Weather & Climate – Understanding Risks and Preparing for Variability and Extremes

WMO maintained its committment to Engage Youth in Weather and Climate throughout 2014. The Secretariat welcomed hundreds of high schools students on day trips and for various model United Nations events, staff participated in activities for youth organized by WMO Members and partners and the new WMO-for-youth website regularly issued new pages on diverse topics in order to capture their interest. Activities for Early Career Scientists at the World Weather Open Science Conference, held in Montreal in August, are the subject of the first article of this Bulletin. Women in Meteorology aims to encourage young women to choose a career in sciences and thus follow in the footsteps of successful women in science. This will aslo be a special focus of the upcoming WMO Conference on the Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services.

International Migration in a Globalizing WorldThe Role of Youth, published by the UN Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), shows that youth and young adults, that is those aged 18 to 29, are the most mobile group among all ages. The main reasons for their migration are employment, education, family formation and reunification as well as conflict and persecution. Another factor that is affecting migration – for example, in the small island developing states (SIDS) of the South Pacific – is climate change. In The Impact of Climate Change: Migration and Cities in South America, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) looks at recent initiatives linking population mobility, urban settlements and environmental change, including climate change.

Most migration is toward urban centres where air quality may be especially detrimental as emissions are concentrated and the urban heat island effect can amplify pollution levels. Over the last century, poor air quality has become a critical environmental, economic, and health problem around the world. Air Quality and Human Health, a priority for joint action looks at the some of the issues discussed at the recent World Health Organization (WHO) Conference on Climate Change and Human Health. It is followed by Observing the Global Atmosphere by Instrumented Passenger Aircraft – The Story of IAGOS, which explains how some air quality data is acquired.

This issue of the Bulletin contains three pictographic stories. The first two, in the centrefold, illustrate the UN Climate Summit in New York and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) initiative to support the Maasai Community in Tanzania. The third, on the WMO participation in the UN SIDS 2014 Conference in Samoa, is at the end of the Bulletin.

Economic losses related to geophysical, meteorological, hydrological and climatological events have risen three to fourfold in the United States of America over the past 30 years. Building a Weather-Ready Nation highlights how the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is preparing communities to respond appropriately to these events. In Pinpointing Regional Climate Change, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) seeks to answer: “How severely will climate change affect different regions the US?

The 19th session of the Conference of Parties (November 2013) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. Hazard information is fundamental for calculating risks of disasters before they occur and for documenting the losses and damage afterwards. Two articles in this Bulletin look at issues and needs related to, first, the standardization of information on hazard events and, second, the retrospective assessment of disaster risk.

Our two final articles are Preparing the Use of New Generation Geostational Meteorological Satellites, by Tillmann Mohr, winner of the 58th International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize (2013), and a review of the e-book Communicating Hydrometric Data Quality: What, How and Why.

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