WMO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) established a new Working Arrangement on the Operation of the Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Programme in July. It commits the two organizations to develop a business case and framework for future collaboration on the operation, expansion and enhancement of AMDAR.
The WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences held a Science Summit on Seamless Research for Weather, Climate, Water and Environment at WMO headquarters in Geneva from 20 to 22 October. The Summit defined a new framework for collaboration to achieve urgently needed breakthroughs in our understanding of the Earth system and to transform knowledge and technologies into concrete services for humanity.
From October 2016 to March 2017, a SIGMET coordination pilot project was conducted by WMO in Southeast Asia in response to a Regional Forum on Meteorological Services for Aviation Safety held in 2015. The NMHSs of three target countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore with Meteorological Watch Office (MWO) responsibilities for the Jakarta, Ujung Pandang, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore flight information regions – actively participated in the pilot project. Web-based tools were made available by the Hong Kong Observatory, China and Japan Meteorological Agency to assist MWOs to undertake their analyses and coordination in real-time, making optimal use of the latest Himawari-8 satellite imagery and other resources.
The WMO Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) has been extended to West Africa to help improve related services in the region. Initiated in 2015 with seed funding from the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA), the new subproject held its first meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 4 to 8 September.
The installation of Chatty Beetles and Barret High Frequency radio network in Tuvalu in July has secured the communication of weather, climate and other warning messages between its scattered islands. The new equipment, provided by the Early Warning System (EWS) network project and supported under the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA 2), will serve as a communications backup in the disaster-prone region in case of failure of the primary telecommunications and Internet services.
A two-week training course on Urban Meteorology, Environment and Climate Services in Malaysia in late summer considered how urban atmospheric processes are, and could be, treated by national/city agencies and research bodies, drawing from the knowledge and experience of participants. Attendees shared insights from some of the coldest and hottest urban areas as well as from the largest and some of the fastest growing.
WMO has helped establish regional climate outlook forums (RCOFs) around the world to produce and disseminate a consensus-based regional assessment of the state of the regional climate for the upcoming season. As of 2017, the RCOF process has completed 20 successful years with 19 RCOFs operational around the world. To commemorate this important milestone, WMO has taken up a comprehensive review of the RCOFs in order to consolidate their strengths, identify gaps and propose improvements.
Since 1992, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) has been operating to ensure that information needed to address climate-related questions are obtained and made available to all potential users. Now, this is more important than ever and GCOS is adapting in order to fulfil the growing demand for robust climate observations.
In August, WMO opened a new office for the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore aimed at improving coordination and strengthening meteorological services for rapidly evolving economic sectors such as air and marine transport. Hosted by the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS), the new Office will serve as the nerve centre for WMO programmes in the region.
At the beginning of the year, the Government of Canada, through Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), granted 10 million Canadian dollars (US$ 7.5 million) for Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydrometeorological Events through the Strengthening of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Southeast Asia. While the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative’s multi-donor trust fund provided US$2.5 million for Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Systems in the Pacific. With these funds, WMO and its partners will be able to continue to support resilience building and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Pacific and Caribbean SIDS and in Southeast Asia.