Applications of tourism, transport meteorology ... - E-Library - WMO

Applications of tourism, transport meteorology ... - E-Library - WMO

Vol. 55 (2)

April 2006

Climate serving people

Weather and crops and

the climate in 2005

feature articles - interviews - news - book reviews - calendar

Applications of






International air navigation

Coastal zone management

Offshore industry

Wind energy in China

Tourism in Barbados and


Safety at sea

Sustainable development

in the western

Indian Ocean

The World




Weather • Climate • Water

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regional associations)

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Asia (Region II)

A.M.H. Isa (Bahrain)

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F. Cadarso González Spain (acting)

M. Capaldo Italy (acting)

Q.-uz-Z. Chaudhry Pakistan

M.D. Everell Canada

J.J. Kelly United States of America

W. Kusch Germany (acting)

G.B. Love Australia (acting)

J. Lumsden New Zealand

P. Manso Costa Rica (acting)

J. Mitchell United Kingdom (acting)

F.P. Mote Ghana

A.D. Moura Brazil (acting)

J.R. Mukabana Kenya

S. Nair India (acting)

I. Obrusnik Czech Republic (acting)

H.H. Oliva Chile

Qin Dahe China

J.K. Rabadi Jordan (acting)

B.T. Sekoli Lesotho

M. Shawky Saadallah Egypt (acting)

(six seats vacant)

Presidents of technical


Aeronautical Meteorology

N.D. Gordon

Agricultural Meteorology

R.P. Motha

Atmospheric Sciences

M. Béland

Basic Systems

A.I. Gusev


P. Bessemoulin


B. Stewart

Instruments and Methods of Observation

R.P. Canterford (acting)

Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

P. Dexter and J.-L. Fellous

Tourism is one of the world’s largest

economic sectors and is developing rapidly.

In some countries, it is the main source of

income. Photo: Picture Newsletter


The journal

of the World



Vol. 55 No. 2

April 2006

Secretary-General M. JARRAUD

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In this issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Interview with Mr Francesco Frangialli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

Interview with Sir David King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Applications of meteorology for tourism in Mauritius


by Mohamudally Beebeejaun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Meteorological applications for coastal management in Barbados


by Lorna Inniss, Antonio Rowe, Angelique Brathwaite, Ramon Roach

WMO and ICAO work together for international air navigation


by O.M. Turpeinen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Maritime information for safety at sea by Henri Savina . . . . . . . . . .

Wind energy in China: towards a better service


by Zhai Panmao and Yang Zhenbin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Offshore industry: ocean information for safety


by Johannes Guddal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Marine applications for sustainable development in the


western Indian Ocean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

Making climate serve the people by Michael H. Glantz . . . . . . . . . . . 116

Deluge in Mumbai, India by U.S. De, G.S. Prakasa Rao, D.M. Rase . . 126

The global climate system in 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129

Global crop production review 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Winner of an international weather prediction competition


100 years ago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

50 years ago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

New books received . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

Recent WMO publications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

Visits of the Secretary-General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148

Staff matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

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In this issue

Tourism is one of the world’s largest

economic sectors and it is developing

rapidly. For some countries, especially

Small Island Developing States,

it is the main source of income. In

parts of the developed world, entire

regions are economically dependent

on the tourists who go there to visit

or to practise sports.

Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General

of the United Nations World

Tourism Organization and himself a

native of a winter sports area,

responds to our questions concerning,

inter alia, the impact of weather and

climate on this important industry and

the impact of tourism on climate and

the environment.

Tourism is the second most important

economic activity in Mauritius

and is, moreover, in constant growth.

Its unsustainable development, however,

may aggress the marine environment,

while, conversely, a

degraded coastal area may hinder the

growth of tourism. Mohamudally Bee-

beejaun explains how Mauritius is targeting

an environmentally sustainable

growth of tourism, which will include

better preparation against natural hazards.

This being achieved by a close

relationship between the National

Meteorological Service and tourism


Barbados has a similar situation: a

vital tourism industry, related environmental

problems—notably coastal

erosion—and a vulnerability to natural

hazards, which exacerbate those

problems. Four members of the

Coastal Zone Management Unit

describe their programme, which

focuses on shoreline stabilization

through the use of coastal engineering,

water-quality monitoring, protection

of coastal ecosystems and the

control of development through strict

planning guidelines. They work

closely with meteorologists to

improve predictions with respect to

the potential impacts of rain, wind

and wind-generated waves.

Since its inception, air transport has

been one of the main users of meteorological

information. Pilots and airtraffic

controllers need information on

wind direction and speed, temperature,

surface and upper winds, visibility

and runway visual range. The

International Civil Aviation Organization

(ICAO) and WMO work closely

together to ensure that aviation

requirements can be met without

unnecessary overlap of activities.

O.M. Turpeinen sets out the working

arrangements that are in place. He

expects that the production of forecasts

will become more efficient and,

ultimately, will be fully automated.

All marine vessels are highly vulnerable

to weather and oceanic natural

hazards. Henri Savina explains how

marine safety information is gathered

and provided under the overall coordination

of the International Maritime

Organization (IMO). Requirements of

maritime users have grown in

response to change and innovation in

ship design, economic and competitive

pressures and increasingly

sophisticated shipboard technology.

He highlights some of the key issues

for WMO and IMO in the future.

Zhai Panmao and Yang Zhenbin discuss

how the development of wind as

a significant energy source is being

managed in a proactive and sustainable

way by the China Meteorological

Administration. Major factors being

taken into consideration are climate

change and the prediction of wind

energy and extreme weather conditions.

Offshore structures are exposed to

maritime hazards. Johannes Guddal

explains how a well-developed plan

of action, based on design preparedness

and operations planning can be

used by the offshore industry to mitigate

accidents and damage occurring

from extreme weather and related

wave events.

The Western Indian Ocean Marine

Applications Project aims to contribute

to the sustainable management

and optimum exploitation of

marine and land resources. This will

be achieved through efficient planning

using improved weather forecasts

and climate and ocean predictions.

It therefore focuses on building

the capacity of national institutions in

the relevant fields.

An exceptional feature in this issue is

an interview with Sir David King,

Chief Scientific Adviser to the United

Kingdom Government. Other important

articles are “Making climate

serve the people”, by M. Glantz,

reviews of the global climate system

and of global crop production in 2005

and an analysis of a phenomenal rainfall

event in Mumbai (India) in 2005.



Mr Francesco


Secretary-General of the United

Nations World Tourism Organization


Tourism is one of the world’s

largest economic sectors and it is

developing rapidly. In some

countries, it is the main source of

income. How do you see its


The strong and sustained rise of

tourism over the past 50 years is one

of the most remarkable phenomena

of our time. Tourism has shown itself

to be a strong contributor to the

balance of payments, as well as a

highly labour-intensive activity that

opens up opportunities for the small

businesses that provide it with products

and services. Its impact is

particularly strong in local farming,

fishing and handicraft and even the

construction industry. In developing

countries, especially, tourism creates

many direct and indirect jobs. It represents

fertile ground for private

initiative. It serves as a foothold for

the development of a market economy

where small and medium-sized

enterprises can expand and flourish.

In poor rural areas, it often constitutes

the only alternative to subsistence

farming, which is in decline.

The number of international tourist

arrivals has grown from 25 million in

1950 to 808 million in 2005. This

increase in physical flows is equivalent

to an average annual growth of 7 per

cent over a long period. The revenues

generated by these arrivals—not

including airline ticket sales and

revenues from domestic tourism

have risen by 11 per cent a year

(adjusted for inflation) over the same

time-span. This rate of growth far

outstrips that of the world economy as

a whole. International tourism receipts

reached US$ 622 billion in 2004,

making it one of the largest categories

of international trade. This trend is

about to continue, despite a series of

natural disasters and terrorist threats.

We expect international tourist arrivals

to increase to 1.6 billion by 2020.

How does weather impact tourism

and its sustainable development?

What is the impact on decisions

taken without the use of weather

or climate information and of

using incorrect or uncertain


For tourism businesses, accurate

weather and climate information, as

well as the prediction of extreme

weather events, are becoming

increasingly important, given that the

programming of many tourism activities

is heavily climate-dependent, and

that insurance practices in tourism are

greatly impacted by natural hazards.

It is obvious that, if the planning and

daily operation of tourism activities are

carried out without adequate weather

information, these can greatly affect

the comfort, health and safety of holiday-makers,

jeopardizing the overall

tourist experience. It is especially true

for beach, nature-tourism and other

outdoor activities, where the timing of

programmes, the preparation of

proper equipment, clothing and other

accessories, are highly weather- and


Regarding the longer-term sustainable

development of tourism, I believe that

climate factors and accurate climate

information will be increasingly determinant.

Tourism forms the backbone

of the economy in many local communities

worldwide. Adverse climatic

conditions arising from climate

change can seriously harm tourism

operations and the host communities

that depend on them.

Many destinations can be mentioned.

For example, how would the residents

of Zermatt in Switzerland make

a living without sufficient snow covering

its emblematic peak and the

surrounding ski slopes; how would

tourism-related businesses in

Chamonix in France survive without

excursions to its famous glacier “mer

de glace” that has been retreating

because of atmospheric warming; or

the surfing industry at Waikiki Beach

in Hawaii without large waves and

sunny weather; the tropical paradise

of the Maldives without safe diving

because of frequent storms, reduced

visibility and damaged reefs, or the

golf courses on the Costa del Sol in

Spain without the water to keep them




Does the tourism sector feel it has

enough information on weather

and climate to plan and to serve

clients’ interests? If not, what will

it need from National Weather

Services and WMO to help develop

its activities in a sustainable


Weather patterns are shifting; climate

variability and climate change will

constitute an increasing risk for

tourism operations in many destinations.

Governments and the private

sector should place importance on the

management and use of climate information

and incorporate climate factors

in tourism policies, development and

management plans. For this, effective

coordination between environmental

and tourism organizations is determinant

for further research,

awareness-raising and capacity-building,

as well as the development and

application of adaptation and mitigation

measures in the tourism sector.

We are still in the phase of raising

awareness about weather- and

climate-related information. An

increasing number of severe natural

disasters contribute to speeding up

this process. I believe that the support

of National Weather Services and of

WMO is crucial for this purpose. There

is good evidence in the travel media,

for example on Websites where

climate aspects are incorporated as

part of tourist information. It is hard,

however, to estimate to what extent

the tourism sector uses the information

produced by National Weather

Services and whether it is done in an

effective manner. This is an interesting

subject: perhaps WMO and UNWTO

could engage in a joint survey and

analysis. Guidelines could then be

developed and good practices identified

as to how public and private

tourism organizations—and the

tourists themselves—could better use

climate information.

In this context, WTO is currently

preparing project proposals on climatechange

adaptation in tourism, which

will be submitted to the Global

Environmental Facility. A series of pilot

projects will assist selected Small

Island Developing States (SIDS) in

order to develop and demonstrate

adaptation policies and techniques for

beach destinations and coastal

ecosystems. National committees will

be formed and we expect that National

Weather Services will be fully


How does the tourism sector use

weather forecasts for short-term

decision-making? Does it also use

climate forecasts for mid-term

decisions and climate change

projections for long-term planning?

Favourable climatic conditions are key

attractions for holiday-makers. It is

especially true for beach destinations

and the conventional sun-and-sea

segment, which is still the main form

of tourism. Tourists are attracted to

Mediterranean coasts and tropical

islands by ample sunshine, warm

temperatures and little precipitation, to

escape the harsher seasons and

weather conditions of their home

countries. Mountain tourism and

winter sports are also highly dependent

on favourable climate and weather

conditions, such as adequate precipitation

and snow levels. In general,

accurate climate and weather information

is key for planning and carrying

out trips and outdoor activities.

In spite of the evident importance of

climate factors for the long-term viability

of tourism businesses, climate

information is used mostly for shortterm

decision-making for tourism

operations and programming of activities

through weather forecasts. The

strategic importance of climate factors

in tourism planning and development

was emphasized at the first

International Conference on Climate

Change and Tourism, convened by

UNWTO in Djerba, Tunisia, in 2003,

with the collaboration of six UN agencies,

including WMO. Nevertheless,

the use of long-term climate-change

projections is currently very limited in

the tourism sector and there is much

to be done in this field.

A SIDS pilot country project is

currently underway in Fiji, where a

study revealed that various coastal

resort areas are located in zones at risk

from tropical cyclones. It is obvious

that, when decisions were taken on

designating some of these areas for

resort development, climate information

was not taken fully into

consideration. The project aims to

develop a climate-change adaptation

strategy for tourism in Fiji as part of an

overall risk-management framework

with a long-term perspective. Mid- and

long-term climate change projection

and climate information will therefore

be critical in this process.

How does the sector cope with

changes in seasonal climate

patterns? Is projected climate

change expected to affect tourism?

Climatic conditions are dynamically

changing, posing new risks to tourism

operations. The tourism sector needs

to develop its capacity to adapt in

order to maintain its viability, to

continue generating socio-economic

benefits for the host communities and

to provide quality experiences for


Climate—in the form of daily weather,

extreme events, or gradual changes—

impacts tourism both directly and

indirectly. Directly, climate variability

and changing weather patterns can

affect the planning of tourism

programmes and daily operations.

Changing weather patterns at holiday

destinations can significantly affect

holiday-makers’ comfort, their decisions

about making trips and, finally,

the tourist flow. For example, a

warmer summer in Europe can reduce

the motivation of inhabitants of northern

countries to visit the

Mediterranean coasts that can be

excessively hot in summertime; destinations

closer to home can be more

attractive. If the usual high season of

northern hemisphere summer months

becomes too hot for tourists, a shift

might occur towards taking holidays in

cooler months, further inland or higher

altitude areas that are cooler. Climate

change can bring both problems and

opportunities. The tourism sector

needs to understand these trends in

order to be prepared and adapt.

