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Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum assesses coming rainy season


The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal predictions for the forthcoming March-May rainy season, which is vital to agriculture and food security in a region vulnerable to both droughts and floods.
It predicted an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall over northern, western and southern Tanzania; Burundi; Rwanda; much of Uganda; western Kenya; western Ethiopia and much of South Sudan. Specifically, it said there was a 40% probability of near normal rainfall, a 35% probability of above normal rainfall and a 25% probability of below normal rainfall in these areas.
Increased likelihood of near normal (40%) to below normal (35%) rainfall is indicated over much of the northern, eastern and coastal areas, it said, noting a 20% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas.

A Career in Meteorology


WMO has revised and updated its popular booklet A Career in Meteorology as part of the activities marking this year’s World Meteorological Day “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
Since the first edition was published in 2006, weather and the related concerns of climate and hydrology have gained an increasingly high profile and are seen as fundamental to sustainable development. This new edition reflects the changes in our physical, socio-economic and professional environment. It highlights these challenges and reaches out to young people showing them how they could make a vital contribution to the safety and well being of their community and country.

Global Precipitation Core Observatory Launched


WMO welcomes the successful launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
““The GPM Core Observatory, unified with a fleet of satellites, airborne and ground based observations, will form the very first integrated constellation mapping precipitation covering the Antarctic and Arctic Circles,” said Wenjian Zhang, Director of WMO Observing and Information Systems Department.

Boost for International El Niño Research Center


The Governing Board of the International Research Centre on El Niño Phenomenon (in Spanish Centro Internacional para la Investigación del Fenómeno de El Niño, or CIIFEN) has given its support to the growing contribution by the Ecuador-based centre to regional climate predictions and climate services in South America. The Governing Board of CIIFEN is composed of the Government of Ecuador, the national meteorological service of Spain- Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET)- and the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), WMO and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific permanent observers of the Board.
At the 8th meeting of the Governing Board on 24 February hosted by AEMET, in Madrid, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said CIIFEN’s achievements were “remarkable and of great service to the regional and international climate communities.”

Typhoon Committee acts on Haiyan


WMO is organizing an expert mission to the Philippines to assess the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, consider how to help in the rebuilding of meteorological infrastructure destroyed by the tropical cyclone and examine ways of strengthening disaster resilience in the future.
The mission, tentatively scheduled for April 2014, was endorsed by the recent session of Typhoon Committee – a joint body of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and WMO.
The Typhoon Committee meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 10-13 February, discussed the impact of Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines). The typhoon, which struck the Philippines in November 2013 was one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record. More than 7,000 people were killed, mainly as a result of tsunami-like storm surges.

Bosnia and Herzegovina joins MeteoAlarm


Bosnia and Herzegovina has become the 34th member of MeteoAlarm, which provides comprehensive and coherent weather warnings across Europe through the www.meteoalarm.eu site. The platform will offer an opportunity for improving weather alerts in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as contributing to the overview of severe weather events across Europe.
The move was facilitated by the IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession) project “Building resilience to disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey”, funded by the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement, which provided the necessary budget and collaborative mechanism. This project is being implemented jointly by WMO and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and is supported by European meteorological organizations, including EUMETNET and its European Multi-services Meteorological Awareness (EMMA) Programme.

Europe's seas: A valuable asset that must be used sustainably


Many of Europe's marine species, habitats and ecosystems have been threatened for decades. As maritime economic activities are predicted to increase in coming years, a new briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA) argues that the cumulative impact of human activity should be better managed to avoid irreversible damage to ecosystems.

Climate Service Adaptation Programme Kicks off in Africa


“Kick-off” meetings have taken place in the United Republic of Tanzania and Malawi to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa, which aims to build resilience in disaster risk management, food security, nutrition and health.
The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.

WMO: 2013 Among Top Ten Warmest on Record


The year 2013 was among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest year, with a global land and ocean surface temperature that was 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C (0.05°F) higher than the most recent 2001–2010 decadal average.

Roshydromet support for Winter Olympic Games “Sochi-2014”


The XXII Olympic / XI Paralympic Games «Sochi-2014» will be held in Sochi, Russia, on February 8-23 and/ March 7-16, 2014, respectively. Roshydromet (the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring) is responsible for providing hydrological and meteorological support and services to ensure the safety of the guests and participants and the smooth running of the Games.
The city of Sochi is located at approximately 44°N, 40°E on the Black sea coast. Sochi Olympic venues are separated between two clusters: a coastal cluster for ice sport competitions and a mountain cluster for snow sport events.
Roshydromet, supported by the international meteorological community, is responsible for three main activities — meteorological services, avalanche risk advisories and environmental pollution monitoring. Roshydromet is also providing aviation meteorological forecasts to ensure the safety and efficiency of air transport during the period of the Olympic Games.

Model Student UN Focuses on Climate Change


WMO participated in a Model UN conference: Engaging Youth on Climate Issues, organized by the Ferney Lycée International (France), the International Telecommunications Union and hosted by the United Nations in Geneva on 8 January.
Model UN is a global UN programme for senior high school students that gives young people the chance to organize and participate in a simulated UN conference. Students choose a theme, research the topic, elect senior conference officials from among their number, organize their 3-day work programme, and agree on key resolutions. The title of the event reflects the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day: “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.”
“This theme could not be more appropriate and timely,” said a statement from WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud delivered to 600 students from schools across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Central/South American countries to strengthen early warning systems in urban areas


As part of its commitment to promoting the development of multi-hazard early warning systems (EWS) in urban areas, WMO joined with several partners to organize a workshop from 10-12 December on “Multi-Hazard Warning Systems in Urban Areas in Central America.” Hosted by Costa Rica through the National Commission on Emergencies (CNE) and the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), the workshop explored the challenges, gaps, needs and opportunities for strengthening early warning systems and climate resilience in large and medium-sized cities in Central America.
Mr Juan Carlos Fallas, Director-General of IMN and President of WMO Regional Association IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean), summarized the case for strengthening urban early warning systems. He cited key vulnerabilities such as the growing size of cities in the region, the increasing vulnerability of expanding populations, weak infrastructures (such as drainage systems and buildings), and current zoning codes. As a result of these factors, urban populations are highly exposed to hydrometeorological hazards such as severe precipitation and flash floods.

WMO Invites Fellowship Nominations


WMO is inviting fellowship applications from students and researchers, especially from developing countries, who want to further their careers in meteorology and hydrology and related disciplines.
Candidates must complete a Fellowship Nomination Form which must be certified by the Permanent Representative of the recipient WMO Member and submitted within the deadline (in many cases the end of January 2014).
For more than half a century WMO has, through its fellowships programme, cooperated with partners in building and sustaining a critical mass of experts in national meteorological and hydrological services in developing countries.
WMO provides support for short- and long-term fellowships world-wide, particularly through its Regional Training Centres and higher institutions specialized in meteorology, hydrology and allied disciplines, in order to promote specialized training and maximize the use of available resources, WMO has also entered into partnership on provision of fellowship opportunities in China, Germany, Japan, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Black carbon: Better monitoring needed to assess health and climate change impacts


Black carbon is an air pollutant which harms human health and can contribute to climate change – so cutting emissions may have many benefits. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report on the measurement of black carbon in the air.

Typhoon Committee Workshop Focuses on Haiyan


The impact and implications of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) will be reviewed at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) / World Meteorological Organization Typhoon Committee Integrated Workshop on “Forecasting, Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies in the Mitigation of Tropical Cyclone Impact in a Multi-Hazard Environment” from 2 to 6 December 2013.
“This workshop is taking place at a time when the world’s attention has been drawn to the severe disasters brought about by the very strong typhoon Haiyan, which passed across the centre of The Philippines with an impact that was unprecedented in the history of that country, “ said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a message to the workshop.
“Typhoon Haiyan is the fifth named tropical cyclone that has made landfall in The Philippines this year. It crossed an area already devastated by a strong earthquake about one month before. It created a tsunami-like storm surge that the people of The Philippines had never encountered before,” he said.

Improved Weather and Climate Forecasting Saves Lives, Builds Climate Resilience


GENEVA, Switzerland, November 27, 2013 – Countries need to invest in well-equipped and fully staffed meteorological and hydrological agencies in order to better prepare for natural hazards, which could save an average of 23,000 lives a year and provide up to $30 billion a year in economic benefits, according to a new World Bank Group report.
“There is a lot we can – and must - do to reduce the impact of disasters,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development. “We know, for example, that every dollar we spend on early warning saves up to $35 in disaster response. As the intensity and frequency of extreme weather increase as a result of climate change, we have to shift our focus to prevention and preparedness.”
Weather and Climate Resilience: Effective Preparedness through National Meteorological and Hydrological
Services urges countries to modernize their national meteorological and hydrological agencies, also known as NMHSs, so that they can strengthen their capacity to provide early warnings of extreme events such as tropical storms, floods and droughts. The report was jointly launched by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)—a World Bank-managed multi-partner initiative—and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Slow Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close


The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Saturday, Nov. 30, had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, thanks in large part to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA said this year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes. Thirteen named storms formed in the Atlantic basin this year. Two, Ingrid and Humberto, became hurricanes, but neither became major hurricanes. Although the number of named storms was above the average of 12, the numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes were well below their averages of sixandthree, respectively. Major hurricanes are categories 3 and above.

WMO participates in IAEA “Dirty Bomb” Response Exercise


Meteorological observers assisted in a successful two-day emergency exercise involving 58 states and 10 international organizations 20-21 November 2013 to test the national and international preparedness to respond to a simulated dirty bomb explosion. The exercise, codenamed “Bab Al Maghrib” was held in Morocco and organized by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA). It marked the first time such scenario was exercised on such a large and international scale.
“Bab Al Maghrib” is part of the ConvEx-3 IAEA exercise programme. ConvEx-3 exercises are conducted every three to five years and have, until now, always been based on an accident at a nuclear power plant. The scenario this year was different: a dirty bomb explosion with threats of further attacks and widespread radiological consequences.

Experts on Volcanic Ash and Civil Aviation discuss Progress, Priorities


The World Meteorological Organization brought together international experts from volcano observatories, academia, volcanic ash advisory centres, meteorological services and representatives of aviation regulators, engine manufacturers and airlines to discuss progress on ash dispersal forecasting and produce a roadmap for the future.

Norway contributes $10 million for climate services in Africa


The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries


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