Rapid changes in the Arctic and Antarctic environments, which impact on the whole globe, have prompted a concerted international drive to improve weather and climate service delivery for polar regions.
The World Meteorological Organization hosts a conference from 13 to 15 July to finalize plans for a Year of Polar Prediction which will seek to accelerate and consolidate research, observing, modeling, verification and educational activities as part of a wider Polar Prediction Project.
There is growing interest in the polar regions, fuelled by concerns about the rapid pace of climate change due to human activities. The Arctic is heating at roughly twice the global average rate, with consequent reductions in ice and snow cover and melting of glaciers. Pronounced warming is also taking place in West Antarctica.
Polar regions which were previously inaccessible are now opening up to economic and transportation activities. This is leading to more demands for integrated observations and predictions, ranging from hourly to seasonal timescales, to support decision-making and reduce the risk of weather-related hazards – for instance, to Arctic shipping – as well as environmental disasters.
The Polar Prediction Project aims to bridge the gap between the daily and monthly/seasonal time scales, and to improve hazards forecasting.
The Year Of Polar Prediction takes place from mid-2017 to mid-2019 (in order to cover an entire year in both the Arctic and Antarctic) and is an international community effort that involves natural and social scientists, stakeholders as well as representatives from international organizations, funding agencies and operational weather and climate prediction centres.
The Polar Prediction Project is driven by WMO’s World Weather Research Programme. Its international coordination office is hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.
Further details on the Geneva conference are available here.
The full agenda is available here. The conference is open to media.