December 2007 Downloads & Links

Recent events



Workshop on Lead Centre for Long-Range Forecast Multi-Model Ensemble Prediction (Busan, Republic of Korea, 18-20 September 2007)

The representatives of 10 Global Processing Centres (GPCs), including Moscow as a future new Global Processing Centre, attended the workshop, which was opened by Man-Ki Lee, Administrator, Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea with WMO. He recalled the importance of climate prediction and of sharing information for the benefit of all countries. 

The workshop was the first formal gathering of the existing nine Global Processing Centres since their establishment by the extraordinary session of WMO’s Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) in November 2006. The Workshop was focused mainly on refining the functions of the Lead Centre for Long-Range Forecast Multi-Model Ensemble Prediction, exchanging experiences and intensifying collaboration. The tasks of the Lead Centre were reviewed and the participants proposed a phased approach in the development of activities.

workshop participants


Busan, Republic of Korea, September 2007 — Participants in the Workshop on Lead Centre for
 Long-Range Forecast Multi-Model Ensemble Prediction

There was consensus that the Expert Team on Extended and Long-Range Forecast should act as the advisory body for operations of the Lead Centre. Finally, participants urged that further steps be taken for seeking recognition of the Lead Centre at the next session of CBS in 2008.

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Learning from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

Learning from the findings of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to design future strategies for climate change research and observations was the key objective of a workshop organized jointly by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) in Sydney, Australia, 4-6 October 2007.

Some 66 key IPCC authors and other experts associated with the three international programmes discussed ways to sustain and develop future observing systems and to define climate change research challenges, based on gaps and uncertainties identified by IPCC Working Group I (The Physical Science Basis), and Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) in their latest assessments.

The workshop looked specifically at the most critical gaps in basic science and deficiencies in the way in which information about climate change can be used for the estimation of impacts, design of adaptation measures and assessment of vulnerability, particularly on a regional scale. For example, two of the priority items identified, which currently limit our confidence in projections of climate change, are our poor understanding of ice-sheet behaviour and its implications for sea-level rise, and gaps in knowledge about the hydrological cycle.

The workshop also made suggestions on the research necessary to improve the performance of regional climate change models, for example by more rigorous validation of these models with observations of GCOS “essential climate variables” (considered feasible for global observation and essential for the needs of IPCC and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ). Obtaining appropriate data to test regional models, including impact models, is a significant challenge, however, particularly in developing countries. Better connections between global circulation models and regional models were identified as a major field of necessary action, as well as the need for enhanced cooperation between the climate modelling community and those involved in climate change impact assessment and response.  Research into regional climate change could benefit from the model intercomparison expertise built over many years in WCRP and IGBP, most recently refined in the Coupled Carbon Cycle Climate Model Intercomparison Project and in ongoing discussions about a future Regional Modelling Intercomparison Project.

A variety of products are currently being prepared as workshop outcomes. One of these is a comprehensive report and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including participants’ viewpoints on issues to be considered in any possible future climate change assessments. These recommendations were of particular interest to the IPCC Secretariat, which had been involved in the planning process for the event. Sponsored by a range of international and national institutions, particularly from Australia and the USA, the workshop was held in conjunction with the CSIRO-sponsored “Greenhouse 2007” Science and Technology Conference.


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WMO Expert Meeting on National Meteorological and Hydrological Services’ Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction Coordination Mechanisms and Early Warning Systems (Geneva, 26-28 November 2007)

Within the crosscutting framework of the WMO Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, WMO convened this expert meeting to identify opportunities for strengthening roles and the participation of NMHSs in national coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and different operational aspects of disaster risk reduction at the na.tional level, such as early warning systems.

The expert meeting was attended by experts from NMHS and representatives of national coordination and platforms and  civil protection agencies in Brazil, China, France, India, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Mozambique and the USA.  Experts from regional and international agencies involved in the ISDR System including IFRC, ITU, OCHA, UNDP, ISDR, UNESCO-IOC, UNICEF/IASC, ICPAC participated in the meeting and contributed significantly to the discussions

The goals of the meeting were to:

  • Contribute to the development of guidelines for NMHSs’ participation in disaster risk reduction coordination mechanisms at international to national  levels;
  • Review and provide further input into a framework for documentation of good   practices in early warning systems with a multi-hazard approach, particularly pertaining to the role of NMHSs, which had been developed through consultations during the past year.

The meeting concluded that there was a need to develop detailed guidelines that would assist the countries and UN partner agencies operating at the national level to understand the role of NMHSs within the new paradigm of disaster risk reduction, with a strong focus on prevention and preparedness. Opportunities for strengthened participation of NMHSs in disaster risk reduction at the national level were identified, including more proactive participation in national coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction (e.g. “national platforms”) and United Nations coordination mechanisms (specifically in the “one-UN” pilot countries), as well as the establishment of bilateral working relations with agencies that work at the country-level with communities at risk (e.g. national Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies and other humanitarian agencies).

