At the 26th Conference of Parties (COP-26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow international attention focused on extreme weather as the new normal and on the high vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the low-lying coastal countries to climate change impacts. Now more than ever, regional partnerships and cooperation between countries are critical to improving ocean services provided by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to mitigate weather impacts, protect people's lives and lessen economic repercussions. Thus, over the last two months, WMO has organized two technical webinars to identify the missing elements in the value chain to deliver better ocean services.
The webinars, organized in the framework of the new WMO data exchange policy, looked at current ocean services in the context of the weather, climate, water service delivery value chain as well as the emerging needs of the modelling and research community to improve marine forecasts. The participants remarked on the need for coherence between the different observation efforts as well as the opportunities for logistical coordination for installation, maintenance, and deployment of sensors in the sea. Some 200 participants joined the webinars providing much feedback and proposing cooperation activities related to ocean services for their regions.
North America, Central America, Caribbean (WMO Regional IV) – Caribbean
The Caribbean frequently experiences extreme weather events at sea and along the coast, thus the region critically requires high-resolution forecasting and associated services. In this regard, during the Technical online seminar: Ocean Observations for Forecasting and Services across the Caribbean, held on 11 November, distinguished speakers highlighted the observational gaps in the region, discussed data availability and exchange, data integration into local products, maintenance costs, vandalism and custom issues. After the discussion, the Caribbean meteorological community and WMO agreed to build an implementation plan to reinforce ocean services in the NMHSs, promote partnerships and their participation on regional level to share information and enhance Multi-Hazards Early Warnings services in the Caribbean region.
South America (WMO Regional III) – South-eastern Pacific
The South-eastern Pacific region needs to improve the understanding of the ocean dynamics and model performance to provide better marine services in its highly vulnerable coastal area. In the Technical online seminar: Strengthening ocean observations and data exchange in the South-eastern Pacific, held on 1 December, speakers shared their experience and described the unique and complex coupling process that characterizes the region. The participants discussed the many gaps and challenges in maintaining infrastructure and improving the region’s ocean data. Accurate forecasting of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) needs good data exchange and coordination between meteorology and oceanography specialists. Consequently, WMO and its Members in the region suggested several alternatives to implement systematic observations. They also emphasized the need for a mechanism for systematic data exchange to boost valuable data in the region. The importance of ship-time opportunities via Oceanographic Institutions and the Fisheries industry was emphasized. There was a general agreement on the need for more coordination and dialogue to optimize what is available in the region to improve the forecast capacities and delivery of ocean services in the entire region.
WMO will continue to develop activities and meetings in the two regions to assist Members with ocean services by strengthening their capacities and promoting regional cooperation.