14th session of WMO Regional Association IV ((RA IV) North
America, Central America and the Caribbean) was held from 5
to 13 April in San José, Costa Rica, to discuss ways of
enhancing socio-economic development and national safety
through international cooperation for the improved
prediction, service provision and research on weather,
climate and water-related events.
In his opening address, Mr Michel Jarraud,
Secretary-General of WMO, noted that the Region had endured
one of the most severe tropical cyclone seasons and if not
for WMO’s global system for observations and warnings, the
loss of life and property would have been higher.
president of the Association, Mr Arthur Dania (Netherlands
Antilles), began the week-long session by stressing the need
for strong cooperation among the Members of Regional
Association IV to enhance the socio-economic benefits
realized from timely and accurate forecasts of
meteorological, hydrological and climatic events.
Priorities discussed included: natural disaster
prevention and mitigation, tsunami early warning systems,
the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS),
implementation of a Regional Climate Centre and the use of
forecasts for the enhanced economic and social well-being of
various sectors of society. Carlos Fuller (Belize) was
elected president of the Association and Paulo Manso (Costa
Rica) was elected vice-president.
newly elected president said it was important to note that
90 per cent of natural disasters were of hydrometeorological
origin and NMHSs played a key role in reducing nations’
vulnerability to hurricanes, floods and other hazards, not
only through forecasts but also through the dissemination of
warnings, community education and collaboration with
emergency managers. In addition, the Association endorsed
the initiatives being undertaken by WMO and the
International Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to create
an internationally coordinated approach to tsunami early
warnings as part of a multi-hazard strategy.
Association agreed on a mechanism for ensuring the
region’s flexibility and adaptability to meet future
challenges while addressing present ones through the
establishment of its Management Committee chaired by the
president of RA IV.
NMHSs of the Region endorsed a resolution on the importance
of developing a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained
global system of systems for observations of the planet—a Global
Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) so that the
world may better predict weather and climate, prepare for
natural hazards, and protect people and property. GEOSS will, over time, provide an important scientific basis
for making sound policy decisions in many sectors of
society—energy, public health, agriculture and others that
shape the quality of everyday life and the capability to
address natural disasters, including tsunamis.
pilot project, focused on Central America, implemented by
the Central American Regional Committee for Hydrologic
Resources (CRRH), working in close collaboration with the
National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica and the
National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology
and Hydrology of Guatemala, was inaugurated on 6 April. The
project, called the RA IV Regional Climate Centre, will
focus on data, services, research and development and
capacity building. It
will enhance climate products developed by RA IV Members,
including seasonal and interannual forecasts, forecast
verifications and climate analyses.
Participating countries will ultimately benefit from
more targeted climate forecasts, particularly for El Niño
and La Niña events.