMO has been working on the possibilities of
maximizing nowcasting systems, generating new or improved public weather
service products for community benefit and transferring now-casting technology
from developed to developing countries.
has assisted in the organization of forecast demonstration projects to test
and verify nowcasting applications in an end-to-end forecast process during
the Olympic Games. The first forecast demonstration project was successfully
carried out in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and another will be conducted
Beijing, China, in 2008.
has shown the importance of providing the warnings in a comprehensive yet
user-friendly way and of including advice on the type of response actions to
an end-to-end process to convey the warning information to the community at
risk is the goal, many countries do not yet have the technical capability to
effective nowcasting service.
systems can provide timely and useful information on severe weather hazards in
real-time but the degree of sophistication in the level of nowcasting
applications varies widely. Regional cooperation in the use of nowcasting
techniques and technology transfer would be a means of overcoming some of
WMO is in the process of helping prepare a proposal on the application of nowcasting technology, targeting developing countries, in support of safety of life and protection of property.
many parts of the world, extreme weather and climate events—such as severe
droughts, floods, storms, tropical cyclones, heatwaves, freezing episodes and
extreme winds—are major risk and uncertainty factors impacting the
performance and management of agricultural systems. WMO, in collaboration with
a number of partner agencies, assists
countries to establish a process of assessing these risks and uncertainties
and then developing strategies to cope with them.
Preparedness planning, risk assessment and improved early warning systems can lessen the vulnerability of society to weather and climate risks. Enterprise diversification, contract hedging, crop insurance, weather derivatives and weather index insurance play key roles in formulating agricultural risk management strategies. Crop insurance strategies and schemes reduce the vulnerability of farming communities to risks posed by weather and climate extremes.
to cope with risks include the use of seasonal forecasts in agriculture,
forestry and land management to assist in the alleviation of drought and
desertification and associated food shortages. The use of integrated
agricultural management and crop simulation models with climate forecasting
systems yield significant benefits. Strategies to improve water management and
increase the efficient use of water include crop diversification and enhanced
particularly great value is the application of local indigenous knowledge. A
combination of locally adapted traditional farming technologies, seasonal
weather forecasts and warning methods are important for improving harvests and
challenge is 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 impede future preparedness, as does the need for
effective communication services for the timely delivery of weather and
climate information to enable effective decision making.
policy options to cope with such risks are contingency planning, the use of
crop simulation modelling and the
use of agrometeorological services.
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