No. 909 - WMO monitoring meteorological conditions in quake-hit area  

No. 909 - WMO monitoring meteorological conditions in quake-hit area  



15 March 2011
Press Release Number:

WMO monitoring meteorological conditions in quake-hit area  

Geneva, 15 March 2011 (WMO) – The World Meteorological Organization has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

The International Atomic Energy Agency requested the World Meteorological Organization to activate its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism on 12 March 2011 following the 9.0 earthquake and the resulting Tsunami.  WMO is providing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with meteorological information.  WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres in Asia (Beijing, Tokyo and Obninsk, Russian Federation) are closely monitoring the situation. These centres are responsible for developing predictions of the trajectories and spreading of contaminants following environmental accidents with cross-border implications. The information is made available to the IAEA and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the immediate region concerned.  Other Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres in other regions were also activated to provide guidance in their respective regions of responsibility.

At the request of the IAEA, the three lead Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres have provided atmospheric trajectories and dispersions charts that corresponded to the times of the two explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, during which time the winds were blowing to the northeast and east, i.e. toward the open ocean.  No measurement data have been available to verify the trajectories.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is in full operation to support domestic responsibilities, JMA's RSMC Tokyo has also maintained fully its regional operational functions.

Arrangements were made with the ZAMG, Meteorological Service of Austria (Vienna), to provide meteorological support, on behalf of WMO, to the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) in Vienna on a 24/7 basis.  The arrangements will be developed in the first attachment of a ZAMG meteorologist to IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre on Tuesday 15 March 2011.  

Direct coordination with WHO commenced on Monday 14 March 2011. Arrangements were made with MétéoSwiss, the Meteorological Service of Switzerland, to provide meteorological support to WHO Headquarters in Geneva. 

The meteorological conditions in the accident region have so far been mainly off-shore, that is the winds have been dispersing materials introduced into the atmosphere from the accident site toward the open ocean, i.e., toward the northeast and to the east of the NPP at Fukushima.  These conditions will fluctuate as weather systems develop and progress in the region over the coming period.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency has started an English language information site on its home page with specific information site for the earthquake damaged areas. 

Further information can be found by consulting websites of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services including:

Japan Meteorological Agency:

China Meteorological Administration:

Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring:

International Atomic Energy Agency:

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For more information, please contact at the WMO Communications and Public Affairs Office:

Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8315; +(41 79) 406 47 30 (cell); e-mail:

Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Communications and Public Affairs, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8478; e-mail:

WMO website:

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