Climate change can have a significant,

indirect impact on tourism activities by

altering the natural environment that

represents both a key attraction and

basic resource for tourism. Examples

of negative impacts are coastal

erosion, damage to coral reefs and

other sensitive and biodiversity-rich

ecosystems, or insufficient snow

coverage at winter sports destinations.

Problems with water supply

affect a wide range of destinations,

especially when it is considered that

the high holiday season and increased

demand for water coincides with dry

periods and reduced water-supplies.

A more personal observation will illustrate

the overall point I wish to make.

It so happens that, aside from my

functions within the United Nations

system, I am also the deputy mayor of

my village in the French Alps, Morzine-

Avoriaz, a community of 3 000 people

on the Swiss border, 90 km from

Geneva. Morzine-Avoriaz is a village

like any other, but for the fact that it is

a popular destination for skiing and

other winter sports. It has an accommodation

capacity of 37 000 beds, half

in the valley at an altitude of 1 000 m

and the other half in a new resort at

1 800 m.

As seen from my village, climate

change is not a potential problem but a

reality that is being experienced now.

Nowadays, the lower limit of the snow

cover on the southern slopes, depending

on the year, is 200-300 m higher

than it was 50 years ago. In the 1970s,

at an altitude of 1 800 m, we used to

receive 13-14 m of cumulative snowfall

during the winter. Today, we

receive half that: 6-7 m. Our main

concern stems not so much from

warming itself, but rather low precipitation

in winter. In the neighbouring

Chamonix Valley, the glaciers of the

Mont Blanc massif—a major tourism

attraction—have retreated some

500 m, i.e. they are back to their levels

of the 1960s, before their advance of

the 1970s until 1983.

In this part of the northern Alps, the ski

industry is now concentrated at highaltitude

resorts. It has survived, thanks

to better ski-run grooming and the

introduction of snow cannons, but the

latter is only a palliative measure that

itself creates other environmental

problems regarding water consumption

and visual and noise pollution.

We are worried about the future. A

study by the French Meteorological

Service (Météo-France) tells us that

the duration of snow cover, which is

currently of the order of five months at

1 500 m, could be reduced by 40 days

if temperatures rise just 1.8°C. For us,

that would mean no more snow for

the year-end holidays or the spring

break. Conservative estimates of

warming in our region for the present

century are well above 1.8°C.

We are trying to respond by diversifying

our tourism products, with

increased reliance on the summer

season and the off-season. We are

Francesco Frangialli with Kofi Annan,

Secretary-General of the United Nations

making an effort to promote tourism

that is more sustainable and to

address mobility problems regarding

access to the village through an urban

transport plan and the introduction of

electrically powered shuttles within

the village. We are taking care to

preserve the character of Avoriaz as a

car-free, high-altitude resort. We want

to reduce our contribution to greenhouse-gas

emissions. We are well

aware that we will not solve the

planet’s problems at the level of our

community, but if those who have the

means do not do so, who will?

Is the frequency of natural disasters

a major factor? How important

is weather and climate information

among these factors?

Extreme weather events, such as

cyclones, hurricanes and flooding,

can damage tourism infrastructure

physically and pose a great risk for

the safety of both holiday-makers and

host communities. Moreover, tourist

destinations affected by major

weather-related hazards can suffer

greatly from secondary effects, such

as economic impacts on local businesses

or a negative image in the

media. In the aftermath of these



tragic events, it takes much effort to

rebuild both the physical environment

and the image of destinations. The

hurricanes that swept through the

Caribbean in 2005 reinforced the

prediction that, in the long term, both

the frequency and strength of

cyclones would increase. Early warning

systems and weather-information

services are vital to prevent major

hazards at tourism destinations

becoming disasters.

Does the sector have contingency

plans for climate-related and manmade


In 1998, UNWTO, jointly with WMO,

published the Handbook on Natural

Disaster Reduction in Tourist Areas.

A significant part of this publication

addresses contingency planning and

preparedness for extreme events.

Unfortunately, emergency situations

caused by natural phenomena and

man-made events are not new to the

tourism sector, which endured a

number of crisis situations in the

past. The event of 11 September

2001 and the various crises of these

past few years, such as severe acute

respiratory syndrome (SARS)

disease, the Indian Ocean tsunami,

oil price rises and other socioeconomic

uncertainties, dealt a

severe blow to the sector globally. It

has always shown strong resilience,

however, and is already back on the

path of strong growth. UNWTO has

been addressing crisis-management

issues through research, producing

guidelines and providing capacitybuilding

and technical assistance to

its members in the field. We also aim

to avert crisis situations by improving

information services and collaborating

with other institutions,

such as with the World Health

Organization on the current avian

influenza issue.

How can WTO and WMO work

together to strengthen their

already solid relationship and

enhance national and regional

collaboration? Can joint activities

include biometeorological studies

in support of the Olympics, for


There has been good collaboration

between the two UN specialized agencies,

based on the official cooperation

agreement signed in 1992. Among

recent activities, I would like to highlight

the discussions held at the UN

Coordination Meeting on Tourism

Matters, organized by UNWTO in 2004

and UNWTO’s contribution to the

recent edition of WMO’s World

Climate News, that was dedicated to

climate and tourism issues. I also had

the opportunity to participate in the

WMO Technical Conference on

Climate as a Resource that preceded

the 14th session of the WMO

Commission for Climatology (Beijing,

November 2005). We warmly support

the decision adopted by the

Commission to formulate an Expert

Team on Climate and Tourism and fully

agree with the terms of reference.

These activities can be the basis for an

excellent agenda for collaboration.

Among these, the strengthening of

working relationships between

National Tourism Administrations and

National Weather Services should be a


There are intensive research activities

in biometeorology and a growing body

of knowledge that can be applied, for

example, to the comfort, health and

safety of tourists, and tourists’ perception

of climate factors; these

conditions are determinant for a

satisfying vacation experience.

UNWTO has been involved in sports

tourism and has organized international

events, also with a special focus

on winter sports. Biometeorological

studies in support of sport tourism

Francesco Friangialli participated in the

WMO Technical Conference on Climate as a

Resource in Beijing, China, in November

2005. He is pictured here (front row, second

from left) with (to his left) the Secretary-

General of WMO, Michel Jarraud, and the

Permanent Representative of China with

WMO, Qin Dahe.

activities and major sport events, such

as the Olympics, could certainly be

another potential field of cooperation

between our agencies.

How important is the environment,

compared to profitability, in

managing tourism? Are there any

social, economic, legislative or

political hurdles that hamper (or

discourage) integration of climate

and environment into planning?

Natural environment and environmental

resources form the sole basis of

any tourism products and activities;

they should not be jeopardized by

short-term objectives of economic

exploitation and profit-making.

UNWTO has been promoting a

sustainable development approach in

the tourism sector, emphasizing the

need for a balance in the environmental,

economic and socio-cultural

aspects. We have produced a series of

guidelines and manuals, and organized

numerous capacity-building events

and conferences in order to support

members of the public and private

sectors in formulating and implementing

sustainable tourism policies,

strategies and plans. Sustainable

tourism is also a main driver of our

technical cooperation activities,

whereby we provide assistance to

countries to formulate master plans

and sectoral strategies.

There have been great advances in the

tourism sector since the Rio Earth

Summit (1992) and there are various

international processes and events

that underpin these. Among these

may be mentioned the UN

Commission on Sustainable Development

that dedicated its seventh

session entirely to tourism issues in

1999; the International Year of

Ecotourism in 2002; and the inclusion

of tourism in the Plan of Action of the

World Summit on Sustainable

Development (Johannesburg, 2002).

There is also a growing number of

private-sector-led programmes, for

example, the Tour Operators Initiative,

which comprises some 20 leading tour

operators, who joined forces to foster

the application of sustainable practices

along the tourism supply chain and at

tourism destinations.

A policy report on sustainable tourism,

prepared for the Johannesburg

Summit by UNWTO, concluded that

there have been great advances in

creating awareness of sustainability

issues in the tourism sector. Many

countries declare they are pursuing, or

wish to pursue, policies for “sustainable

tourism”. Nevertheless, a degree

of uncertainty remains over the possibilities

and priorities for making

tourism more sustainable and only a

partial appreciation of how to put this

into practice. Today, a wide range of

technical and technological solutions is

available for minimizing tourism’s

negative impacts and maximizing its

social and economic benefits. Yet, the

application of these solutions has been

relatively slow and partial in most

destinations. The practical application

of tourism planning and management

techniques and the effective implementation

of tourism policies and

development plans are the greatest

challenges the tourism sector faces


What are the highlights of the

long-term strategy of WTO and

how do you see the role of

weather and climate information in

this context?

Regarding the role of weather and

climate information, our strategic

objective is to assist destinations in

preparing for, and adapting to, the

long-term impacts of climate change,

through conserving and enhancing the

resilience of ecosystems, developing

adequate tourism infrastructure and

products and improving the management

of climate information.

Based on the results of the proposed

pilot projects at island destinations, we

plan to develop tourism-sector specific

guidelines, and mainstream their application

in other countries. We would

like to extend studies and pilot projects

to other types of destination as

well, such as mountain regions. The

initial focus was on island destinations

as they are the most vulnerable to

potential climate-change impacts,

which are visible and felt in many of

them, such as extreme climatic

events, rising sea-levels and freshwa-

ter supply. This is also in line with our

strategic objective of assisting Small

Island Developing States, which we

re-confirmed at the SIDS Global

Summit in Mauritius in 2005.

UNWTO is also collaborating in the

process of preparing the Fourth

Assessment Report coordinated by

the Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change. We have nominated

experts in climate change and tourism

issues, and we are participating in the

review process. I am pleased to see

that tourism is more explicitly

addressed in the Fourth Assessment

Report than in previous ones, notably

in Working Group II and its Chapter 7

regarding industry, settlement and

ssociety, as well as in some of the

regional chapters. As climate scenarios

and climate change prediction

models are becoming more refined

and more accurate at regional and local

levels, we hope they can be increasingly

applied at holiday destinations.

We should not forget that there is a

two-way relationship between

tourism and climate, as was clearly

stated in the Declaration issued at the

Djerba Conference. Tourism is

impacted by climate change, but also

contributes to the causes of climate

change, mainly through emissions

from transportation and consumption

of energy in tourism facilities, as well

as by altering the natural environment.

We have been addressing these

issues through promoting environmental

practices as integrated parts of

destination management and tourism


In all these processes we will count

strongly on our collaboration with




Interview with

Sir David King

Chief Scientific Adviser to

HM Government of the

United Kingdom

Over the past few decades, global

scientific and technical coordination

and cooperation have led to

better understanding of hazards

and their impacts and availability of

operational warning capabilities.

How critical is the role of the scientific

and technical community in

advancing disaster risk reduction

and what more can be done?

The scientific and technical community

has a very important role to play

in all phases of disaster risk reduction

from mitigation to preparedness and

response and recovery. It can help

with the vulnerability assessment and

identifying steps that should be taken

to minimize the risks; for example

identifying land that is prone to flooding

or that could be affected by an

earthquake or a volcano, or in the

identification of evacuation procedures

which will minimize risk.

Scientists can help educate citizens

about the nature of the hazards they

face and how to recognize and

respond safely to them. As was made

clear in the tsunami of 26 December

2004, it was the local knowledge of a

handful of children and adults, which

they had picked up at school or heard

through generations of stories, which

saved lives. For response and recovery,

ongoing warnings of how the

event is developing and what other

types of factors may affect the

response are essential.

There is a lot more that the scientific

community can do besides the ongoing

need for research to increase

our knowledge and understanding of

potentially hazardous events. Better

integration and collaboration between

different scientific disciplines to

improve understanding of impacts

and the links between different types

of hazards is an area which needs

development, such as the effects of

weather situations on the spread of

infectious disease.

There needs to be improvements in

the monitoring of potentially hazardous

events such as volcanoes,

weather, climate change and the

spread of infectious diseases.

As well as ongoing development and

improvements to operational early

warning systems and services, more

expert peer review of scientific

knowledge and understanding is

required to provide a “consensus”

view on hazards and to determine

when the state of the science is

ready to develop a useful warning


In the report to the United

Kingdom Government entitled The

Role of Science in Physical Natural

Hazard Assessment by the Natural

Hazard Working Group, which you

commissioned, the establishment

of an International Science Panel

for Natural Hazard Assessment

was recommended. In your

opinion, how can such a panel

influence national disaster risk

management policies most


An International Science Panel can

provide a worldwide authoritative scientific

view of potential global- or

regional-scale hazards, e.g. potential

for earthquakes in different regions. It

would cross disciplines and involve

many international scientists, to pool

knowledge and expertise.

I would envisage that it would be able

to provide an expert peer review of

scientific knowledge of different types

of hazard, leading to recommendations

for particular areas of research

and recommendations regarding how

to utilize scientific knowledge to

improve different phases of disasterrisk

reduction (e.g. planning or development

or improvement of warning


The same report strongly

supported the need for early

warning systems for all hazards.

How would you assess progress to

date and the benefits of the multihazard

early warning system


I was pleased that the report was

welcomed by many parties following its

publication last June. The multi-hazard

warning system has since been internationally

endorsed with the G8 leaders,

the United Nations and the international

Group on Earth Observations all recognizing

the need for such an approach.

I know the United Nations is developing

the idea for a science panel which

I have been consulted on and I am

looking forward to seeing how this is

integrated into the overall system.

There are many elements of an early

warning system which are independent

of the type of hazard, for example

the need to ensure appropriate links

between relevant authorities and decision-makers

and the need to have

appropriate mechanisms in place to

communicate warnings to the public

and to increase their awareness of

hazards. Different types of hazards

often interact, e.g. a tropical cyclone

causing a storm surge, or a flood leading

to outbreak of disease. I have met

Michel Jarraud several times now and

know that WMO is continuing to

develop its system for all hazards to

include non-hydrometeorological hazards,

such as emergencies arising

from nuclear accidents, volcanic eruptions,

airborne disease, forest and

wildland fires and chemical accidents.

