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WMO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON CLIMATE, WATER AND WEATHER SERVICES (Geneva, 8-18 June 2010)
Geneva, 8 June 2010 (WMO) – The Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is holding its annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8-18 June, to review progress made in the provision of critical weather, water and climate services and to optimize its programmes in a changing world.
The Council will address a range of programmes and topics to review WMO activities and enhance the capabilities in particular of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of its 189 Members to provide critical weather, water and climate assessments and services. The Executive Council is chaired by Dr Alexander Bedritskiy, President of WMO.
A major topic on the Council’s agenda is the progress made towards the establishment of a Global Framework for Climate Services, in line with the decision taken by World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3). A High-Level Taskforce was established to advise on the content and format of the framework, has held two meetings up to date. Mr Jan Egeland, Co-Chair of the Taskforce, will inform the Executive Council of the work done so far to shape a framework that should respond to the urgent needs of society for user friendly climate information and services (www.wmo.int/hlt-gfcs).
The Council will also consider the outcomes and follow-up of the first Conference of Ministers responsible for meteorology in Africa, which was held in April in Nairobi, Kenya (www.wmo.int/pages/africaconf)
Enhanced early warning systems
Another major agenda item is the progress made in reducing the impacts of natural hazards on lives and livelihoods. In this context, the Executive Council will review “best practices” and new developments in multi-hazards early warning systems.
A major achievement is the use of modern forecast models to extend early warnings by one to two days for the prediction of some high impact weather events. This “Global Interactive Forecast System” combines multiple forecasts of the same situation which allow to improve reliability and lead-time of warnings. A web-based system that allows real time access by interested researchers and scientists has been established.
Initiatives will also be taken to improve flood forecasting and to strengthen capacities of the developing countries to that end. The Council is expected to endorse a recommendation on the standardized precipitation index that was agreed upon by experts as a basis for the onset of early warnings on drought. The Council will also consider the development of a IMO/WMO World-Wide Met-Ocean Information and Warning Service. It will also endorse the further implementation of a Sand and Dust Warning Advisory and Assessment System.
Special attention for the National Meteorological Services of Haiti
Following the earthquake that devastated the country on 12 January 2010, WMO has been working with Haiti and partner countries to ensure the availability of meteorological and hydrological information during the rainy and hurricane seasons, and to support the longer-term development of the Haitian Meteorological Service. The restoration of a bare-minimum level of operational meteorological services during the 2010 Hurricane season is a key objective in the UN Revised Flash Appeal and various bilateral support. A WMO Assessment Mission was carried out to develop medium to long-term plans for the re-establishment of the National Meteorological Services of Haiti.
Responding to volcanic ash disruptions
Following the unprecedented disruptions to air traffic in Europe caused by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano on 14 April 2010, an International Volcanic Ash Task Force (IVATF) was established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and in which WMO participates. The WMO Executive Council will be updated on the latest research related to Volcanic Ash Warning Systems, and will be asked to approve the formation of a Scientific Steering Group for issues of volcanic ash.
Monitoring climate and climate change
The Council will apprise itself of the major modelling efforts being planned and coordinated by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) as input to the fifth assessment cycle of the IPCC.The Council is also expected to support the launch of the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) by WCRP to foster coordination between regional downscaling efforts around the world.The Council is expected to support speeding up the transfer between climate research results and services in order to address the urgent needs of regional and national climate prediction systems.
For the past 50 years, observations from space, integrated with surface observations, have played a vital role in understanding weather processes, and improving weather forecasts and predictions.It is now critical that we achieve the same kinds of advances in the understanding of climate and climate processes, and in the improvement of climate predictions.As with weather, satellites, aircraft and surface based insitu and remote sensing observations will play an increasingly important role in monitoring climate and climate variability. Yet, to ensure success, the following elements have to be further enhanced - a global architecture, contingency planning, quality assurance, data sharing agreements, and international cooperation and collaboration.
On the occasion of this annual Executive Council meeting, Dr Eugenia Kalnay (Argentina), winner of the 54th IMO Prize, will deliver a lecture on “60 Years of WMO: realizing and building upon the visions and achievements of the IMO (the successful vision of the pioneers).” The lecture will be presented on Thursday 17 June, in the afternoon, at WMO headquarters (Room A).
The Executive Council is the executive body of WMO, which meets annually, implements decisions of the WMO Congress, coordinates the programmes, examines the utilization of budgetary resources, considers and takes action on recommendations of regional associations and technical commissions and guides their work programme. It also provides technical information, counsel and assistance in the fields of activity of the Organization, studies and takes action on matters affecting international meteorology and related activities.
The WMO Executive Council is composed of 37 members and is open to all WMO Members: http://www.wmo.int/pages/members/index_en.html
WMO is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on weather,
climate and water.
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