The League of Arab States (LAS), with support from WMO and the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), organized a meeting of the Technical and Scientific Committee for the Arab Climate Outlook Forum (ArabCOF) in Cairo, Egypt, from 13 to 14 February, followed by a training workshop on sand and dust storms (SDS) in the Arab Region. The meeting addressed issues related to institutional, financial and technical aspects of the climate outlook and made decisions and recommendations to be submitted to the Permanent Committee for Meteorology of the LAS.
In particular, participants proposed to conduct two Forums per year to issue seasonal outlooks for spring and winter, alternating with online sessions for the autumn and summer outlooks. They also agreed to create a dedicated ArabCOF website within the Regional Knowledge Hub developed by the Regional Initiative for Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources (RICCAR) Project. Key regional and national users will be engaged in the spring and winters forums. Future Forums will also be preceded by training workshops on different aspects of seasonal prediction. Participants recognized the central role of WMO Regional Climate Centres (RCCs) and discussed ways to ensure the coverage of the entire ArabCOF domain by RCC products.
The technical discussions centred on climate features and the main climate drivers for the ArabCOF region, shared the national seasonal outlooks for the coming spring, and also looked at products from RCCs, Global Producing Centres for Long Range Forecasts (GPCLRFs), and the Lead Centre for Long Range Forecasts Multi-Model Ensemble (LC LRFMME). The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) was introduced to participants in a short hands-on training session and the participants developed a consensus-based seasonal climate outlook.
The SDS training session was organized by the LAS with support of WMO, ESCWEA and UN Environment in collaboration with the European Organization for Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) and the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre (BSC). The aim of the session was to enhance the technical capacities of operational and research meteorologists from the Arab States in the analysis, prediction and projection of SDS events, including the use of ground and satellite observations of dust, dust storm modelling and prediction, dust classification, and data assimilation in dust models. Participants discussed opportunities for furthering collective work in order to coordinate joint SDS activities and the priorities to fill gaps and enhance SDS technical capacities in the Arab region NMHSs. Based on these discussions, the participating international organizations looked at how they could support the SDS activities of the NMHSs in the region.
Climate experts from 8 Arab States as well as representatives from WMO, ESCWA and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) attended the Forum. While experts from 14 Arab States as well as from UN Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and the Burkina Faso National Meteorological Service participated in the training workshop. Both events were hosted by the Egyptian Meteorological Authority.