I am sure he will keep up the momentum

that we have started.

There has also been progress in

developing the tsunami early warning

systems in the Indian Ocean and

other regions which is good news,

considering the Asian tsunami was

what prompted the Prime Minister of

Sir David was guest

of honour at the


Meteorological Day

2006 celebrations at

WMO Headquarters.

His presentation

entitled “From

science to action” is

available on the


Meteorological Day



the United Kingdom to set up the

Working Group.

While there has been significant

progress in the technical aspects of

hazard and risk analysis and early

warnings, many challenges remain

related to legislative, legal and

organizational capacities and

linkages. How can we overcome

these challenges? What needs to

be done at international and

national levels?

The main challenge is ensuring that

hazard and risk analysis and early

warning systems are integrated into

an overall disaster-risk reduction plan.

Warning systems have to be integrated

into people’s lives to make

them accessible and easy to understand,

and so does disaster risk reduction

in the broader sense.

Globally, there needs to be an

exchange of information by developing

universal data formats, dataexchange

agreements and agreeing

global roles for organizations with the

most developed capabilities.

Encouraging global and regional cooperation

and coordinating approaches

between development agencies and

organizations is crucial for any early

warning system to work. Regional

cooperation needs to exist to ensure

that regional developments tree up to,

and support, coordinated global activities

and that the global activities feed

in to regional approaches.

Traditionally, activities in natural

disaster risk reduction have

focused on post-disaster

emergency recovery and

humanitarian response, both at

national level and within the

international donor community.

How can science influence a shift

to a culture of prevention


We need to improve awareness of

the impacts of disasters, including the

links between different hazards, and

the socio-economic benefits of investing

in disaster-risk reduction. The

World Bank has determined that

every dollar spent in preparing for a

natural disaster saves seven in


At the World Conference on Disaster

Reduction (Kobe, Japan, January

2005), there was a call for commitment

from donors to increase the percentage

of their funds allocated to disaster

prevention, and a statement

was made by the United Kingdom

International Development Minister

supporting this and committing the

United Kingdom to this aim.

We must not forget that scientists

can provide the education in order to

raise awareness of the potential capabilities

to warn of impending hazardous

situations, and how to use scientific

information and products for

maximum benefit.

Recent scientific and technical

developments related to observing

networks, data-processing,



forecasting and telecommunications,

among others, have

helped minimize the impacts of

disasters. However, development,

maintenance and durability of

these capacities require long-term

resource commitments at national

and international levels. In a world

of competing interests, what

mechanisms can be used to ensure

these capacities remain a longterm


We have only to look back at the past

18 months to see what total destruction

and devastation can occur from

natural disasters. These events

remind us of what we should be

doing to minimize the effects of these

hazards. In the first instance, the relevant

national scientific and technical

organizations such as National Meteorological

and Hydrological Services

(NMHSs) need to work with their own

governments to make them aware of

the benefits of investing in such

mechanisms and capabilities, both in

terms of disaster-risk reduction as

well as on a day-to-day basis for other

types of services and uses. The benefits

of investing in such mechanisms

and capabilities need to be clearly

shown to donor agencies and organizations,

to encourage them to support

such activities.

We need to encourage global,

regional and national cooperation to

optimize such infrastructure and

capabilities and share resources and


National Meteorological and Hydrological

Services contribute significantly

to disaster-risk reduction

through the issue of comprehensive

information about hazards and

early warnings. However, the role

of these Services is not always fully

recognized at the political level,

while their resources and capabili-

An exhibition of paintings by Swiss artist Hans Erni, entitled "Forces of Nature", was opened

by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva (left), on the

occasion of World Meteorological Day 2006. Sir David is pictured here (second from right)

with the artist (second from left) and Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, WMO.

ties vary significantly from country

to country. How can we optimize

their contribution to disaster risk


National Meteorological and Hydrological

Services must provide the best

possible information, forecasts and

warnings. For those NMHSs with

less-developed capabilities, they could

utilize the capabilities of another

NMHS, either within the global system

or within the same region.

More generally, these Services could

improve their visibility both with the

public via TV presentations and with

relevant government and local authorities,

including linking with disastermanagement

agencies or national disaster

platforms. This would ensure

that their capabilities and potential

involvement in the national or community

disaster plans is understood and

is utilized to the best effect.

In what ways do you consider

WMO could further its contributions

to disaster risk reduction?

As I said earlier, I am pleased WMO

is continuing to take forward the

disaster-risk reduction agenda,

particularly developing its system to

include non-hydrometeorological

warning systems. However, there is

always more we can be doing. I think

there is room for WMO to cooperate

even more closely with other United

Nations agencies and international

organizations in order to develop multiagency

collaboration. This would

improve knowledge, develop

operational capabilities and raise

awareness of hazards and their

impacts in the most efficient and

effective way.

Other areas where WMO could contribute

further could be encouraging

multi-disciplinary collaboration on

research and development. It could

continue to raise awareness of the

capabilities of the global network of

NMHSs, and further encourage these

to work together to make optimum

use of these collective capabilities.

Further training and education of less

developed Services would also be

very useful.




for tourism

in Mauritius

By Mohamudally Beebeejaun*


Mauritius consists of a main island

and a group of small islands scattered

in the south-west Indian Ocean,

namely: Rodrigues, Agalega,

Tromelin, the Cargados Caragos (St

Brandon) and the Chagos Archipelago

(Diego Garcia). The total land area of

Mauritius is 2 040 km 2 with an exclusive

oceanic economic zone of 2 mil-

lion km 2 . It was formed by the

episodic eruption of basaltic lava

some 8 million, 2 million and

2 000 years ago. The coastline length

of the main island, Mauritius, is

322 km and is almost surrounded by

fringing coral reefs except at two

places in the south and west, where

waves from the open sea crash

directly against the shores. The

lagoon area is about 243 km 2 .

Rodrigues, with a lagoon area of

about 200 km 2 , is totally surrounded

by a complex reef, except for passes.

The coral reef of Saint Brandon and

Agalega covers 190 km 2 and 100 km 2


Mauritius lies on the edge of the

southern tropical belt and is virtually

free from influences of the continental

airmass. It enjoys a mild maritime tropical

climate with a warm and moist

summer (November to April) and relatively

cold winter (May to October).

May and October are considered transition

months with mainly dry and

beautiful sunny days. It is generally

swept by trade winds throughout the

year, except for some short periods in

summer season, when tropical storms

approach the country.

After independence in 1968, the Mauritian

economy was based principally

on agriculture. The economy has

undergone several distinct development

phases and, in the process, successfully

diversified from a mono-crop

economy, mostly dependent on the

export of sugar, which is climatedependent,

into manufacturing,

tourism, exports, services and, more

recently, to information technology

and as a seafood hub and freeport.

The tourism industry is projected to

be the main pillar of the Mauritian

economy in the years to come.


* Mauritius Meteorological Services Hotels and bungalows along the white, sandy Mauritian beaches

Tourism in Mauritius is not viewed as

a single industry but a multiple one.

Its impact is manifold and its current

evolution depends on the economic,

regional, local, social and cultural policies

of the country. The tourism sector,

which is mainly coastal-based, has

gradually emerged as the second pillar



of the Mauritius economy and the

hotels and restaurants were contributing

some 7.6 per cent to the gross

domestic product (GSDP) as at

December 2005. Most of the tourist

hotels are beach hotels/resorts within

100 m of the high-water mark. Sun,

sand and sea are the prime motivation

of tourists coming to Mauritius in

order to skip the cold and unsettled

weather of their home countries. The

number of tourist arrivals reached

761 063 in the year 2005.

The industry creates direct and indirect

employment and is the only

apparent stable economy in constant

growth since the last 30 years. Unsustainable

development of the tourism

industry, however, may aggress the

marine environment or, conversely, a

degraded coastal area may hinder the

growth of tourism.

Mauritius had to come up with new

ideas in an attempt to protect both

the coastal areas and the tourism

industry. In 2002, the Government

created the Tourism Authority, which

is responsible for providing licenses to

organizations operating in the tourism

sector. The hotels, bungalows, guest

houses, restaurants, airline agencies,

guides, skippers, divers and beach

hawkers have to abide by the norms

set out by this official authority. These

operating agencies require meteorological

outputs either to save energy,

a valuable commodity, or reduce accidents

during outdoor marine activities.

To reduce pressure in the coastal

zone, the Ministry of Tourism is

encouraging the development of

ecotourism. The island has a number

of sites of great ecological value such

as the Black River Gorges, botanical

gardens, islets and natural parks.

These could be further exploited as

they offer environmentally sustainable

opportunities for ecotourism developments.

A total of 42 licensed

Early warnings contribute to the safety of tourists against natural hazards.

operators are already functioning in

this sector. Nowcasting services

provided by the Mauritius

Meteorological Services, especially

for local, short-lived thunderstorms,

are extensively used during excursions

to these sites. Moreover, the

demand for such services is expected

to increase sharply due to the fast

expansion of these activities.

Coastal zone

Being small, the whole island of Mauritius

may be considered a coastal

zone but, as per the Environment Protection

Act 2002, the coastal zone of

Mauritius is defined as any area that

is situated within 1 km from the highwater

mark, extending either side

into the sea or inland. The island is

endowed with sandy beaches, protected

bays and calm lagoons, factors

that have permitted the development

of both tourism and fishing. The

marine and coastal environment contributes

significantly to the island’s

economy through the rational

exploitation of its living resources. It

also attracts human settlement, hotel

development and tourism.

Over the past years, the coastal

areas of Mauritius have experienced

rapid development and have been

extensively used for various activities.

Coral sand removal (at the rate

of 800 000 tonnes per year on average)

and sewage discharge into

lagoons has been allowed, with the

result that some beaches and

lagoons are now severely degraded.

Furthermore, absence of proper

planning and inadequate enforcement

resulted in uncontrolled constructions

on the coast and rapid

deterioration of coastal resources.

The coastal zone is constantly coming

under severe stress; without

immediate and appropriate action, its

future looks quite bleak. An integrated

strategy is being developed

through the Integrated Coastal Zone

Management Plan to mitigate its


The coastal zone represents the most

valuable socio-economic assets of

Mauritius and the main source of

recreation and leisure to the locals. It

is vulnerable to natural disasters, such

as sea-level rise, tropical cyclones,

climate variability, beach erosion and,

more recently, tsunami.

Impacts of adverse climate

conditions on the coastal

region of Mauritius

The southern hemisphere winter

months are characterized by the influence

of the semi-permanent anticyclone

and exhibits a rather strong

south-east trade wind regime with

gusts peaking over 100 km/h at times.

When coupled with swell waves, generated

along the Roaring Forties, large

wave conditions may occur, affecting

mainly the southern and western


Tropical cyclones generally develop

along the inter-tropical convergence

zone and recurve towards the south.

An average of 10 of these tropical systems

occurs annually in the South-

West Indian Ocean. Significant degradation

of the coastal land and shoreline

are caused through its associated

phenomenal waves, strong winds,

storm surges and torrential rain.

Climate change, temperature rise and

sea-level rise are yet other potential

threats to the coasts: sea-level is rising

at about 0.7 mm per year; air temperature

has increased about 0.50°C

during the last decade and precipitation

patterns are changing.

Small Island Developing States are

highly vulnerable to climate change

and ensuing sea-level rise. In Mauritius,

the key socio-economic sectors

which, are most likely to be affected,

are coastal resources, water

resources, health and well-being

among others. The potential impacts

on the coastal marine systems are

considered the most damaging. As

per the studies carried out under

United States Country Study Program’s

Initial National Communication

and Climate Change Action Plan,

the following estimates have been


About 26 000m 2 of beaches could

be flooded with a sea-level rise of

one metre in the region of Flic En

Flac, a favourite tourist spot located

to the west of Mauritius;

About 12 km of main coastal road

and 25 km of secondary coastal road

could be permanently inundated;

Plantations, including several

hectares of sugar cane and cash

crops could be inundated and have

to be abandoned;

More than 1 000 houses could be

totally under threat and 100 units

partly, resulting in an estimated

6 000 people being affected.

Storm surge and rising sea-level affect coastal roads.

Warning of tsunami or seismic sea

waves was inexistent in the country

prior to the event of 26 December

2004. The Government of Mauritius

has recently established a

tsunami warning centre at the Mauritius

Meteorological Services. It is

based on its experience in tropical

cyclone warning and its interest in the

collection and management of basic

oceanographic parameters, with the

collaboration of other national,

regional and international organizations.

The significant contributions

from the World Meteorological Organization,

the Intergovernmental

Oceanographic Commission of

UNESCO, the Japan Meteorological

Agency and the Pacific Centre

Tsunami warning of Hawaii are hereby


Being a small developing State, it has

been observed that these types of

hazard could halt or even reverse the

economic progress of Mauritius. A

programmed and systematic

approach to reduce vulnerability has

become a government priority. The



Prime Minister’s Office thus set up

the Central Cyclone and Other Natural

Disaster Committee, including

Tsunami. It focuses on disaster management

by coordinating prevention/

mitigation, preparedness and

response strategies. The Mauritius

Meteorological Services is the warning

centre of all natural hazards affecting

Mauritius and also plays a key role

in sensitizing the population through a

proactive awareness campaign, using

the electronic and written media in

collaboration with other stakeholders.

Meteorological services and


The tourism industry is likely to suffer

from most hydrometeorological hazards,

notably higher sea-levels and

damage to coastal areas from surges,

high waves and storms.

In the light of these threats to coastal

areas, an essential source of economy

for the local tourism industry, the

Mauritius Meteorological Services is

committed to assume new responsibilities

to meet the challenges, to

offer meteorological protection for the

safety and security of tourists and to

participate in various programmes to

mitigate and rehabilitate the coastal


A two-way relationship between

tourism and Mauritius Meteorological

Services has been developed. It is

gradually building a disaster-resilient

tourism community through vital tools

such as timely dissemination of

weather forecast and accurate forecasts.

