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|June 2006||Downloads & Links
Third International Early Warning Conference in Bonn,
Germany (March 2006), WMO revealed a pilot project for an
early warning system to prepare populations against locust
plagues. Progress in weather forecasting has led to
increasingly accurate predictions of conditions conducive to
locust breeding, from which plagues generally emerge.
presentation of the pilot project included an introduction
to locusts and the damage caused by them; the importance of
meteorological information for their monitoring and control;
and technological advances and operational tools in
meteorology that facilitate locust monitoring and
African Pilot Project on Early Warning Systems Desert
Locusts aims to develop more effective and efficient
operational tools and information for monitoring and
predicting locust development and migration at national
level. Another objective is to build capacity to plan
project will target Mauritania and Senegal. In 2004, a
massive locust swarm caused widespread and catastrophic
damage to crops and vegetation throughout areas of North
the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
organized a workshop on meteorological information for
locust monitoring and control in Muscat, Oman, in April. It
was attended by experts and representatives of National
Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and
National Locust Control Centres (NLCCs) of 11 countries in
north-eastern Africa and south-western Asia.
objective was to target roles and responsibilities and to
coordinate and plan more effectively in the event of future
locust outbreaks. A special concern was the dissemination of
daily weather data to the NLCCs and international
organizations and the potential use of advanced weather
forecast model products for locust monitoring and control.
It was recommended that several products should be provided by each NMHS to its corresponding NLCC:
these products could be obtained from the Internet as
graphic files but the ultimate aim is to provide this
information in digital format for input into a
information system. Also, the NMHSs of Oman and Egypt will
be considered as pro-viders for assistance in numerical
weather prediction and satellite products to the NLCCs in
neighbouring countries in their respective regions.
recommendations were made with a view to facilitating this
work. They included the establishment of high-level formal
agreements, joint task forces, and focal points between
NMHSs and NLCCs in each country; training courses and
manuals for NLCC staff on using weather products and for
NMHS staff on locust issues. The facilities of NMHSs and
NLCCs should be improved. WMO and FAO were urged to provide
resources (equipment, training) for countries not able to
provide satellite and NWP products.
FAO should prepare a joint brochure on locust meteorology
for decision-makers, donors and the general public.
An effective climate
information system is one which provides climate information
that is easy to understand, meets users’ requirements, and
becomes available to them in a timely fashion so that they
can use it for taking appropriate decisions.
between climate information producers and end-users ensures
that climate information systems are continuously improved.
Strengthened collaboration among National Meteorological and
Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and related agencies
facilitates the sharing of experiences, technologies and
applications in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and
fishing have tremendous socio-economic potential for all
Experts meeting in
Indonesia in March agreed that, in the South-West Pacific,
the focus of activities should be on strengthening linkages
between the producers and users of climate information, the
use of modern technologies in climate forecasting,
climate-forecast applications and economic impacts of
To this end, it will
be necessary to review and recommend applications of
seasonal-to-interannual climate forecasts. It will also be
necessary to assess the existing level of interaction with
user communities in the applications of climate forecasts
and how user needs can be met more effectively.
risk-management strategies to address current and future
climate change and climate extremes should be formulated and
promoted through improved communication and more targeted
The economic impacts of applying agrometeorological information in the South-West Pacific will be demonstrated through specific case-studies.
Ways and means will
be sought to foster a multidisciplinary approach to applying
weather and climate information in agriculture, forestry and
The use of
remote-sensing techniques will be evaluated for monitoring
crop growth phases, crops lost to climate hazards, and crop
production. Their applications in operational
agrometeorology will be promoted.
A side event on
Climate and Land Degradation was organized by WMO during the
Seventh Conference of Parties of the United Nations
Convention to Combat Desertification (Nairobi, Kenya,
October 2005). (http://www.unccd.int/)
A DVD has been
produced by WMO in collaboration with the Kenya
Meteorological Department and is available upon request.
climate and farming
WMO guidance, roving seminars are being developed by NMHSs
to increase the interaction between NMHSs and the
agricultural community. The overall goal is to make farmers
more self-reliant by helping them become better informed
about weather and climate issues that influence their crop
kind of information can improve farmers’ risk management
and ensure sustainable use of natural resources. Topics will
include basic weather and climate information provided by
NMHS experts, applications of weather and climate in
agricultural decision-making, and pest and disease control
provided by agricultural extension agents.
first roving seminars are planned to be held in Ethiopia and
Fourth World Water Forum was convened in Mexico City in
March 2006. The Forum is the largest international event on
freshwater. It seeks to enable multi-stakeholder
participation and dialogue to influence water policy-making
at the global level, in pursuit of sustainable development.
Forum’s main theme was “Local actions for a global
challenge”. It was addressed through five framework
themes: water for growth and development; implementing
integrated water- resources management; water supply and
sanitation for all; water management for food and the
environment; and risk management.
prepared various documents on risk management through a wide
consultative process, which included a “virtual forum”.
Risk is described therein as a function of the magnitude of
the hazard, the degree of exposure of a society or community
to the hazard and the vulnerability of society against
damage caused by the hazard. The management of risk
consequently has to take into account those three components
to form a systematic process, comprising all forms of
activity. These include structural and non-structural
measures to avoid or limit
adverse effects of hazards.
technical sessions were co-convened: “The importance of
information for integrated water- resources management”,
“Flash floods” and “Drought management”. Two other
sessions were co-convened on the topics of “Integrated
flood management” and “International collaboration in
the World Water Forum theme of “Drought management” (see
previous item), the WMO presentation was entitled
“Managing drought risks—role of improved preparedness
and management”. Current methods of drought management are
largely crisis-driven and there is an urgent need for a more
risk-based management approach to planning at the national
and regional levels. An effective risk management approach
would include a timely and user-oriented early warning
system with rapid dissemination of information to users.
management of, and preparedness for, droughts requires free
and unlimited access to relevant information that allows
monitoring, assessment and prediction.
growing frequency of droughts requires effective use of the
media to better inform and educate the general public and
policy-makers about their potential impacts and the need to
adopt better preparedness and management strategies.
With the development of water resources in arid and semi-arid regions, not only are the irrigated lands more exposed to drought, they have to face their growing frequency. Governments, therefore, should introduce structural and non-structural policies, in parallel with their development plans, to be able to cope with the increasing risks.
should develop policies aimed at effective drought
management. Such policies should emphasize preparedness and
incentives over insurance, insurance over relief, and relief
bottom-up approach followed in local action can complement
the top-down approach and lead to a much more powerful mode
of development. Local communities would become key players
in the development process.
Project Office has been established in Mexico to support the
National Water Commission in its aim to achieve integrated,
sustainable management of Mexico’s water resources.
The Project Office is part of an Agreement of Cooperation signed between Mexico and WMO on 2 September 2005. The Secretary-General of WMO and the Director-General of Mexico’s National Water Commission (CONAGUA) signed the complementary agreement during the Fourth World Water Forum (see item above) in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Forum and the Permanent Representative of Mexico with WMO.
education and outreach
Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) have a
vital role not only in preparing accurate weather forecasts
and warnings, but also in ensuring that those products and
services are delivered to the public and other users, and
that they are properly understood and acted upon for maximum
In this regard, NMHSs also have an important role to play in educating users in how to use such products. WMO has therefore taken the initiative to develop a project to help NMHSs educate their public. The aim is to increase understanding of the usefulness of public weather services, as well as to increase awareness of the uncertainty in weather forecasts. It also aims to promote better understanding of the Earth Sciences in primary and secondary schools.
expected result is that the public will be better equipped
to make informed decisions and to respond appropriately to
official information disseminated by the NMHSs. This will
result in a reduction in the loss of life and livelihood
from severe weather events and better use being made of
weather information in daily socio-economic and leisure
Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) programme is a worldwide
programme in which some 6 700 ships from 55 countries are
currently participating. These ships observe and report
weather conditions on the high seas. The data they provide
are critical for marine meteorologists to determine
prevailing conditions over the ocean, where observations are
scarce. These data are essential input for numerical weather
prediction models to produce weather forecast guidance for
the oceans. They enable meteorologists to improve the
accuracy of their marine forecasts, especially in the
short-term, and they have also been incorporated into
Port Meteorological Officers (PMOs) are representatives of their National Meteorological Service as far as contact with the maritime authorities is concerned. Their role is an important one and the efficiency of the voluntary system of ships' observations often depends on the initiative displayed by these officers.
Meteorological Officers visit ships in their programme
several times a year. During these visits, meteorological
instruments are calibrated or repaired, the meteorological
log books are inspected and the ships’ officers are
trained, if required. Weather briefings are also provided,
international workshop for PMOs was held in Germany in March
2006. Major aims were to inform of recent developments,
enhance communications and promote global standards of
number of recommendations were made. These concerned, among
others, ship security, recruiting more Voluntary Observing
Ships, education and outreach, improved data submission,
proper installation of instruments on ships, reporting on
observing practices, and monitoring.
For more details, about this meeting, see “Recent events”.
Hurricane Committee met in Puerto Rico in March/April.
Emphasis was given to the value of cooperation among the
National Meteorological Services of the North and Central
America and Caribbean region for the exchange of
information, forecasts and warnings.
The 2005 hurricane season saw a record 27 named storms including 15 hurricanes. The list of assigned names was exhausted for the Atlantic Basin and the Greek alphabet was used for the first time. After considerable debate, the Committee decided that the Greek alphabet would continue to be used.
of the deaths and damage associated with five major
hurricanes in 2005, the Committee decided to replace Dennis
with Don, Katrina with Katia,
Rita with Rina, Stan
with Sean and Wilma with Whitney
as a mark of respect for the victims.
Retirement of five names for a single season is unprecedented; four were removed in 2004, 1995 and 1955.
selected must be short, readily understood when broadcast
and culturally sensitive to reflect the mix of English,
French and Spanish cultures throughout the 24 countries in
the Atlantic Basin.
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