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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.
WMO and 20 partners held a kick-off meeting from 16 to 17 September to launch FOCUS-Africa (Fully Optimized User Centric Climate Services Value Chain for Southern Africa), a four-year € 7 million initiative funded by the European Commission. FOCUS-Africa aims to deliver tailored climate services to increase resilience and adaptation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in four key sectors: agriculture and food security, water, energy and infrastructure.
Finding out whether there was a relationship between COVID-19 and meteorological, climatological and environmental factors became a pressing concern as the pandemic spread across the globe. WMO supports international COVID-19 research and control efforts in this area by engaging experts through two channels to interrogate the issue and identify where and how meteorological and environmental information can best support research and public health decision-making.