Most of the hotels and tourist

residences are in direct liaison with

the Mauritius Meteorological Services

and, following an arrangement, automatically

receive the daily weather


Water sports such as big game fishing,

water skiing, diving, swimming

and undersea walks are favourites of

the tourists. Mauritius Meteorological

Services ensures that warnings for

the high seas and the lagoon are disseminated

well in advance to allow

organization of these activities.

The tourism industry is also informed

of the presence of extreme weather

events or natural hazards likely to

affect Mauritius. This allows the

tourist to be kept informed and organizers

to cater for indoor leisure.

Tourists are also encouraged at all

times to phone the Mauritius Meteorological

Services directly for professional

advice. Thousands of queries

about the forecast weather conditions

are requested annually by

tourists by e-mail before leaving their

homeland. Mauritius Meteorological

Services ensures that such queries

are treated within 24 hours of receipt.

Seasonal climate forecasts are issued

twice yearly and provided to the tour

operators, the Ministry of Tourism,

and policy-/decision-makers. This

information is crucial for forward planning,

development of the tourism

marketing strategy and to cater for

tourists’ comfort.

Mauritius Meteorological Services is

an active member of the Integrated

Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

Committee, which is responsible for

giving guidance on sustainable

coastal development. The basic

requirements to achieve coastal protection

and management are data on

tides, water levels, waves, sea temperature,

winds and coastal circulation.

Mauritius Meteorological Services

has installed two tide-gauges at

Port Louis and Rodrigues to monitor

sea-level since 1986. It also generates

its own tidal forecasts and pub-

lishes it in its annual technical report.

It has installed a wave rider buoy just

off the lagoon to the south-east of

Blue Bay for wave recordings. These

data are frequently used in models to

calculate the impacts of waves on

coastal areas.

Data monitoring, archival and delivery

have been major priorities for Mauritius

Meteorological Services. It established

the National Oceanographic

Data and Information Centre (NODC)

in 1999 and is involved in the compilation

and manipulation of physical

oceanographic and hydrometeorological

data for Mauritius national waters.


Mauritius Meteorological Services is

responding to new and growing

demand at national level for the provision

of vital inputs to the sustainable

development of the tourism industry.

Areas of observation, communication,

warning services, maintenance of

quality-controlled databanks and

access to them by potential users are

being continuously enhanced to contribute

more efficiently to development

programmes. It is the ambition

of Mauritius Meteorological Services

that Mauritius will become prepared

for natural hazards in order to promote

the tourism industry. The continual

support for the transfer of technology

and capacity building from

WMO has been invaluable.


The author is grateful to the Director

of Mauritius Meteorological Services

for his valuable contribution.


ANON, 1996, Changes in Sea-Level in the

Region of Mauritius, unpublished paper

draft, Vacoas: Mauritius Meteorological


GOPAUL, L and S, OCTOBER 1996, Topographic

Survey of Flic en Flac Public

Beach (Pearl Beach Hotel to Villa

Caroline Hotel), Vacoas: Mauritius

Meteorological Services, Report Number



of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Albion Fisheries Research Centre –

Annual Report 1995, Port Louis.


November 1996, Report on National

Workshop on Climate Change Activities

held at the La Pirogue Hotel 4 – 6

November, 1996, Vacoas: Mauritius

Meteorological Services.


October 1995, Report on One Day

Seminar on Climate Change and its

Impacts held at the Manisa Hotel 12

September, 1995, Vacoas: Mauritius

Meteorological Services.


1994, Technical Working Group on

“The Economics of Greenhouse Gas

Limitation, Phase 1”, unpublished midterm

report, July 1997. Padya, B.M.

The Climate of Mauritius, Second

Edition, Vacoas: Mauritius Meteorological


RAMNAUTH, N., September 1995, Vulnerability

and Adaptation Assessments:

Survey Activities at Pomponette (St.

Felix), Vacoas: Mauritius Meteorological

Services, Report Number 6

RAGOONADEN, S, et all., September 1996,

Coastal Geomorphology and Impacts of

Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Zone with

Adaptive Measures, Vacoas: Mauritius

Meteorological Services, Report Number


RAGOONADEN, S, et all., February 1996, The

Island States at Risk: Mauritius Case,

Vacoas: Mauritius Meteorological

Services, Report Number 7



Expert Group. “Policies and Measures

for Possible Common Action,”


VEERASAMY, S, 1997, A report on Climate

Variability and Sugar Production in

Mauritius, Vacoas: Mauritius Meteorological

Services, October 1995. Ministry

of Economic Development and

Regional Cooperation

A Climate Change Action Plan, 1998,

National Climate Committee

CSO, 2005, Annual Digest of Statistics

2005. Central Statistical Office, Ministry

of Economic Development, Financial

Services and Corporate Affairs.

Republic of Mauritius

Initial National Communication of the

Republic of Mauritius, 1999, National

Climate Committee

Ministry of Environment, 1999, National

Environmental Strategies for the

Republic of Mauritius

Technology Needs Assessment, 2004,

Maintenance and enhancement of

capacities for Climate Change





l applications

for coastal


in Barbados

By Lorna Inniss 1 , Antonio Rowe 2 ,

Angelique Brathwaite 3 , Ramon Roach 4

General information about


Barbados, the most easterly of the

Caribbean islands, is located north-east

of Venezuela at 13°N, 59°W, with a land

area of approximately 432 km 2 . In spite

of its relatively short coastline (92 km),

the island’s coastal boundaries are quite

diverse, influenced on the one side by

the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea

and, on the other, by the high-energy

Atlantic Ocean waves. This coast is

recognized by the Barbados Government

as a unique and irreplaceable asset

and one requiring sustained protection

and conservation measures.

The dry sub-humid climate of Barbados

produces temperatures in the range

20°–30°C. The dry season, which is

normally quite distinct, is from

December to May, with the balance of

the year being quite wet. Average

annual rainfall ranges from 1 254 mm at

lower elevations to 1 650 mm at higher

central elevations. The island is almost

completely dependent on groundwater

abstracted from the aquifer underlying

the island.

Karst topography characterizes the

island generally. However, the northeastern

coastal area is comprised of

sedimentary deposits. It is unclear

whether the limestone cap has been

removed from these deposits over

geological time. The resultant landscape

in this area is unique but highly prone to

land slippage and erosion. It is this area

which faces the high-energy waves of

the Atlantic Ocean and the trade winds.

Reef development is minimal offshore

but large pockets of limestone flats

exist, dominated by sea fans. In

contrast, the Caribbean coast is characterized

by protected bays and lengthy

beaches along usually calm coastlines.

These Caribbean coasts south and west

of the island are the main foci of tourism,

the current main economic driver.

Mostly thriving fringing and bank reefs

are the basis for the development of

diving tourism, as well as local recreational


1 Deputy Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados

2 Coastal Engineer, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados

3 Marine Biologist, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados

4 Water Quality Analyst, Coastal Zone Management Unit, Government of Barbados

The coastal zone management

programme has evolved mainly in

response to the need for coastal

conservation in respect of tourism.

During the 1980s, owners of coastal

hotels realized that many of the

Caribbean beaches were eroding. They

initiated discussions with the

Government to ensure that this trend

was reversed or at least stabilized.

Tourism, however, was not the only

driver in the establishment of the coastal

zone management programme. The

majority of critical infrastructure in

Barbados is located along the coastline.

Government headquarters, healthcare

facilities, fire stations and electrical installations

are located within the coastal

zone. The vulnerability of these facilities,

as well as the extensive tourism plant,

led the Government to seek a comprehensive,

integrated coastal zone

management paradigm, which led to the

establishment of the Coastal Conservation

Project Unit in 1983.

The coastal zone management programme

focuses mainly on shoreline

stabilization through the use of coastal

engineering, water-quality monitoring,

protection of coral reefs and other

coastal ecosystems, and the development

control within the coastal zone

management area through strict coastal

planning guidelines. Meteorological

observations and technology are in the

areas of coastal engineering and marine



A basic understanding of marine and

coastal meteorology is an important

component in coastal and offshore

design and planning. One of the most

important meteorological considerations

relates to the dominant role of winds in

wave generation. This is critical in wave

climate analysis which is fundamental,

and one of the most critical elements in

the design of coastal structures.

However, many other meteorological

processes (e.g. the role of winds in dune

formation, precipitation, wind-driven

coastal currents and surges, direct wind

forces on structures; atmospheric circulation

of pollution and salt) are also

important environmental factors to

consider in man’s interaction with nature

in this sometimes fragile, sometimes

harsh, environment.

Barbados wave climate analysis

The Government of Barbados is currently

undertaking a Coastal Infrastructure

Programme. This comprises a range of

coastal management works and activities

related to four specific objectives:

Shoreline stabilization and erosion


Restoration of coastal habitats

Improvement of public coastal access

Institutional strengthening for coastal


A comprehensive wave climate investigation

was undertaken to support the

coastal analysis and design process for

Holetown Beach


Rockley to Drill

Hall Waterfront


Welches Beach


Tent Bay

Boat Access

Crane Beach


Woman’s Bay

Headland Protection

Figure 1 — Coastal Infrastructure

Programme project sites (Source: Barbados

Wave Climate Analysis, Baird 2005)

the Coastal Infrastructure Programme.

The information generated from this

analysis was subsequently used as input

for detailed numerical and physical modelling

of the various project sites (Figure 1).

Wave-generation mechanisms

Barbados is impacted by three distinct

types of wave conditions, which may be

identified as shown in Figure 2:

Locally generated seas

These are waves created primarily by

the north-eastern trades blowing in

the vicinity of Barbados.

Longer period swells

These swells are generated by extratropical

cyclones occurring in the

mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic.

They are particularly important as,

due to their long periods (>12 s),

they have the potential to “wrap”

around the island of Barbados and

be present on southern shorelines.

The season for the extra-tropical

cyclones traversing the North

Atlantic Ocean is mostly from

November to March.

Hurricanes (tropical cyclones) are

large-scale, severe storm events

that may be generated in the northern

equatorial belt and may pass in a

general east-to-west direction over,

and in the vicinity of, the island of

Barbados. These events can generate

very large wave conditions and

significant surge and form the basis

of the extreme design conditions at

each of the project sites. The season

for tropical cyclones in the Caribbean

Sea is from May to November, with

peak activity occurring during

September and October.

Accurately predicting the range in

wave heights, wave periods and, in

particular, wave direction, is an essential

input to any coastal engineering

investigation, particularly with respect

to sediment-transport modelling and

understanding beach platform development.

Wave climate analyses for

the Caribbean are often separated into

operational (daily or non-hurricane)

wave conditions and design (hurricane)

wave conditions. The

methodologies for investigation of

both phenomena vary because of the

differences in scale of these wave

processes (Baird, 2005).

Long-term wave hindcast for


In order to quantify the wave climate of

Barbados, a 20-year numerical wave

hindcast of the North Atlantic Ocean

was undertaken, using a 2D spectral

hindcast wind-wave model. The basic

input to the hindcast model consists of

a regular spaced grid defining the water

depths and shorelines in the region of

interest, and temporal and spatially varying

wind fields. The model produces as

output a detailed description of wave

conditions throughout the model

domain that varies with time over the

period of the hindcast.

A 20-year hindcast of deepwater wave

conditions was carried out using the

hindcast model WAVAD. WAVAD is a

second generation directional spectral

wave model developed by Don Resio of

the US Army Corps of Engineers. The

model has also been extensively tested

and verified at a range of sites throughout

the world.

This model includes a parameterization

for the wave generation and development

mechanism that uses wind data

provided from a global atmospheric

model. The objective of these simulations

was to define a long-term database

of operational wave conditions offshore

of Barbados.



Model validation for the wave hindcast

carried out for Barbados was undertaken

primarily through comparison of

the hindcast results with a deepwater

wave buoy (41 100) located northeast

of Barbados and maintained by Météo-


The wave hindcast carried out for

Barbados involved a two-stage process.

A coarse outer grid with a 1° (111 km)

spatial resolution was used to simulate

wave conditions throughout the North

Atlantic Ocean. The results from the

simulation were then used to define the

boundary conditions for the finer 0.25°

(27.75 km) resolution nested grid that

covered the south-eastern Caribbean.

The purpose of nesting grids was to

account for the effects of sheltering

from western islands, thus improving

the accuracy of the hindcast.

Figure 3 shows a typical snapshot of

model output for wave conditions in the

Atlantic Ocean. The colour contours

reflect the characteristic wave height

over the model grid ranging from 0 (blue)

to 10 m height (red). The vectors indicate

the mean direction of wave


Tropical cyclones are intense and

compact storm systems. The grid spacing

of the global atmospheric model is

relatively coarse at 1 875° or (approxi-

mately) 208 km (Figure 4). As a result,

the atmospheric model typically underestimates

the intensity of the wind fields

for tropical cyclone events. To account

for this, the tropical cyclone events that

occurred over the past 20 years were

considered separately (Baird, 2005).

Offshore wave climate

Figure 2 — Wavegeneration

mechanisms (Source:

Barbados Wave

Climate Analysis,

Baird 2005)

Wave conditions at Barbados were

extracted from a representative

location within the model for the final

20-year hindcast. Statistics on these

wave conditions were then

generated in the form of scatter

tables and a storm selection. Figure 6

presents a wave rose, illustrating the

variation of wave height by frequency

and direction, based on all the

available wave data.

As may be noted in the figure, the

predominant waves occur primarily

from the north-east to east sectors.

The maximum, minimum and mean

hourly significant wave heights at

this location, based on the findings

from the hindcast were 6.33 m,

O.66 m and 1.93 m respectively

(Baird, 2005).

