At a ceremony held on the side-lines of the WMO Executive Council meeting in Geneva, representatives from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and WMO have signed a Memorandum on the Asia-Oceania Meteorological Satellite Users Conference (AOMSUC). The aim of the Memorandum is to maximize the use of meteorological satellites for sustainable socio-economic development.
Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, who signed on behalf of WMO, applauded the agreement and noted the invaluable contribution that satellites make to monitoring typhoons, sea-level rise and other phenomena. He pledged WMO’s full support to the seven countries, who were all represented by their Permanent Representatives to WMO.
The participating countries and the broader meteorological community have been meeting annually through the Asia-Oceania Meteorological Satellite Users Conferences to enhance the use of satellite data and products for better weather, climate, and disaster mitigation services. The Asia-Oceania region is prone to weather and other natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones and volcanic activity. For example, super typhoon Haiyan in 2013, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, caused significant casualties and disrupted socioeconomic activities in South-East Asia. Most observations of the typhoon were taken from space, with satellite data playing an important role in determining the typhoon's position and strength and in forecasting its evolution.
The new Memorandum confirms that the Conferences will be continued and will seek to encourage participation from all countries in the region. These annual events will foster cooperation among satellite operators and users in Asia-Oceania and seek to improve the region’s capacity for exploiting satellite data in a cost-effective, collaborative manner, building upon and concentrating existing skills and infrastructure. They will also help to coordinate related activities such as training and efficient data distribution, including in developing and least-developed countries.