Commission for Climatology gains new direction

Commission for Climatology gains new direction



13 April 2018
Press Release Number:

Geneva, 13 April 2018 - For the first time in its nearly 90-year history, WMO’s Commission for Climatology has a female president and vice president, with the election of Manola Brunet of Spain (right) and Barbara Tapia of Chile (left).

The historic move came during the Commission’s session, held every four years, from 10-13 April.

“This election will increase the visibility of women in science and operational services as well as in decision-making,” said Ms Brunet, a professor of climatology at the Centre for Climate Change, University Rovira i Virgili, Department of Geography, Tarragona, Spain and the Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK.

“The Commission faces a really important period in the coming years when it has to respond to climate change and has to increase resilience both to climate variability and climate change,” said Ms Brunet. We need to convert scientific knowledge into operational products which promote climate monitoring and prediction worldwide,” she said.

Ms Tapia – who is with the Chilean Meteorological Service (Dirección Meteorológica de Chile) – said the new leadership combined expertise from academia and a meteorological service, and underlined WMO’s language and regional diversity.

The Commission for Climatology leads international technical activities within WMO to obtain and apply climate information and knowledge in support of sustainable socio-economic development and environmental protection.

For instance, it nurtures an extensive network of regional climate centres which issue seasonal outlooks; it is responsible for WMO’s annual statements on the state of the global climate and regular El Niño/La Niña updates; it oversees WMO’s weather and climate extremes archive; and it promotes data exchange and the preservation and collection of historic weather and climate data.

Technical Conference on Climate Services

A Technical Conference was held in conjunction with the commission meeting. It provided an opportunity to review recent progress and next steps needed to support integrated climate services at national and regional level, as well as to identify gaps. It highlighted the key role of the Climate Services Information System (CSIS) as an operational system to underpin and generate actionable user-oriented climate services.

The conference addressed the following thematic threads:

  • Observations and Climate Data Management
  • Climate Monitoring and Assessment
  • Climate Prediction, Projection, and Delivery Mechanisms
  • Climate Information for Adaptation and Risk Management
  • Capacity Development

The conference underlined the huge potential for boosting climate services implementation at national and regional levels, including through innovative arrangements such as twinning and co-design and co-development of products and services.

The conference also highlighted the need to improve climate services and strengthen underlying basic processes including observations, data management and research, and to strengthen partnerships with other key players in the climate services arena beyond the WMO community.

Country expectations from the Commission over the next four years were:

  • to assist them implementing the guidelines and tools developed by the Commission for Climatology experts
  • to facilitate setting up new regional climate centres and strengthening linkages to NMHSs
  • to help demonstrate the benefits of climate services and raise the visibility of the NMHS
  • to support the implementation of national level demonstration projects on building national climate services information system as an important building block to establishing the National Framework for Climate Services.

“There is a real portfolio of opportunities for climate services,” said Roger Pulwarty, who chaired the technical conference. “We need to learn from all we have heard to design effective national climate services and to go the last mile, without losing track of the science and observations involved.”

“We need to consider the full value chain of end-to-end services, including  gender-specific needs and public-private partnerships. We have come a long way and there are still gaps that need to be addressed. However , we have a lot of good guidance products and datasets to help countries assemble the pieces and partnerships to manage present and future climate risks and maximize opportunities,” he said.

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