Coastal engineering structures

design water levels

Having obtained the offshore wave

climate information, the following steps

are undertaken to obtain the design

water levels used in the design of

coastal engineering structures:

Figure 3 — Typical wave model output (Source: Barbados Wave Climate Analysis, Baird


Wave-transformation modelling: the

Mike 21 nearshore spectral wave

model was employed to simulate

the transformation process in order

to determine wave conditions at

specific project sites;

Analysis of waves generated by

tropical cyclones: several different

tasks were carried out to address

hurricane-induced wave conditions

at Barbados:

– Analysis of historical hurricane data;

– Numerical simulation of waves

generated by historical tropical

cyclones 1981-2000. The results

of simulations were integrated

into the nearshore operational

wave climate at selected project


– Numerical simulation of waves

and surge generated by

100 synthetic hurricane events.

Grid spacing for the global

atmospheric model


Figure 4 — Spatial scales for the global atmosphere model and a typical hurricane (Source:

Barbados Wave Climate Analysis, Baird 2005)

These data were subsequently

utilized to derive the design wave

climate by return period for

selected project sites;

Storm-surge modelling: to simulate

the impact of storm surge at the project

sites in Barbados. The

two-dimensional hydrodynamic model

ADCIRC 2DDI was developed by the

US Army Corps of Engineers;

Water-level determination: as the

sites are located in shallow,

nearshore waters, where wave

conditions are depth-limited,

estimation of water level is a critical

aspect in the design wave climate

definition. The components

considered were tidal variation,

long-term sea-level rise and wave


Design conditions were then established

at each site for the 50-year

return period.

Use of satellites in coral reef

research in Barbados


While satellites are able to perform a

host of different functions, their ability

to differentiate wavelengths of light

and measure thermal radiation makes

them invaluable in coral-reef research.

Satellites are being used to map coral

reefs, detect plankton blooms and

determine likely sources of nutrient

enrichment. This is possible as a result

of the different spectral properties that


Satellites are also used in coral-reef

monitoring, providing information

pertaining to reef health. It is perhaps

fortuitous that the manner in which

corals react to stressors, e.g. bleaching,

and the stressors themselves, e.g.

high temperatures, can be measured

by satellites. As a result, these are

becoming increasingly important in

coral research.

Aqua and Terra satellites

Two of the multi-use satellites are

Aqua and Terra, the main parts of

NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS)

of satellites. Both are Sun-synchronous

satellites, which allow scientists from

all over the world to measure the

Earth’s oceans, land, ice and biology.

They contain several instruments,

including CERES (monitoring cloud

cover and radiant energy) and MODIS

(moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer).

Terra also carries MISR

(monitoring aerosols and reflected

sunlight), MOPITT (measuring pollution

in the troposphere) and ASTER (measuring

land-surface climatology,

vegetation and ecosystem dynamics).

It is MODIS, however, that is most

relevant to coral-reef science. MODIS

was developed by NASA to investigate

global dynamics and processes occur-



Figure 6 — Wave-height rose offshore from Barbados (Source: Barbados Wave Climate

Analysis, Baird 2005)

ring on the land, in the oceans, and in

the lower atmosphere. It views the

entire Earth once every two days or

so. The instrument takes measurements

in the visible and infrared

radiation bands, and transmits the

data back to NASA for processing and


The importance of MODIS lies in its

ability to measure ocean colour, which

changes according to the amount of

biological activity in the upper layer of

the ocean. The SeaWifs (sea-viewing

side field-of-view sensor) instrument

is another satellite-based platform for

measuring ocean colour but with a

lower resolution than MODIS.

Another satellite aiding coral-reef

researchers is the NOAA-17 satellite

which carries the AVHRR (advanced

very high resolution radiometer)

instrument. This sensor operates in

several bands of visible and infrared to

observe the surface of the Earth (i.e.

land, ocean or clouds). The AVHRR’s

main role is to observe cloud cover

and derive surface temperature for

NOAA weather modelling and stormtracking

programmes. The infrared

sensors, however, also measure seasurface

temperatures (SSTs) across

the globe.

Meteorology’s expanding role in

coral science

Five areas of coral-reef science in which

meteorology is playing an increasingly

larger role are:

Coral bleaching

Phytoplankton blooms

Coral disease (aspergillosis)

Land-based sources of marine


Coral mapping


Corals depend on the symbiotic relationship

between themselves and their

dinoflagellate micro-algae (zooxanthellae)

to survive. The pairing is mutually

beneficial, with the algae supplying their

photosynthetic products of sugars and

amino acids to the corals, which, in turn,

release their waste products of ammonia

and phosphate (essential plant

nutrients) to the micro-algae.

The loss of zooxanthellae from coral or

the loss of the photosynthetic pigment

from the zooxanthellae itself is termed

bleaching. It results in the coral appearing

white as the colour of the limestone

skeleton becomes visible (Porter and

Tougas, 2001). Temperature-induced

bleaching can occur, either as a result

of being exposed to high temperatures

for short periods of time, e.g 1.5–2°C

above summer temperatures for several

days, or for longer exposure to slightly

elevated temperatures, e.g. 1–1.5°C

above normal for three to four weeks.

A bleached coral has reduced capacity

to feed and build its skeleton. If the

stress continues, the coral will be unable

to meet its nutritional requirements and

mortality will result.

Corals appear to be at serious risk from

bleaching events. In the past 20 years

alone, mass coral mortalities from every

region in the world have been reported

as a result of bleaching, with the most

severe case in 1998 (Hoegh-Guldberg,

1999). It is estimated that this bleaching

event reduced live coral cover by 10 per

cent (Hodgson and Liebeler, 2002).

More recently, a Caribbean-wide mass

bleaching event occurred in 2005, with

temperatures reaching 31°C, and a

mean 59 per cent—86 per cent of all

hard corals in Barbados—being affected

(Oxenford et al., in press).

The NOAA-17 satellite is therefore of

interest to coral-reef scientists tracking

bleaching, as it allows them to remotely

indicate the likely severity of coral

bleaching events, a phenomenon

directly linked to ocean-water temperatures.

SST data are also used to track El

Niño and La Niña weather patterns,

which have implications both for storm

activity, as well as for the length of

ocean heating periods, both of which

have negative impacts on coral reefs.

Phytoplankton blooms

Phytoplankton are drifting, microscopic

aquatic plants, which are important both

in and out of water, forming the first

level of the marine food chain, and

producing approximately half the oxygen

inhaled by living organisms on Earth.

Phytoplankton contains chlorophyll, an

important element of photosynthesis

and also one of the most significant

light-altering substances. This chlorophyll

(which is also readily detected by

satellites) absorbs the red and blue

portion of light and reflects green, so the

more phytoplankton, the greener the

water and the fewer phytoplankton, the

bluer the water.

High concentrations of phytoplankton

can indicate both positive and negative

conditions. Very high concentrations of

plankton (for instance, during plankton

blooms) indicate that excessive quantities

of nutrients are in the area. This is

detrimental to coral reefs as eutrophication

encourages algal overgrowth and

the physical presence of algae in

nearshore areas can block out sunlight,

resulting eventually in mortality.

Additionally, a bloom event where there

has been little flushing can result in

anoxic conditions causing “dead zones”

devoid of life. Finally, toxic blooms can

fatally poison flora and fauna in their

vicinity. On the other hand, phytoplankton

utilizes CO 2 , one of the greenhouse

gases. Large populations sustained over

periods of time can actually significantly

lower atmospheric CO 2 , which, in turn,

could result in a lowering of average


MODIS and the less accurate SeaWifs

space-borne instruments can detect

the quantity of chlorophyll and are

used to track these blooms and determine

their extent. Information can

also be gathered on possible causes

of the bloom which would allow for

changes in policy or practices to minimize

future events.

Disease (Sahara dust and


It has been hypothesized that Sahara

dust (particulates in the upper atmosphere

originating in Saharan Africa)

has a negative impact on coral-reef

health. The lifting of desert soil by

large storm events or high-speed

winds is not uncommon, and can

result in soils reaching in excess of 10

km into the air. Duststorms which

originate in Africa typically move

across the Atlantic and reach the

Caribbean, Central America and the

south-eastern USA between June and

October. In the northern hemisphere

winter, the dust tends to hit South

America and Trinidad between

February and April (Griffin et al.,


It is theorized that the decline of

Caribbean coral reefs is partially as a

result of this phenomena (Griffin et al.

2001). Research on Saharan dust has

been carried out in Barbados by the

University of Miami since 1965. The

first documented cases of coral disease

occurrence appear to correspond with

the onset of desertification in North

Africa in the 1970s. The onset of

climate change is theorized to have

resulted in African dust being transported

in a westerly direction over the

Atlantic to the Caribbean. These data

are clearly shown in dust records in

Barbados (Prospero and Nees, 1986).

Data collected from Prospero show that

the peak dust deposition years, 1983

and 1987, correspond to severe deterioration

of coral reefs in the Caribbean

caused by Black band and White band

disease. It is thought that dust can affect

coral reefs by direct fertilization of algae

by iron or other nutrients interacting with

nutrient-rich ground water and by broadcasting

bacterial, viral and fungal spores.

However, the strongest evidence

supporting the theory of the link

between dust and coral disease is the

identification of the fungus Aspergillus

sydowii (which does not reproduce in

sea-water) as the infectious agent in

Caribbean sea-fan mortality (Weir et al.,


MODIS is the primary system by which

researchers monitor Sahara dust, as the

sensor can distinguish haze (aerosols)

from clouds. Monitoring the movement

of the dust can indicate likely areas of

impact for coral diseases.


Satellites are becoming more widely

used in producing baseline cartographic

maps, mapping reef geomorphology

and habitats. While much success has

been made in the former two, the determination

of ecological characteristics

has proved to be more difficult. Limited

information can be obtained, in broad

categories, such as sand, algae, sea

grass and coral. With CASI (compact

airborne spectographic image), 80 per

cent accuracy can be obtained, while

Landsat and SPOT (Satellite pour l’observation

de la Terre) are among the

most widely used satellites for mapping

because of their cost-effectiveness.


A number of challenges still exist for

the complete incorporation of

meteorology into the Barbados



programme. The Barbados

Meteorological Services, located at

the island’s airport, reports only on

rainfall recorded at that location, even

though a number of other raingauges

and weather stations are located

around the island. As a result, huge

inaccuracies occur during the

application of rainfall data for coasts

opposite the airport.

Models utilized for measuring seasurface

height are now dated, leading

to the general warnings to coastal

users and fishermen “above normal

sea swells”, even in cases where the

swells in question are 7 m above

normal. Barbados experienced high

storm surge associated with hurricane

Ivan. However, the meteorologists

were limited in their warnings to

rainfall and wind changes. If hurricane

seasons continue to be intense, it is

imperative that the coastal

programme work with meteorologists

to improve predictions with respect to

potential coastal impacts. Coastal

evacuation planning and development

plans are based on these forecasts,

requiring a high degree of accuracy in

the data used. The coastal

engineering programme depended on

external expertise for training and

assistance until capacity was built

within the Unit. Now there must be

interministerial collaboration to ensure

that other departments, such as the

Meteorological Services, also benefit

from the expertise within the coastal

management programme, further

benefiting society as a whole.


BAIRD, W.F., 2005: Barbados Wave Climate



2001: Dust in the wind. Long range

transport of dust in the atmosphere and

its implications for global public and

ecosystem health. Global Change &

Human Health, Volume 2, No. 1.

HOEGH-GULDBERG, O., 1999: Climate

change, coral bleaching and the future

of the world’s coral reefs. Marine

Freshwater Research, 50: 839-66.




Quantitative observations of a mass

coral bleaching event in Barbados,

Southeastern Caribbean. Submitted,

10 March 2006, Climate Change.




Patterns of spread of coral disease in

the Florida Keys. The ecology and

etiology of newly emerging marine

diseases. Hydrobiologia 460: 1-24.

PROSPERO, J.M and R.T. NEES,1986: Impact

of the North African drought and El Niño

on mineral dust in the Barbados trade

winds. Nature, 320: 735-738.


E.A. SHINN, 2000: The relationship

between gorgonian coral (Cnidaria:

Gorgonacea) diseases and African dust

Storms. In Press. Proc. International

Coral Reef Symposium, Bali, Indonesia.




WMO and

ICAO work

together for




By O.M. Turpeinen*

Role of aeronautical meteorology

for aircraft operations

Meteorological information plays an

essential role for air navigation and is

required to ensure the safety and

efficiency of civil aviation operations.

Most people working either in the

aviation industry or meteorology

have no doubt already been familiar

with the effects of hazardous

weather phenomena on flight. Pilots,

* International Civil Aviation Organization

Secretariat, with a contribution from the

WMO Secretariat

dispatchers and air traffic controllers

need to have observations, reports

and forecasts as well as warnings of

such phenomena. What is often less

clear is the important effect that

seemingly “innocent” meteorological

elements (such as surface and

upper winds, visibility and runway

visual range, temperatures and

surface pressure) can have on both

the safety and efficiency of flight


Information on wind direction and

speed is vital for take-off and landing.

The selection of the runway is

based on that element. If the heador

tail-wind component and the

cross-wind components are made

available separately, the length of

runway needed for take-off or landing

can be determined. One can also

ascertain whether the cross-wind

component falls within the design

limits of individual aircraft. Normally,

aircraft land or take off into a head

wind; a cross-wind component of

the order of 46-56 km/h is the maximum

permissible for the majority of

jet aircraft. The cross-wind limit for

small aircraft is generally lower than

these values. For the en-route phase

of flight, information is required on

winds along the route at cruising

levels. Strong head winds mean that

more fuel needs to be carried at the

expense of passengers or freight.

Pilots need to know what the

temperature will be at their flight

level because temperature affects

jet engine efficiency (in general, the

lower the better). The same applies

during take-off: a higher temperature

results in a longer take-off run

because temperature affects the

density of the air (i.e. the higher the

temperature, the lower the density).