The meeting discussed the outcomes of the first multi-agency Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, convened by WMO in May 2006 and significant developments thereafter, including initiation of several national and transboundary multi-hazard demonstration projects in France, China (Shanghai),  the transboundary USA/Canada Early Warning System Project and new demonstration projects to be initiated with India, Central American countries and in Europe for transboundary flood early warning systems.  Furthermore, the meeting discussed a standard framework for the documentation of good practices in early warning systems in governance, organizational coordination and operational aspects pertaining to the role of NMHS and their interactions with other national agencies.

More information

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Fourth Ministerial Summit of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) (Cape Town, South Africa, 28-30 November 2007)

The first three Summits were set to establish GEO and approve the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) 10-year Implementation Plan. This fourth Summit was the first report on progress to Ministers on the Implementation Plan and requested direction and support. The Secretary-General of WMO attended the Summit and made a joint statement on behalf of the other UN Agencies participating in GEO.

There were two agenda items: the presentation of the GEO progress report, and adoption of the Declaration. An annex to the progress report provided descriptions of 100 achievements submitted by Member States or Participating Organizations as contributions to GEOSS.

Some of the key achievements of GEO over the past two years were presented. There were over 60 exhibits, including those of WMO, International Polar Year 2007-2008 and the World Climate Research Programme. The South African Weather Service staff assisted WMO with its Exhibit by providing a video display and floral arrangements and. above all, the presence of the meteorological staff of the Cape Town.

WMO stand Cape Towm


Members of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology visit their South African
Weather Service at the WMO stand

The concluding statements by four Ministers (China, European Commission, USA and South Africa) gave strong support and commitment to GEO and GEOSS. These statements and others from the Summit participants will allow for the momentum of the GEO process to continue if not increase for the three years leading up to the next Summit planned for 2010.

The GEO meeting also held a plenary session, which was attended by more than 500 participants and reached an agreement on the draft Declaration. Four issues emerged: the need to establish a process to reach consensus on data sharing principles; the scope of the mandate of GEO beyond Earth observations to include data assimilation and Earth system modelling; recognition that radio frequency continuity was critical to Earth observation applications; and recognition of the contribution GEOSS can make through collaboration with UN agencies in response to the needs of UN Conventions. The evaluation of implementation of the first two years of the 10-year Implementation Plan was that good progress had been achieved in seven of the nine societal benefit areas.

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WMO Expert Meeting on Requirements of the Catastrophe Insurance and Weather Risk Management Markets for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (Geneva, 5-7 December 2007)

Within the crosscutting framework of the WMO Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, experts from the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Finland, France, India, Malawi, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA, the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Weather Risk Management Association (WRMA) and the reinsurance sector met at WMO Headquarters.

Following the adoption of the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA): Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, by 168 countries, during the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (January 2005, Kobe, Japan), a shift towards a more proactive and comprehensive paradigm, with a strong focus on prevention and preparedness, is clearly emerging.

WMO’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme was established in 2003 with the goal of strengthening capacities and integrating the contributions of NMHSs in all relevant stages of disaster risk management.  While the core of WMO initiatives are focused on development of NMHSs’ “hazard programmes” to support risk assessment and development of operational early warning systems, through private/public partnerships, the Programme also aims to strengthen NMHSs’ contributions  to the development of financial risk transfer mechanisms, which would allow for the hedging of risks and a wider distribution of remaining risks to reduce the impacts on individual stakeholders.

Participants discussed:

  • The role of WMO and NMHS in financial risk transfer mechanisms such as catastrophe insurance and weather risk management markets;
  • Linkage of weather, water and climate extremes to various economic sectors and development of new financial risk transfer mechanisms for hedging these   risks in developed and developing countries: a number of examples from developing countries were given by the WFP and the World Bank of the benefits realized through cooperation and engagement of NMHSs in providing information to support development of products;   initiatives of the private sector in expanding these markets to emerging economies;
  • Requirements for meteorological, hydrological and climate data and forecast  products and services in support of financial risk transfer markets.

The meeting stressed that a fundamental requirement for weather-related financial risk transfer markets is the availability of historical and real-time systematic and consistent observations of hydrometeorological parameters, complemented with other forecast products providing information on expected patterns of hazards from the next hour to longer time frames. This must be complemented with tools and methodologies for hazard analysis and  mapping. WMO, through its DRR programme, will be initiating a project to assist NMHSs with the development of their “hazard programmes” to support various applications including risk assessment, early warning systems and financial risk transfer markets.

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