The Asian region emphasizes the importance of the ocean

The Asian region emphasizes the importance of the ocean



4 October 2021

Members – I. R. of Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Oman, India, Viet Nam

During the RAII Session last week, a special Ocean Side Event, with more than 80 participants, explored the needs, gaps and priorities in ocean matters across the region. This was a nod to the start, this year, of the UN Ocean Decade of Science for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030) .

Dr. Sahar Tajbakhsh Mosalman, Director of I.R of Iran Meteorological Organization (IRIMO) and the Permanent Representative of Iran with WMO, chaired the event, leading the speakers and audience through a series of topics from the various sub-regions in RAII.

Participants were welcomed by Dr. Wenjian Zhang, Assistant Secretary General of the WMO, emphasizing the need to further enhance regional cooperation between Members. Highlighting the role of WMO in co-leading efforts including WCRPGOOS, Ocean OPS, he promoted the need to strengthen collaboration across the region, to bring economic benefit. Dr Zhang also spoke of the importance of global satellites in ocean activities, and that the Asian region was a leader in this field.

The Keynote speaker, Dr. T. Srinivasa Kumar, Director of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Vice-Chair Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and Co-Chair of the WMO-IOC Collaborative Board (JCB) stressed the importance of regional cooperation to bolster ocean observing and prediction systems as well as to develop the capacity of national agencies. Moreover, he highlighted the earth system approach adopted by INCOIS for its services to be aligned with strategies laid out by the WMO and IOC. These services include ecosystem, maritime safety, tsunami & coastal multi-hazard warning, ocean climate and data services. Calling for further regional collaboration, especially taking advantage of the WMO and IOC regional activities, Dr. Kumar concluded with a message that the impact of ocean services has been measured and quantified to bring economic and social benefits to the whole Indian and regional community.

The ensuing Panelists discussed key regional ocean priorities including -

  • Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) Marine Products – Research & Development
  • Maritime Safety
  • Ocean Early Warning Services in the Gulf
  • Coastal Hazards: Strengthening Capacity & Awareness

Mr. Nadao Kohno, of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and Member of the WMO Standing Committee of Marine Meteorological and Oceanographic Services (SC-MMO) expounded on the work of RSMC Tokyo, which is responsible for analysis and forecasting of western North Pacific tropical cyclones, including issuing storm surge and wave ensemble products. Mr.Kohno explained that cooperation and capacity building of national agencies, with support from RSMC Tokyo, provides general guidance to the region. This information is then passed on to the national agencies to disseminate to their communities.  In his final remarks, Mr.Kohno reminded that the gap in the ocean observation network, and underscored the importance of a robust ocean observation system, particularly along the coast, to enhance the quality of marine services for vulnerable populations.

Dr. Sung Hyup You,  of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Vice Chair of the WMO SC-MMO underlined how 98% of goods imported and exported through Korea are transported via ships, demonstrating the importance of marine services.  The demand for port weather services is increasing in Korea and in response, KMA has implemented an observation network using Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), visibility metres, CCTV and coastal wave buoys. In addition, KMA maintains an ocean portal service and offers customized marine services including for the port, sea routes, leisure, fisheries, disaster and security services via web and smart apps. Lastly, Dr.You shared KMA’s recent launching of a marine weather broadcast service by GK2A geo satellite and its plan to cooperate with the region in application of the technology.

Mr. Mahmood Al-Khayari, from the Directorate General of Meteorology (DGM) in the  Oman Civil Aviation Authority, and an expert supporting the WMO Standing Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction (SC-DRR) illustrated how the DGM provides daily marine forecast, storm surge and tsunami warnings. These services are reliant on an extensive network of met and marine stations as well as wave and weather radars. Moreover, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models are used for forecasting tropical cyclone, waves and storm surge. Oman being susceptible to tsunamis, has established an end-to-end software to detect these events from near and far sources. Additionally, the Indian Ocean (IO) Wave trainings, in collaboration with IOC-UNESCO,  help communities practice evacuation procedures.  

Prof. Mai Van Khiem, of the Vietnam National Center of Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF), and RA II Focal Point on Research, focused on capacity building for marine forecasters and public awareness for the community. To keep up with evolving technology and considering unpredictable weather from the effects of climate change, NCHMF actively offers short-term workshops and trainings to its forecasters. NCHMF also issues forecasts for extreme weather events and uses multiple channels to communicate to the public in easily understood terms. Marine forecast information is also passed on to the private sector, including the tourism sector.

The Side Event initiated the conversation for RA II to move forward with the following suggestions:

  • Promote more dialogue and coordination at regional/national level and take advantage of existing WMO-IOC Collaborative mechanisms. 
  • Promote innovation in technology and research to operations for information dissemination, ocean prediction systems and services.
  • Highlight weather-water-climate linkages – especially for enhanced climate services
  • Enhance coupled ocean-weather forecasting
  • Strengthen:
    • MHEWS and Impact Based Forecasting
    • Integrate ocean observation & open data exchange (WMO data policy and link to IOC-IODE), especially in coastal areas
    • Capacity development ranging from NMHS staff, to users of forecasts,
    • 'Last mile' for coastal inundation including from both cyclones and tsunamis. 
    • Partnerships including with agencies beyond met services (eg. Oceanographic)
    • Joint research activities
    • Full value chain with guidance from the WMO-IOC JCB
  • Further identify regional Ocean priorities, and consider developing a RAII Ocean Roadmap

Details including recordings and presentations are at

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