Temperature affects the lift at a

given speed and hence also affects

the take-off run. Similarly, the atmospheric

pressure affects the take-off

run due to its relationship with the

density of the air.

The surface wind, temperature and

pressure referred to above have to be

accounted for in the pre-flight calculations

of the take-off run, i.e. the

calculation of maximum permissible

take-off weight for the runway under

the given meteorological conditions.

The provision of accurate and timely

information on these meteorological

elements helps ensure the safety of

flight and also improves the efficiency

of airline operations.

Information on visibility and runway

visual range is of critical importance as

landing and take-off minima are determined

on the basis of these elements,

and precision approach operations

cannot take place without them.

Furthermore, the height of the cloud

base is highly useful when assessing

whether the prevailing conditions are

above the landing and take-off minima

and whether the pilot is in a position to

establish the required visual reference

at the decision altitude. This information

has become increasingly

important as the number of aircraft

The turbulence associated with

thunderstorms can exceed the structural

limits of the aircraft.



operations increase in lower-visibility


With regard to hazardous weather

phenomena for take-off or landing,

pilots need to be warned of the existence

or forecast of fog, snowstorms,

wind shear, tropical cyclones, etc.

During the en-route phase of flight,

pilots need to know whether they are

likely to encounter severe thunderstorms,

involving hail, severe

turbulence, icing or volcanic ash to

enable them to avoid these hazardous

phenomena. Thunderstorms are notorious

for extreme up- and

downdraughts. Pilots avoid thunderstorms

as much as they can because

the associated turbulence can easily

exceed the structural limits of the

aircraft. Moreover, thunderstorms are

particularly dangerous in the vicinity of

aerodromes as the associated downdraughts

(in extreme cases called

downbursts) can cause aircraft to sink

below the glide path. This may mean

that the aircraft could strike an obstacle

or the ground before it can regain

its flight path.

Explosive volcanic eruptions produce

clouds of dense ash up to levels reaching

into the stratosphere. When the

ash is ingested into aircraft jet

Pilots need to be

aware of existing or

forecast snow for

take-off and landing

operations. (Photo:

CSIRO Australia


engines, these are severely damaged

and may flame-out completely, as has

happened on at least three separate

occasions. This is a serious hazard to

aviation and has been addressed over

the last few years by the International

Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in

coordination with WMO.

The Global Observing System (GOS) is

the WMO system for observing,

recording and reporting meteorological

conditions. This is essential for the

preparation of operational forecasts and

warnings for all users, including aviation.

It makes a substantial contribution

to enabling the delivery of increasingly

accurate and reliable forecasts and

warnings. The 187 Members of WMO

support and maintain the GOS and thus

contribute to the meteorological information

which is provided to

aeronautical users. These include

pilots, dispatchers, air-traffic controllers

and airport and airline managers.

WMO and ICAO working

arrangements and the roles

of the two Organizations

In order to meet the needs of international

civil aviation in an efficient

manner, it is important that ICAO and

WMO work closely together and

ensure that stated aviation requirements

can be met without any

unnecessary overlap of activities

carried out by the two Organizations.

This has been recognized from the

early days of aviation and that is the

reason why working arrangements

between WMO and ICAO were established

as early as in 1953 and are

included in the Working arrangements

between the WMO and ICAO (ICAO

Doc 7475 and WMO-No. 60). These

working arrangements can be encapsulated

by the following:

ICAO is responsible for defining the

aeronautical meteorological requirements;


WMO is responsible for defining the

most appropriate methods for fulfilling

the requirements, including the

training of aeronautical meteorological


It is important to note that the dissemination

of operational meteorological

(OPMET) data (e.g. METAR/SPECI,

TAF, WAFS forecasts) is the prerogative

of ICAO and that the planning for

such dissemination is undertaken by

ICAO. Furthermore, the provisions in

Annex 3/Technical Regulations [C.3.1]

stipulate that the ICAO aeronautical

fixed service should be used for the

dissemination of such information.

One of the constant challenges facing

both the ICAO and WMO Secretariats

is to ensure that the work (i.e. the

maintenance of up-to-date requirements

by ICAO and methods for

meeting those requirements by

WMO) is carried out in an efficient

and cost-effective manner. To this

end, proper coordination between the

two Organizations has to be

constantly maintained with full

consultation and cooperation at every

stage of the process. This coordination

is also achieved by the

systematic participation of WMO in

the work of ICAO operations and study

groups, and of ICAO in the work of the

relevant WMO technical commissions.

This ensures that:

No aviation requirement is generated

that is impossible to fulfil;

No methodology is developed for a

requirement that is not foreseen to

exist; and

Both Organizations continue to operate

according to the Working

arrangements between ICAO and

WMO so as to avoid the duplication

of effort and redundancy of services

and facilities established for international

civil aviation by their

respective Members.

The meteorological requirements for

international air navigation are laid out

in Annex 3—Meteorological service

for international air navigation to the

Convention on International Civil

Aviation, which is a document maintained

by ICAO. Annex 3 is also

issued, mutatis mutandis, by WMO as

Technical Regulations [C.3.1], i.e. a

document identical to ICAO Annex 3

except for a few minor details involving

terminology that do not alter the

substance of the document.

The various chapters of Annex 3/

Technical Regulations [C.3.1] outline

the overall responsibilities of the

designated meteorological authority

for the provision of services and facilities

for international air navigation. The

associated appendices in Annex 3/

Technical Regulations [C.3.1] provide

the detailed specifications for use by

those actually providing these services.

The areas covered include

aerodrome observations and forecasts,

warnings (both in the terminal

area and en-route), forecasts for enroute

issued by the World Area

Forecast Centres (London and

Washington), advisories for volcanic

ash and tropical cyclones, air reporting,

needs for meteorological information

by air traffic service units and communications


A number of other documents are

issued as guidance material by ICAO

and WMO in order to provide ICAO

Contracting States and WMO

Members with additional information

to assist them in implementing the

provisions contained in Annex 3/

Technical Regulations [C3.1]. A

complete list of ICAO and WMO

Manuals and Guides are available from

the ICAO and WMO Websites at and,


In accordance with the working

arrangements between the two

Organizations, major amendments to

Annex 3 are developed by conjoint

ICAO/WMO meetings. Between


Single European Sky

Since 2001, air traffic management

in the European Union (EU)

is undertaken by Member States,

cooperating through EURO-

CONTROL, an intergovernmental

organization comprising EU

Member States and most other

European States.

The Single European Sky initiative

is intended to organize airspace

and air navigation at a European

rather than at a local level. It will

organize this airspace uniformly,

with air traffic control areas based

on operational efficiency, not

national borders, integrating civil

and military air traffic


conjoint meetings, most of the

proposed amendments to Annex 3/

Technical Regulations [C.3.1] are

developed by the ICAO Secretariat

with the assistance of ICAO operations

and study groups. These are

composed of experts nominated by

States and international organizations,

including WMO.

Currently, there are six such groups

working on the World Area Forecast

System satellite distribution system

for information relating to air navigation

(SADIS), international airways

volcano watch, wind shear, automatic

meteorological observing systems and

the use of data link for the uplink and

downlink of meteorological information.

All draft amendments developed

by these groups are sent for consultation

to ICAO Contracting States and

WMO Members before being submitted

for adoption by the ICAO Council

and approval by the WMO Executive


In accordance with the Working

Arrangements between WMO and

ICAO referred to earlier, through the

WMO Commission for Aeronautical

Meteorology (CAeM), responsible for

implementing the WMO Aeronautical

Meteorology Programme (AeMP),

WMO is responsible for training

meteorological personnel and for

specifying the technical methods and

practices to be used for the provision

of meteorological service to international

air navigation.

The Commission’s session in 2002

established eight expert teams under

two broad open programme area

groups (OPAG): OPAG-TREND, dealing

essentially with training, improvements

to forecasts, quality

management and performance measurement;


responsible for customer focus, cost

recovery, operational services and

observations in the terminal area. The



Commission nominated two rapporteurs,

one for the Aircraft

Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR)

Programme and the other for aviation

and the global atmospheric environment.

In order to ensure that the needs

of aviation users are fully addressed,

representatives of ICAO, the International

Air Transport Association

(IATA) and the International Federation

of Air Line Pilots Associations are

invited to participate in meetings of

these CAeM structures. Furthermore,

in 2004, WMO and IATA established

focal points between the two

Organizations to facilitate frequent

contacts followed by similar arrangements

with EUROCONTROL in 2005.

This was prompted by the increased

involvement of that Organization in

activities related to the newly established

Single European Sky (see box on

previous page).

In addition to the close cooperation

between ICAO and WMO through

CAeM, the WMO Commission for

Basic Systems (CBS) is actively

involved in ensuring the timely availability

of basic meteorological data on

which aviation weather forecasts are

based. In this regard, the contribution

of the AMDAR Programme to the

availability of timely and accurate

upper-air observations at various forecasting

centres, including the two

World Area Forecast Centres, has

resulted in positive impacts on aviation

forecast accuracy.

Furthermore, CBS is also responsible

for developing and updating the aeronautical

meteorological codes used to

disseminate aviation meteorological

information. In this context, any new

or updated aeronautical requirements

included in ICAO Annex 3/WMO

Technical Regulations [C.3.1] are

subsequently reflected in the WMO

Manual on Codes (WMO-No. 306,

Volume I.1, Part A) following approval

by CBS. ICAO is also interested in the

The early detection of explosive volcano eruptions could serve as an early indication of the

possible presence of airborne volcanic ash that is a serious threat to flight safety.

emergency response activities of

CBS, in particular the Comprehensive

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization/

WMO Emergency Response Activities.

The potential usefulness of

monitoring information for the early

detection of explosive volcano eruptions

could serve as an early

indication of the possible presence of

airborne volcanic ash that is a serious

threat to flight safety.

The contribution of the WMO

Commission for Instruments and

Methods of Observations (CIMO) is

essential for ensuring that the latest

information concerning the capability

of automatic meteorological observing

systems are forwarded to ICAO

for the development of future requirements.

The Commission for

Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) through

its World Weather Research

Programme is accelerating research

on the prediction of high-impact

weather and encouraging the utilization

of advances in weather

prediction systems to the benefit of

all WMO programmes including the


As indicated in the Working

Arrangements between ICAO and

WMO and stipulated in standard 2.1.5

of Annex 3/Technical Regulations

[C.3.1], WMO is responsible for the

training and qualification of personnel

providing meteorological service for

international air navigation. In this

regard, guidelines for the education

and training of personnel in aeronautical

meteorology, as well as relevant

training material, are developed by the

WMO Education and Training

Programme (ETR) in close collaboration

with relevant CAeM structures

and active involvement of ICAO. This

collaborative effort among ETR, CAeM

and ICAO is expected to be actively

pursued in the future.

Key challenges to the meteorological

community for ensuring the continued

availability of good-quality, timely and

cost-effective meteorological service

to aviation include, among others, the

need for ensuring the sustainability of

the WMO World Weather Watch

Programme that provides the basic

data, data processing, transmission

and forecasting on which meteorological

service to aviation is based;

increased automation of aerodrome

meteorological observing systems;

and improved terminal forecasts.

Capacity building needs to be

enhanced to ensure that aeronautical

meteorologists, particularly those in

developing countries, are abreast of

new technologies and adequately


Other challenges include increased

reliance on the recovery of meteorological

service costs from the aviation

industry to fund aeronautical meteorological

activities and meteorological

infrastructure, particularly in view of a

noted trend toward the disengagements

of States from fully funding the

traditional providers of service to aviation,

namely National Meteorological

Services (NMSs). This tendency has

resulted in the increased use of alternative

service delivery for aeronautical

meteorological services, including the

commercialization of some of these

services and, increasingly, the establishment

of fully autonomous national

meteorological entities.

Continued closer contacts with aviation

users and their representative

organizations, both at the global,

regional and national levels, are particularly

important to ensure that the

services provided meet users’ needs

and that users understand the existing

capabilities and also the limitations of

such providers to deliver the required

services to the aviation industry. In

view of the financial difficulties being

experienced by a number of airlines,

due in part to increased expenditure

on fuel, and other constraints such as

more competition among air carriers,

the airline industry is more than ever

before insisting on the transparency of

charges paid to air navigation service

providers, being in most cases the


The airlines have developed strict

procedures for the use of meteorological

information to improve safety and

cost effectiveness. These procedures

are based on a thorough evaluation of

the value and also the limitation of

meteorological observations and forecasts.

With continuing aviation growth

and demands for safety, efficiency and

capacity, airlines and air-traffic

management organizations are more

than ever dependent on weather information

for planning and safety. Future

challenges will be for meteorological

service providers to exploit the

increasing availability of information

and relevant detail in predictions from

numerical models to improve the accuracy,

content and relevance of the

information provided to the aviation


Future perspectives

The future requirements for aeronautical

meteorology are expected to

reflect technological developments

which will allow more efficient methods

of production and dissemination

of meteorological information.

The recent investments in research by

the two World Area Forecast Centres

are expected to result in their ability to

produce gridded forecasts of turbu-

lence, icing and convective clouds. It

is conceivable that, in the future,

these forecasts will replace the

current significant weather information.

It is expected that gridded

forecasts will provide aviation users

with more accurate information at the

pre-flight planning stage and that the

production of such forecasts will be

more efficient and will, ultimately, be

fully automated.

One of the most important anticipated

developments over the next few

years will be the introduction of

table-driven codes (principally BUFR)

for METAR/SPECI and TAF. The

current communications infrastructure

operated by ICAO is not able to

cope with such digital codes. A careful

planning process for this

migration at the global, regional and

national levels will, therefore, be

necessary. The intention is that the

migration will be completed globally

by 2015.

