The first RTC will be celebrating its 50th year in 2015 and the next issue of the WMO Bulletin will look at the history and achievements of RTCs in more detail. In the meantime, we highlight below some recent courses offered in four RTCs.
Climate change and agriculture – Israel Meteorological Service
The RTC of the Israeli Meteorological Service (IMS), in cooperation with the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation and the Israeli Centre for International Agricultural Development Cooperation, held a course from 9 to 19 June addressing the meteorological aspects of agriculture as one of the four priority areas of the GFCS.
The course investigated the state-of-the-art techniques and methodologies in agrometeorology and agronomy developed in Israel in recent years, which could mitigate the impacts of climate change. It also focused on the ways NMHSs could improve their contact with their users – stakeholders, farmers as well as general public. The course was structured to cover:
- Effects of climate change on agricultural production: precipitation distribution and changes; extreme events – floods, droughts, frost and heatwaves; phenological effects; agriculture and ecology;
- Agrometeorological techniques: advanced irrigation methods; usage of marginal water; climate control in horticulture and livestock buildings; and
- Forecast and risk management for improving agricultural production: short and medium range weather forecasts and their impact on agriculture and the usage of economical tools for mitigating the impact of climate change.
Climate change impacts on the agriculture systems in Africa
The RTC in Florence, Italy, ran a one-week international training course on Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Systems in Africa from 9 to 13 June. The purpose of the course was to build capacities for analysis of climate change impacts on crop production, with a special focus on Northern and Western African agricultural systems.
Experts from IBIMET-CNR (Institute of Biometeorology of the National Research Council of Italy) and other institutions presented the following themes:
- Existing climate data sets: availability, differences and limitations for climate analysis on crop productivity;
- Sensitivity of specific crop phases to climate variability and extremes;
- Methodologies and tools for climate analysis in relation to specific crops’ phases;
- Integrative observed climate trends and climate projections for short-term evaluation of climate change impacts on crop systems; and
- Adaptive responses to climate change and uncertainty in agriculture.
The Course brought agro-meteorologists, climatologists and agronomists together. It facilitated the sharing and development of a common view and language by the 16 participants from Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia.
The RTC is coordinating with WMO for the organization of further courses for WMO Members in Africa and around the Mediterranean. The next course, “Seasonal Forecasts for Agriculture in the Mediterranean”, will be held 22 to 26 September.
Russian State Hydrometeorological University Class of 2014
The 2014 graduation ceremony for international students at the Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU), an RTC in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation, took place on 3 July. Bachelor and Master of Science diplomas were awarded in Meteorology, Hydrology, Ecology, Oceanography, Environmental Management and Economics, Applied Informatics and Public Relations.
The 85 graduates represented 24 countries: Benin, Bolivia, Colombia, Congo, Estonia, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Iraq, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. Both the Government of the Russian Federation and the WMO Education and Training Programme offer fellowships to international students to study at RSHU.
Eight WMO fellows from least developed countries graduated from RSHU in July. They have since returned home and started working as meteorologists or hydrologists in their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. The theoretical knowledge and practical skills acquired by them at RSHU will be a valuable asset for their careers and the national services, where they will share their experiences and knowledge. Some of them expressed the desire to return to RSHU to further their studies in order to obtain doctorates or masters degrees.
RSHU has provided high-level meteorological and hydrological education and training since 1930. Today it counts some 5 000 students from over 40 countries.
1 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence