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WMO latest developments (April - August 2020) 
and COVID-19

During the COVID-19 outbreak, WMO has continued to actively support its Members and the working structures of the two Technical Commissions which were established in May 2020. The Joint Session remotely approved the working structures of the new commissions, the terms of reference of the standing committees and study groups, the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons, and their work programs. See the outputs here. All other decisions originally included in the agenda for the joint session were deferred to the in-person session tentatively planned for 9 to 13 November 2020.

The membership of the Standing Committees, Study Groups, and Expert Teams is not yet finalized, but as it stands, the Regional Association VI is well represented. Twenty-eight out of fifty Member States of RA VI, as well as ECMWF, EUMETSAT, and EUMETNET, have nominated experts to serve at the global level; Six out of ten Standing Committees and three out of seven Study Groups are chaired and vice-chaired by experts of Region VI.  New appointments can be found below. 

RA VI Management Group is in the process of aligning the regional working structure to the global structure, as part of the Reform. More information on it will follow in due time. 

ALLIANCE, COUNTRY SUPPORT INITIATIVE, COUNTRY HYDROMET DIAGNOSTICS

The year 2020 is extremely important for WMO that acts as the convener and the technical adviser of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, the Country Support Initiative  (CSI) which is  exactly in the middle between Alliance and the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF). CSI will be submitted to the WMO Executive Council session planned for autumn to agree on the way forward. All Alliance development partners, and many National Development Agencies will be involved in the implementation of the Country Support Initiative. It will be a big step forward in providing accessible data for weather predictions, climate modelling, and research. 

Furthermore, on 16 June 2020, the European Commission approved working arrangements with WMO. The working arrangement will enable a range of activities across 12 thematic areas, including the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency response in humanitarian systems. This presents an opportunity for WMO and its members to sustain in proactive engagement in development projects.  


PROJECTS  

WMO manages and oversees the implementation of a USD 84 million portfolio of projects around the globe. These projects work to improve our Members' capacities to provide weather-, climate-, and water-related services for their communities and thereby protect lives and property from natural hazards and strengthen socioeconomic development.  

WMO Project Management Guidelines and Handbook:  The Guidelines represent the approach WMO takes to project management and outline key stages of the project life cycle that all staff should follow. The Handbook also aims to help WMO to improve concrete processes and procedures for successful project implementation.  

WMO Projects Newsletter
The WMO Projects Newsletter highlights key achievements and provides important updates on various projects. It is released on a quarterly basis. Subscribe here.   

One of the WMO Community Platform ambitions is to be able to collect all the information related to hydrometeorological projects in each Region. The Project module is under review and will be released to 'Community Users" for their inputs once finalized. Knowledge management and sharing within projects ensures long-lasting benefits of the projects' products, services, and results. 

 
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South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS) project/initiative

South-East European countries have made significant progress in their initiative to collaborate on the development of the South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System. WMO coordinates this project/initiative. USAID, the World Bank and the European Union co-funded two project under SEE-MHEWS, and the European Union finances the PRONEWS project that is also part of the SEE-MHEWS endeavour.   

The SEE-MHEWS advisory system aims at 1) strengthening the early warning capacities in the region; 2) providing the operational forecasters of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the region with effective impact-based forecasting tools; 3)  improving the accuracy of early warnings, and 4) ensuring the best possible information for decision–making.   

The current pilot phase is developing a quasi-operational hydrological modelling system for a pilot river catchment in the region as the basis for the development of the comprehensive regional advisory system.   

Several high-resolution numerical weather prediction models (ALADIN, COSMO, ICON, NMM-B) cover an extended area around South-East Europe including parts of the Middle East. The member states of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) run the models quasi-operationally at the center's high-performance computer (HPC) utilizing members' existing computational resources. Switzerland and Israel contributed additional HPC resources for the purpose of demonstration project.     

To improve the accuracy of flood forecasting, the hydrological models calibrated for the pilot river basin catchment will be connected to the numerical weather prediction models. A nowcasting system will be implemented to provide very short-range forecasts at high temporal and spatial resolutions. The next project phase will extend this pilot system to more river catchments and will include a comprehensive regional data assimilation component that is being preliminary tested under this project phase.    

The project countries agreed to exchange all available observational data and forecasting products by signing the Policy on the Exchange of Hydrological and Meteorological Data, Information, Forecasts, and Advisories under the South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System. This Policy provides technical and conceptual principles required to promote data, information, forecast, and warning exchange and interoperability within the region, and follows WIGOS principles. This will allow access to many more observations. The additional data will be used for nowcasting, numerical weather prediction data assimilation, hydrological modelling and verification. All the partner countries in SEE-MHEWS initiative will have access to advisory system and its outputs.  

The system will function as a cooperative platform of 18 countries forecasters, who will identify the potential hazards and possible impacts.  

Website: https://public.wmo.int/en/projects/see-mhews-a       

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Program for Improving National Early Warning System and Flood Prevention in Albania

The Italian Civil Protection Department, World Meteorological Organization, CIMA Foundation, Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia, and ECMWF are implementing an EU-funded Program for Improving National Early Warning System and Flood Prevention in Albania (PRONEWS).   

The project partners support the Albanian institutions in 1) improving the legal and institutional framework relevant to early warning systems, and 2) strengthening the flood forecasting and warning capacities.   

The specific goal of the PRONEWS Program is to enhance the capacity of the Albanian General Directorate for Civil Emergencies to prevent and respond to the disaster.   

One of the core activities of the project is to rehabilitate the automatic meteorological and hydrological station network for the provision of reliable and timely data for forecasting purposes.   

Albania is also an active member of the SEE-MHEWS project/initiative and has signed the relevant data policy agreement. 
 
Website: http://www.pronewsprogramme.eu/  

 

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Danube River Basin Enhanced Flood Forecasting Cooperation project
 

The project launched in 2018 to synchronize and unify the hydrological data information system for the water catchment area of the Danube.  The project is co-funded by the European Union and the partner countries.   

The project aims to explore the current status of the national forecasting abilities wherefrom the partners and the stakeholders could derive the common goals to develop the existing system, thus, improve the forecasting system of the area. WMO is one of the associated strategic partners of the project.   
 

Website: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/dareffort 
 

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Innovation project on Low-Cost AWS for Multi-Hazard Early Warnings in South-East Europe 

In collaboration with the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), WMO started an innovation project with the aim to provide an independent performance assessment of UCAR’s 3D Printed AWS stations (3D-PAWS). The WMO Regional Instrument Center of TSMS in Ankara will manufacture and install stations in parallel to their reference observing network at locations in Ankara, Antalya and Trabzon and conduct comparison measurements over a two-year period. Reports will be issued that quantify the accuracy and fitness of the 3D-PAWS for operational use at national weather services. 

The project is financed by the CREWS Afghanistan project that has identified 3D-PAWS as a potential solution to establish increase the density of observations in Afghanistan at low cost. The project is in progress, but field work has been postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. 

Similar project is under preparation to be conducted in ARSO-Slovenia at the RIC for South East Europe. It will have a focus on nowcasting and NWP data assimilation of observations from low-cost stations.

Low-cost devices have a tremendous potential to increase the number of observations that can be collected with limited financial resources. The data, even if quality might be reduced for some parameters, can be used for many applications such as nowcasting, NWP and other observation-derived products with high spatial/temporal resolution view of the developing weather situation. 
 

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

WMO has developed a set of E-learning resources and courses for the Common Alerting Protocol, which is an internationally recognized standard for dissemination of warnings of extreme weather hazards to the public and to disaster management authorities.


WMO has made available this new set of CAP E-learning resources and courses offered on the Moodle platform. These resources will enable Members to develop their skills for the implementation of the CAP standard in an easy and cost-effective manner, which is especially important during the COVID-19 era.  The CAP platform is accessible at cap.wmo.int

EUMETSAT has opened a new series of online short courses starting September 2020. 
   
The participants will have the opportunity to learn:
  • which are the EUMETSAT and Copernicus free and open data.
  • where to access the data and where to find information about the data.
  • how to handle the data using the tools proposed.
For registration, visit the EUMETSAT site at https://training.eumetsat.int/course/index.php?categoryid=97

In the recent period WMO, in cooperation with various partners, has been developing a new approach for greater engagement between the public, private, and academic sectors operating in the global weather enterprise. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require joint action and strengthened cooperation among United Nations organizations. UN Sustainable Development Goal 17 - Partnerships for the Goals calls on us to encourage and promote effective public, private, and civil society partnerships. It creates a true connection between each of the SDGs and each of our organizations. Without partnership and collaboration, none of the other SDGs will be realized.  

As part of the SDGs achievements process, the Regional Office for Europe has joined the following Regional UN System (RUNS) mechanisms, for advocacy, networking, partnership, and representation:

  • Regional UN System cooperation in the region, via the Regional Collaboration Platform;
  • Regional UN Sustainable Development Group for Europe and Central Asia focused on 17 program countries in the region;
  • UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development;
  • Issue-Based Coalition on Environment and Climate Change;
  • Issue-Based Coalition on Food System. 

The RA VI Management Group established the RA VI Task Team on SDGs to support the process. Austria, Iceland, France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Romania have joined the Team, and membership is open. The first activity of the Team is the participation in the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, conducted every Spring. 

Read more about the SDGs, Contributions of WMO Community, and SDG 6.

Important agreement with the European Commission 

Christophe Jacob (EUMETREP EU Affairs, WMO Cabinet Office) in Brussels has been working closely with Secretariat colleagues over many months to put in place a new agreement between the European Commission and World Meteorological Organization highlighting priority areas of cooperation.
The Commission has officially published it in the Official Journal of the European Union Brussels, 16.6.2020 C(2020) 3882 final.

WMO Secretary-General Cabinet is in the process of arranging a signing ceremony between SG and Commissioner for Research and Innovation (RTD) and involving Commissioner for International partnerships (DEVCO) likely in early September.  

Welcome and congratulations to:

Mr Athanasios Gatopoulos
Brigadier General, Hellenic Air Force
Director of the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS)
Permanent Representative of Greece with WMO
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Dr Charalambos Hajipakkos

Director of the Water Development Department 
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment
Hydrological Adviser of the Republic of Cyprus
---

Mr Mihail Grigoras
Interim Deputy Director of the State Hydrometeorological Service
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova with WMO
---

Mr Radu Cazacu
Deputy Director of Apele Moldovei (Moldovan Waters)
Hydrological Adviser of the Republic of Moldova 

---
Mr Yuri A. Simonov
Head of Department of the River Hydrological Forecast Hydrometeorological
Centre of the Russian Federation
Hydrological Adviser of the Russian Federation with WMO
Chair of the Standing Committee on Hydrological Services
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Mr Rémy Giraud
Expert at Météo-France, France
Chair of the Standing Committee on Information Management and Technology
---

Mr Jeremy Tandy
Expert at Met Office, UK
Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Information Management and Technology
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Mr David Richardson
Expert at ECMWF
Chair of the Standing Committee on Data Processing for Applied Earth System Modelling and Prediction
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Ms Estelle Grueter
Expert at Météo Swiss, Switzerland
Chair of the Standing Committee on Earth Observing Systems and Monitoring Networks
---

Dr Manola Brunet India
Professor of Climatology at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
Chair of the Standing Committee on Climate Services
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Dr Elena Mateescu
Permanent Representative of Romania with WMO
Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Services for Agriculture
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Mr Stefan Klink
Expert at the Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany
Chair of the Study Group on Implementation of the Global Basic Observing Network
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Mr Tobias Fuchs
Director of Climate and Environment at the Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany
Vice-Chair of the Study Group on Integrated Energy Services
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Mr Árni Snorrason
Permanent Representative of Iceland with WMO
Chair of the Study Group on Cryosphere Crosscutting Functions

 

16 September - International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 



 


13 October - International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Concept Note International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction


24 October United Nations Day  


 


5 NovemberWorld Tsunami Awareness Day 


See more UN Observances

  • Executive Council Capacity Development Panel (CDP), 26-27 August 2020 (online)
  • Technical Coordination Committee (TCC-3), 1-2 September 2020 (online)
  • RA VI Task Team Aircraft -Based Observations meeting, 15 September 2020 (full day, online) 
  • Executive Council – Seventy-second Session (EC-72), from 28 September to 2 October 2020 (online)
  • Joint WMO, EUMETSAT, FAO training-workshop for Central and Eastern Europe on the use of satellite products for drought monitoring and agro-meteorological applications, October 2020 (date TBD, online)
  • RA VI RCC Users Forum, 20-23 October 2020 (online)
  • RA VI RCC Coordination meeting, 28 October 2020 (date TBD, online)
  • First Joint session of INFCOM, SERCOM & RB, 9-13 November 2020 (Location TBD) 
  • WMO Data Conference, 16-18 November 2020 (Geneva, TBD) 
  • RA VI session, 20 November (full day, online)

Most of these and other events are listed on the WMO public web site at https://public.wmo.int/en/events/meetings 

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