Requirements for meteorological

information in support of the new

ICAO air traffic management (ATM)

concept are expected to be developed

by a number of ICAO initiatives

over the next few years. The

purpose of the future ATM systems

is the optimization of the use of the

airspace. In this context, it is

expected that new requirements will

be formulated as far as meteorological

information is concerned. The

work in this area will involve close

coordination with the relevant Air

Traffic Services authorities and it is

expected that specific proposals by

ATM and meteorological experts will

be developed by ICAO in close coordination

with WMO.





for safety at



By Henri Savina*

Photo: CC Technolgies

The safety of all kinds of vessels,

from the biggest cargoes or tankers to

the smallest recreational boats, are

highly vulnerable to weather and

oceanic natural hazards (strong winds,

heavy seas, very poor visibility, etc.)

and to other hazards that can sometimes

be impacted by, or related to,

meteorological or oceanographic conditions

(e.g. the drift of dangerous

submerged or floating objects, such

as lost containers).

Thus, to avoid loss of life and cargo

(especially if the latter is of a hazardous

nature), it is of primary importance to

provide the appropriate—and evolving—Maritime

Safety Information

(MSI) to the large range of marine

users. These include the industry

waiting for detailed and focused

safety information, reflecting increasing

pressure on economic performance

and the intention to operate in

marginal conditions to gain advantage,

to the smallest and less equipped

crafts, that can also be of primary economic

importance (fishing vessels in

developing countries, for example).

Maritime Safety Information (MSI)

for mariners

MSI provided to ships at sea can be

divided into several types, including

information related to search-andrescue

operations, meteorological/

oceanographic warnings and forecasts

(generally provided by National Meteorological

and Hydrological Services

(NMHSs) or oceanographic centres)

and navigational warnings (generally

provided by National Hydrographic


The dissemination of such information

at sea may be done in various

and multiple ways, such as VHF or

HF radio, radio-telex, satellites, etc.,

that can be fixed both at national or

international level. It is of primary

importance for mariners to know

what information (content, broadcast

scheduled time, dissemination channel)

is available for their areas. Specialized

agencies or companies issue

and update specific official publications,

e.g. the Admiralty List of Radio

Signals (UK Hydrographic Office) or

Stations Radiométéorologiques

(SH96 from the French Hydrographic

Office) to be used on board ships.

* Operations Officer, Marine and Oceanographic Division, Forecasting Department, Météo-

France and Chairman of the JCOMM Expert Team on Maritime Safety Services

For meteorological/oceanographic

MSI, this information comes from

publication WMO-No. 99, Volume D.

This is continuously updated, thanks

to the contribution of all NMHS that

are requested to provide to the

WMO Secretariat (Ocean Affairs Division)

all expected changes in their

national dissemination system.

Contemporary regulations and related

conventions dealing with safety of

shipping, preservation of life, carriage

of hazardous cargo and discharge of

ballast can be traced to the Safety of

Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), which

resulted from the Titanic disaster in

1912. This Convention and the associated

regulations and guidance materials

for the provision of MSI are coordinated

by the International Maritime

Organization (IMO), the specialized


Inmarsat provides telephony and

data services to users worldwide,

via special digital radios called

"terminals". An Inmarsat terminal

contacts the satellite and

communicates to a ground

station through the satellite. It

provides reliable communications

services to a wide range of users

in remote regions or where there

is no reliable terrestrial network.


The NAVTEX system NAVTEX is a

narrow-band, direct-printing

telegraphy service for the promulgation

of coastal and offshore

maritime safety information.









agency of the United Nations with

responsibility for ship safety and the

prevention of marine pollution. The

specific regulations for the provision

of meteorological/oceanographic

warnings and forecasts are coordinated

by the WMO/IOC Joint Technical

Commission for Oceanography

and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM)

and those for navigational warnings by

the International Hydrographic Organization

(IHO). Signatory States provide

MSI free of charge to all shipping regulated

by the Convention (all passenger

vessels and all cargo ships of

300 gross tonnage and upwards on

international voyages).

The Global Maritime Distress and

Safety System (GMDSS)

NAV Warnings Met Information SAR alerts

Ship distress and safety communications

entered a new era on

1 February 1999 with the full implementation

of the Global Maritime Distress

and Safety System (GMDSS)—

an integrated communications system


(coordinating /editing function)


Region A Region B

Region C

Region D

Local NAVTEX Tx Local NAVTEX Tx Local LES Local LES

518 kHz

NAVTEX Receiver

Inmarsat Network

Coordination Station (NCS)

Ocean Region Satellite

EGC SafetyNET Receiver

Figure 1 — The International Maritime Safety Information Service

(Copyright UK Hydrographic Office, issued from Admiralty List of Radio Signals, Vol. 5)

using satellite and terrestrial radiocommunications

to ensure that wherever

a ship is in distress, aid can be

dispatched. This System regulates

also the provision of MSI, both meteorological

and navigational information,

for SOLAS vessels on a global basis

(Figure 1). All text-based information

provided through the system is in


The GMDSS was developed by IMO

in close cooperation with the International

Telecommunication Union,

WMO, IHO and also COSPAS-

SARSAT (an international satellite

system coordinated by Canada,

France, the Russian Federation and

the USA).

Since 1 February 1999, all SOLAS

ships have had to comply with the

GMDSS, and be fitted with all applicable

satellite and radio-communication

GMDSS equipment, according to the

sea area(s) in which the ship operates,

for sending and receiving distress

alerts and MSI and for general com-

munications. The GMDSS requirements

are contained in Chapter IV of

SOLAS on radio-communications and

were adopted in 1988. The GMDSS

communications system under

SOLAS complements the International

Convention on Maritime Search

and Rescue (1979), which was

adopted in order to develop a global

search-and-rescue plan.

Specific equipment requirements for

ships vary according to the sea area(s)

in which the ship operates. The

GMDSS combines various subsystems—which

all have different limitations

with respect to coverage—into

one overall system, and the oceans

are divided into four sea areas:

Area A1—within range of VHF coast

stations (about 20-30 nautical miles,

i.e. 35-55 km);

Area A2—beyond area A1, but

within range of MF coastal stations

(about 100 nautical miles, i.e.

180 km);

Area A3—beyond the first two

areas, but within coverage of geostationary

maritime communication

satellites (in practice this means

Inmarsat (see box on previous

page). This covers the area between

roughly 70°N and 70°S;

Area A4—the remaining sea areas,

generally polar regions. Geostationary

satellites, which are positioned

Figure 2 — NAVTEX receiver



above the Equator, cannot reach

this far.

Coastal vessels, for example, only

have to carry minimal equipment if

they do not operate beyond the range

of shore-based VHF radio stations, but

they may carry satellite equipment.

Some coasts, however, do not have

shore-based facilities so, although the

ship is close to shore, the area counts

as Area A2 or A3. Ships which do go

beyond Sea Area A1 have to carry MF

equipment as well as VHF—or

Inmarsat satellite equipment. Ships

which operate beyond MF range have

to carry Inmarsat satellite equipment

in addition to both VHF and MF. Ships

which operate in area A4 have to carry

HF, MF and VHF equipment.

Under the GMDSS requirements, all

ships concerned are required to be

equipped with Inmarsat (Area A3)

and/or international NAVTEX (see box

on page 96) receivers (Area A2)—see

Figure 2—to automatically receive

MSI. Most fishing vessels and recreational

boaters, which are non-SOLAS

vessels (i.e. not required to participate

in the GMDSS), are generally not

equipped with such receivers, except

in some parts of the world.

GMDSS Inmarsat SafetyNET


The International Mobile Satellite

Organization (IMSO) (previously the

International Maritime Satellite

Organization) was established by

IMO in 1976 to operate satellite

maritime communication systems

(and in particular the four Inmarsat

geostationary satellites—see Figure

3). It has become a privately owned

company, whilst retaining its public

sector obligations to the maritime

distress and safety system.

Inmarsat provides the space segment

capacity to the GMDSS,

Figure 3 — Inmarsat Satellites coverage

(Copyright UK Hydrographic Office, issued from Admiralty List of Radio Signals. Vol. 5)

including interaction with all

Inmarsat LES (Land Earth Stations)

operated by independent telecommunications

corporations around

the world. This space segment

constellation provides a worldwide

satellite coverage, except for the

extreme polar regions.

The Inmarsat SafetyNET Service is

used by registered providers to

broadcast MSI to mariners, according

to a schedule table. Ships

equipped with an Inmarsat C terminal,

logged on one of the four

satellites, will receive automatically

the safety information for their


International and national

NAVTEX systems

The transmission coverage/service

area, defined in SOLAS, extends

from the Fairway Buoy/Pilot Station

to 250 nautical miles (i.e.

about 450 km) from the NAVTEX

station (transmitter) or to the

range declared in the IMO GMDSS

Master Plan. In particular, NAVTEX

cannot be considered as a reliable

system to receive meteorological

information in port (other systems

should be made available for endusers

to obtain meteorological

information in harbour).

The international NAVTEX Service

is the coordinated broadcast and

automatic reception on the frequency

518 kHz of MSI using the

English language. As NAVTEX is a

single frequency system, each

NAVTEX station and content

provider must take measures to

prevent mutual interference with

other stations. To avoid such

mutual interference, each NAVTEX

station is assigned specific time

slots, which are 10 minutes in

length every four hours (stations

which share common time slots

are arranged to be geographically

Figure 4 — Metareas (top); Navareas (bottom)

distant). Responsibility for coordinating

the establishment of the

global NAVTEX service has been

vested by IMO in its NAVTEX

Coordinating Panel, that is in

charge, in particular to assign the

identification letter and the time

slots allocated to each NAVTEX


The two frequencies 490 kHz and

4209.5 kHz are available to administrations

for national NAVTEX broadcasts

using their national language

or English, particularly for non-

SOLAS vessels. Although it is not

part of GMDSS, it has also to be

coordinated by the IMO NAVTEX

Coordinating Panel.

GMDSS coordinating mechanisms

and WMO contribution

For broadcast purposes, but also to

ensure that services are available

worldwide, the world’s oceans are

divided into 16 areas, called either

Metareas (for meteorological information)

or Navareas (for navigational

warnings) (see Figure 4).

Each Metarea (Navarea) is under the

responsibility of a National Meteorological

Service named Issuing Service

(or a National Hydrographic Office

named Navarea Coordinator). The issuing

Service (or Coordinator) is responsible

for the provision (i.e. preparation

and dissemination) of safety information

on the Inmarsat SafetyNET broadcast

and also for the coordination of

such information on the NAVTEX

broadcast within its Metarea or

Navarea. Other Services may provide

some information for the Inmarsat

SafetyNET broadcast, as Preparation

Services: they are given responsibilities

to prepare MSI for a specific part

of the Metarea or in relation to a specific

phenomenon, but the dissemination

at sea is done by the Issuing Service.

For example, South Africa is the

Issuing Service for Metarea VII, but

France (La Réunion) is responsible for

preparing tropical cyclone warnings

and also forecasts for some Antarctic

subareas in the South-West Indian

Ocean. Such products are sent to

South Africa, in charge of the dissemination

of all meteorological MSI by

SafetyNET for Metarea VII.

To participate as an information

provider in the International Safety-

NET Service, all Metarea Issuing Services

and Navarea Coordinators

must register with the IMO Safety-

NET Panel to obtain a certificate of

Authorization. This certificate is

requested to obtain permission from

Inmarsat Land Earth Station Operators

(LESOs) to broadcast on the



SafetyNET channel. Issuing Services

or Coordinators are then able to disseminate

through this channel MSI

prepared for a whole Metarea, a circular

or a rectangular area (Figures 5

and 6).

The WMO contribution to the

GMDSS is coordinated by JCOMM,

with the support of the meteorological

Issuing Services, through two

specific expert teams from the Services

Programme Area :

The Expert Team on Maritime

Safety Services (ETMSS) for the

dissemination of warnings and

weather and sea bulletins according

to a broadcast schedule.

In particular, the ETMSS has a mandate


• Monitor and review the operations

of marine broadcast systems, not

only for the GMDSS, but also for

others related to vessels not covered

by the SOLAS convention;

• Monitor and review the technical

and service quality standards for

meteorological and oceanographic

maritime safety information (particularly

for the GMDSS); and

• Implement appropriate actions to

ensure that feedback from user

communities is obtained through

appropriate and organized channels

and applied to improve the relevance,

effectiveness and quality of


The ETMSS has to prepare and

submit both regulatory (what Member

States shall do) and guidance

(what Member States should do)

material regarding meteorological/

oceanographic MSI;

The Expert Team on Marine Accident

Emergency Support

(ETMAES) for the provision, to

Figure 5 — SafetyNET message addressed to a circular area

(Copyright UK Hydrographic Office, issued from Admiralty List of Radio Signals, Vol. 5)

Figure 6 — SafetyNET message addressed to a rectangular area

(Copyright UK Hydrographic Office, issued from Admiralty List of Radio Signals, Vol. 5)

national or international authorities

(including Navareas co-ordinators),

of specific meteorological

and oceanographic

information in case of marine

pollution or SAR operations.

The ETMAES has a mandate to:

• Monitor and improve the WMO

Marine Pollution Emergency

Response Support System

(MPERSS) implementation and


• Monitor requirements and improve

provision of meteorological and

Figure 7 — Container drift forecast issued by model MOTHY from Météo-France: position

where container was lost as red star, drift forecasts (tracks), using different immersion rates

in green lines, position of container when found. Such information can be used to optimize

search-and-rescue operations and/or to prepare appropriate MSI to alert mariners of location

of dangerous areas.

oceanographic data, information,

products and services to support

maritime search-and-rescue operations


All WMO regulation and guidance

material is included either in the Manual

on Marine Meteorological Services

(WMO-No. 558) or in the Guide on

Marine Meteorological Services

(WMO-No. 471).

The IHO contribution to the GMDSS,

the World-Wide Navigational Warning

Service (WWNWS), is coordinated by

the IHO Commission for the Promulgation

of Radio Navigational Warnings,

with the support of Navarea


What about non-SOLAS vessels

(fishing vessels, recreational

boats …)?

