Articles by theme

WMO congratulates the three scientists leading the research teams that will share the US$ 5 million grant from the United Arab Emirates Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

  • Masataka Murakami, Visiting Professor from the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University (Japan), for his work on pre- cipitation enhancement in arid and semi-arid regions. Professor Murakami’s project focuses on innovative algorithms and sensors dedicated to identifying the clouds most

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Article published in Volume 51, No. 2, April 2002

For the first few months of its existence, the World Meteorological Organization utilized as its Headquarters the offices of its predecessor, the International Meteorological Organization, which were in Lausanne, Switzerland. On 10 December 1951, the Secretariat was moved to its temporary Headquarters at Campagne Rigot, Avenue de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland. This building,...

 


 

There are no obituaries in the April 2008 Bulletin.

 

Bulletin nº
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Photographer: Luke Romick Photographer: Ramanambahoaka Tolotra Andriamparany Mickael
Access to clean water sources brings new life to a community in the village of Mcuba, Swaziland.

During a heatwave, water is a great source of joy

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WMO has continuously focused on promoting and facilitating the development of capabilities within National Hydrological Services in order to assist them in providing the best possible products and services for securing sound and sustainable water resources worldwide. This has been the Organization aim since it began working on issues in operational hydrology and water resources in 1961. Despite the numerous technological and computational advancements in hydrology, the focus has remained on the fundamental needs for robust water resources management and decision-making; that is, data and forecasting.

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On 20 June 2013, the community of High River in Alberta, Canada, found itself under water. With an intense and slow-moving storm stalled over the Rocky Mountains, torrential rain poured down on saturated ground for three days and hastened mountain snowpack melt, leading to rapid swelling of surrounding rivers and creeks. Highwood River, a Bow River tributary originating in the Rockies and cutting through the town of High River, expanded to 35 times its usual width and peaked in 8.5 hours at approximately 1 850 cubic metres per second (cms) of flood discharge. By the time the flood waters began to recede, nearly all of High River’s 13 450 residents and 5 308 home had been evacuated.

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Modifications in water availability and quality over time and space – especially in the context of climate variation and change and growing water needs – call for adaptive management of water resources. The essential requirement for such an approach is detailed knowledge of the availability and usability of water resources in time and space. This implies knowledge of physical systems and their driving processes, and the availability of hydrological data in real time (precipitation, temperature, stream discharge and groundwater levels), together with data on water use and on environmental flows. With this information, it is possible to run water budget models and to know the availability of water for different objectives. These depend on the provision of ecosystem services.

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Water scarcity and droughts are not just matters of concern for water managers. They have direct impacts on the citizens and economic sectors that use and depend on water, such as agriculture, tourism, industry, energy and transport. Water scarcity and droughts also have broader impacts on natural resources at large such as through biodiversity, water quality, increased risks of forest fires and soil impoverishment. But how can such a complex natural phenomena be managed?

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The project for Community-based Approaches to Flood Management in Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic developed self-help capabilities in flood-prone communities in the two countries. The Associated Programme on Flood Management, a joint WMO/Global Water Partnership initiative, worked alongside the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre and a range of country partners for the three years of the project – from June 2013 to March 2016. With funding from USAID through WMO,...

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Hydrometeorological extremes account for more than 90% of all disasters caused by natural hazards recorded between 1994-2013.2 Floods, storms, droughts and extreme temperatures alone affected more than 3 billion people, claimed about 600 000 lives and caused about US$ 2 trillion in direct economic damages during the same period. According to Global Facility for Disaster Reduction (GFDR) of the World Bank, economic assessment of meteorological and hydrological services indicates that as many as 23 000 lives could be saved and up to US$ 65 billion in economic benefits could be realized if National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) were strengthened to produce better forecast, information and warning services.