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Flash floods are among the most dangerous of natural hazards. They can change the course of rivers, bury houses in mud and sweep away or destroy whatever is in their path in a very short time after an observable causative event. The Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) was developed for interactive use by meteorological and hydrological forecasters around the world. The system provides easily accessible, quality-controlled precipitation estimates based on data gathered from weather radar, satellites, measuring instruments, and Numerical Weather Prediction models.
WMO is greatly saddened by the tragic and untimely loss of Konrad “Koni” Steffen. He was one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change and the Greenland ice sheet. He fell to his death, aged 68, in one of the many crevasses that have appeared because of melting ice.
In mid-2018, WMO Members were invited to participate in the trial phase for the monthly reporting of daily climate data (DAYCLI) via the WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTS). Some 20 Members volunteered, and the trial started in January 2019.
The first meeting of the Executive Council (EC) Capacity Development Panel, held virtually from 26–27 August, agreed on the modality of work and set approaches and timelines for delivering its mandate. Participants included members of the Panel, some observers, and staff of the Secretariat. The meeting was chaired by its newly elected Vice-Chair John Ogren, on behalf of the Chair, Dr Agnes Kijazi.
The United in Science 2020 report, the second in an annual series, is coordinated by WMO. This year, it includes input from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme and the UK Met Office. It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action.
Professor Laban Ayieko Ogallo, a pioneer in meteorological education and research, passed away on 19 November after a short illness. Born in Kenya on 20 January 1950, Prof Ogallo was devoted to the scientific community and contributed significantly to innovations in meteorology in Africa.
Dr Netatua (Neta) Pelesikoti, a respected environmental scientist, passed away suddenly on 11 November 2020 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Described as a true Pacific Warrior and “Queen of Disaster Risk Reduction”, Dr Pelesikoti was visionary, inspirational and dedicated to building the resilience of all Pacific countries.
FOCUS-Africa, a new climate services initiative launched in September, hosted its first internal stakeholder workshop from 30 November to 1 December and an external workshop on 9 December.
David Grimes, former WMO President (2011-2019), will become a Member of the Order of Canada for his outstanding leadership in meteorology and for his pioneering development of a global strategy on climate change and disaster-risk preparedness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced WMO and the international community, to rethink its working methods and to adapt many capacity development, education and training activities to address the needs of Members and ensure business continuity.