For non-SOLAS vessels, which may

well be the most vulnerable and sen-

sitive to weather and oceanic conditions,

local laws and regulations and

services available through national or

nearby weather or ocean services

agencies may or may not be sufficient.

Problems in many areas of the

developing world are likely to render

the dissemination or even the production

of MSI to mariners problematical.

Some non-SOLAS vessels, like cruising

boats, can be equipped with

GMDSS receivers, but most are not.

MSI prepared for large SOLAS ships

are, however, generally not adapted

to the vulnerability of small craft. If

general regulations and guidelines for

the provision of meteorological and

oceanographic MSI in open seas, offshore

and coastal areas, and also in

ports are included in the WMO Manual

and Guide on Marine Meteorological

Services, the services available at

sea for non-SOLAS vessels depend

on national capacities to produce

appropriate MSI for the areas and the

vessels concerned (warning criteria,

for example, should be adapted to the

vulnerability of targeted fleets) and to

disseminate such safety information

at sea through relevant channels,

according to the telecommunication

equipment on board those various

ships (national administrations should

also keep in mind that foreign non-

SOLAS ships also need local safety

information). Appropriate information

and education materials should also

be prepared and made available to

mariners, to ensure that they are

aware of the risks they may have to

face, as far as possible, and know the

ways to get appropriate warnings and

forecasts for such risks.

JCOMM, of course, has to play a key

role in the provision of requested

capacity-building for the provision of

MSI fitted for non-SOLAS vessels.

The Commission will also encourage

and promote national or regional projects

for the implementation or

upgrade of telecommunication networks

and the equipment of fleets

with appropriate MSI receivers.

Key issues for the future

The GMDSS has proved its efficiency

and usefulness for mariners. Nevertheless,

the requirements of maritime

users, specifically the navies

and global merchant fleets, have

grown in response to change and

innovation in ship design, the sharp

increase in economic and competitive

pressures and the increasing

sophistication of shipboard environmental

monitoring equipment and

information and decision-support systems

available on the bridge.

Existing gaps, economic pressure,

growing fleets of fishing vessels or

recreational/cruising boats in some

parts of the world are also an important

factor to deal with. They are also

a good stimulus to improve the issue



of natural disaster warnings for vessels

which are not subject to the provisions

of the SOLAS Convention (i.e.

passenger and cargo ships engaged

on domestic voyages, cargo ships

engaged on international voyages

whose gross tonnage is less than

500, fishing vessels, ships of primitive

build and pleasure yachts not engaged

in trade).

Some key issues for the future could

be highlighted, in particular:

Improve the dissemination of relevant

safety information related to

marine hazards in coastal and shelf

areas, including tsunami-related

information, for both SOLAS and

non-SOLAS vessels. Regarding

tsunami, the tragedy resulting from

the Sumatran earthquake of

26 December 2004, has demonstrated,

among other things, the

overwhelming importance of having

in place global, operational,

robust and accurate tsunami warning


MSI should also include, if available,

tsunami-related information.

The obvious reason is that all vessels

in exposed areas (i.e. in ports,

harbours or coastal areas) can be

damaged or destroyed by tsunami

and crews injured or lost. But,

more generally, all potential channels

to reach and alert threatened

coastal communities and activities

should be considered, at least as

supplementary or interim ways,

including those systems implemented

for the provision of MSI to

the maritime community;

For example, the SafetyNET international

service could be used, as

proposed by IMO, to disseminate

warnings to the relevant government

offices or local communities,

either directly or indirectly, using

SOLAS vessels as relays, espe-

Figure 7 — GMDSS Website (

cially in coastal areas with nonexistent,

inadequate or limited

telecommunications infrastructure.

Coordinating mechanisms have to

be prepared in cooperation

between IMO, IHO, WMO and the

Intergovernmental Oceanographic

Commission of UNESCO;

Improve the content and/or dissemination

of MSI, by integration

of science and technology, especially

regarding the sea state

(description of complex and dangerous

seas, study of the feasibility

to provide risk information on freak

waves) and sea ice. The coverage

of polar regions should also be


Provide MSI in graphical form:

clearly, the provision of MSI within

GMDSS is constrained by format,

technology and limits to additional

utility/functionality, especially due

to low bandwidth systems such as

NAVTEX and even Inmarsat

SafetyNET, that limit the volume

of information that can be broadcast.

Some specific guidelines and

abbreviations for the preparation

of NAVTEX meteorological MSI

have been recently approved by

JCOMM for this purpose. But one

of the main challenges for the

future is the dissemination of

GMDSS MSI in graphical or

numerical form (that could be

included, as overlays, in the electronic

navigational charts now

widely used by commercial ships),

especially to replace the radio-facsimile


More generally, it is important for

WMO to influence the regulators on

the evolution of systems used to

disseminate MSI, and to facilitate

the access to such information on

board ships or onshore. The


(http://weather. (see Figure

7), providing access in real-time

to meteorological MSI prepared for

SafetyNET dissemination, developed

and maintained by Météo-

France (WMO Bulletin 53 (2) (April

2004)), should be considered as a

contribution. This first version

could be significantly enriched

and improved by including additional

products (graphics,

NAVTEX, ice information,...); integrating

appropriate dynamic links

with WMO associated documentation

or other severe weatherrelated

Websites; including navi-

gational warning information in

cooperation with IHO;

Coordination mechanisms. As

recommended by IMO, safety

information provided to SOLAS

vessels within the GMDSS shall

be coordinated, in particular to

provide non-conflicting warnings

to mariners. This coordination, as

described before, is under the

responsibility of Navarea

Coordinators and Metarea

Issuing Services. There is still

significant scope to improve this

coordination for the provision of


MSI worldwide, to follow, for

example, the virtue of the

operational coordinating system

put in place for the Baltic Sea.

For European waters, the

definition of coordinated

common systems for the

designation of marine forecast

subareas to be used in

meteorological warnings or

scheduled bulletins (see WMO

Bulletin 53 (2)) has to be seen as

a contribution to such a

coordinating mechanism. But this

is only a first step …



Wind energy

in China:

towards a



By Zhai Panmao* and Yang Zhenbin*


Climate elements such as sunlight,

heat, water and wind are natural

resources that can be used in many

socio-economic sectors. For

instance, when climate provides

energy for crops, it can be considered

an agrometeorological resource.

Climate also can be a tourism

resource. Wind energy and solar radiation

can be used as resources for

power generation. They are impor-

* China Meteorological Administration,

Beijing, China

Figure 1 — The growth in size of commercial wind turbines (EWEA et al., 2004)

tant renewable and environmentally

friendly energies in the modern


Energy demand grows tremendously

with rapid socio-economic development.

It is predicted that, in 2020,

energy consumption in China will

have at least doubled that of 2002


200601170078.htm). Such energy

consumption is a challenge for conventional

energy and also a heavy

burden for the environment. Adjusting

energy structure and increasing

energy efficiency are the only

choices for developing countries

such as China.

To cope with the energy issue, the

Chinese Government has been taking

measures to promote the development

of renewable energy. For

example, on 28 February 2005, the

National People’s Congress of China

passed the Chinese Renewable

Energy Law. This law defines responsibilities

and obligations of government,

enterprises and users in the

development and utilization of

renewable energy and provides a

series of policies and measures,

including a total quantity objective

system, prices management system

and special funds system. In force

since 1 January 2006, it is foreseen

that this law will greatly promote the

The accumulative installed capacity of wind power worldwide

(EWEA, 2005)

Year Increase (MW)


installed capacity


Increase rate

(per cent)

1997 1568 7 636 —

1998 2517 10 153 32.96

1999 3779 13 932 27.22

2000 4517 18 449 32.42

2001 6478 24 927 35.11

2002 7110 32 037 28.52

2003 8129 40 301 25.79

2004 8321 47 616 21.20

Average — — 30.46

development of renewable energy in


Among all the renewable energies,

wind power has developed most

quickly. Figure 1 shows the growth in

size of commercial wind turbines,

which means the capacity of single

wind turbine is becoming larger and

larger. Economically, the cost of windpower

generation and the price of

wind-power electricity worldwide has

dropped rapidly in the last 10 years

(EWEA et al., 2004). The table on the

previous page gives the accumulative

installed global capacity of wind power.

It shows that the development of wind

power has increased at the rate of

30.46 per cent annually over the last

seven years.

The Chinese Government has also paid

attention to the technical development in

wind energy. In recent years, wind

energy has been developed with an

increase of power generation from

20 MW in 1992 to nearly 200 MW in

2004 (see Figure 2). By the end of 2004,

the total installed capacity of wind power

in China reached 764 MW (see Figure 3)

(EWEA et al., 2004). To further exploit

wind energy, China formulated a Midlong

Term Development Plan for windpower

development in 2003: within

about two years, China will conduct a

wind-energy resource assessment,

based on which, 20 wind-farm sites with

a generation capacity of more than

100 000 kW will be selected, nationwide.

By 2020, China’s wind- power capacity

will reach 30 000 MW (NDRC, 2005), i.e.

a 30-fold increase over the next 14 years.

Wind-energy development

The China Meteorological Administration

(CMA) is in charge of the management

of climate resources, including

wind energy. It has carried out many

projects on assessing wind energy in

recent decades.


Figure 2 — Annual increase in installed capacity of wind power in China (Shi, 2005)

Services for national and provincial

governments and private


The CMA completed a first round of

wind-energy assessments in the

1970s, based on wind data from some

900 meteorological stations. The second

round on general wind-resource

investigation was finished in the

1980s. The total potential of wind

energy in China is 3 226 GW and the

practical exploitable amount of

253 GW was proposed (Xue et al.,

2002). It should be noted that this

amount does not include offshore

potential, which is estimated to be

approximately three times that of the















1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004

land area. Furthermore, the two

rounds of wind-energy assessment

are very general because of limited

data. With the rapid development of

techniques for meteorological observation

and data digitization, the CMA

has accumulated wind data from more

than 2 400 stations for a period of

more than 50 years.

In order to provide a better basis for

China’s ambitious wind-energy expansion

plan, a more detailed windresource

assessment project is being

implemented. The third assessment is

based mainly on wind data from those

2 400 meteorological stations, supplemented

by data from automatic










1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004

Figure 3 — The accumulative installed capacity of wind power (MW) in China (Shi, 2005)



weather stations, wind farms and

wind towers, though it is still mainly

based on measured wind speeds at a

height of 10 m. Figure 4 shows the initial


Additionally, the CMA is carrying out a

series of pioneer studies on windenergy

assessment, based on various

techniques such as satellite remotesensing,

geographical information systems

and numerical simulations.

Though the wind data collected are

numerous, the distance between two

observation sites ranges from about

20 km in the east to 100 km in the

west. Furthermore, many wind data

are usually collected from sites near

cities. The places with complex terrains

with high wind-energy potential

lack observations. With rapid socioeconomic

development, the environment

around the meteorological stations

has changed greatly. It is

necessary to assess the impact of

environmental change on wind-data

homogeneity. One other limitation is

that most of the historical wind data

are observations at 10 m height,

which does not meet the requirements

for recently developed large

wind turbines.

Considering the above facts, the China

Meteorological Administration is planning

to establish an observation network,

extend its services to meet

national interests and identify the

immediate needs of end-users. Relying

on recent developments in meteorological

science and technology and

capacity building, the CMA is cooperating

with relevant organizations to

form a specialized team and take more

active measures to promote the development

of wind energy in China.

Wind Energy Assessment Centre

In order to enhance capacity-building

in support of climate-related renew-

able energy development, the CMA

has brought together experts from

various institutes and set up a specialized

Wind Energy and Solar Energy

Assessment Centre under the

National Climate Centre. This Centre

is leading CMA’s activities related to

climate resources, with the focus on

wind energy. Based on CMA’s institutional

structure, this centre of excellence

is responsible for facilitating

downstream training in relevant disciplines,

especially wind-energy assessment

models and techniques.

Future activities

Developing manuals and guidelines

In order to standardize the observation

and assessment of wind-energy development,

manuals and guidelines of

wind-energy measurement and assessment

must be developed. In China,

internationally produced manuals and

guidelines for these purposes are

reviewed on an ongoing basis and used

for the development of similar manuals

and guidelines for national needs.

Models for mesoscale wind-energy


In view of the need for mapping the

turbine height mesoscale wind climate,

the CMA is enhancing research

capacity in this field and is working

with the Meteorological Service of

Canada on developing the WEST

model (Treon and Petersen, 1989) in

China. As soon as the wind-energy

mapping system based on the numerical

model has been built, a high-resolution

wind atlas of China can be

made. The CMA then intends to set

up a national wind-energy resource

database, which will be updated regularly

and provide information for all


Software for wind-farm


The CMA is also working with the

Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on

introducing WAsP (Tron et al., 1989)

(Wind Atlas Analysis and Application

Program), a software tool developed

by the Danish Risø national labora-

Figure 4 — The distribution of wind-power in China (initial result of the new project)

tory for wind-farm micro-siting using

a linear wind-farm diagnosis model.

Our experience of using WAsP for

micro-siting in complex terrain suggests

that the uncertainty in assessing

annual production of the wind

farm is too large. Another plan is for

the CMA to develop wind-farm

micro-siting software based on an

aerodynamical model to meet specific


Offshore wind energy

The Chinese Government also plans to

exploit offshore wind energy. This will

necessitate an investigation of

resources, which will provide the primary

scientific foundation for design

and construction.

Climate change and wind energy

Recent studies have indicated that

climate change impacts most socioeconomic

activities. In the global

warming scenario, wind speed can

also change. There is as yet, however,

no systematic study of the effect of

climate change on wind-energy

resources in China.

As wind energy develops, more and

more wind farms will be built. Considering

that the lifetime of a wind farm

is 15-20 years, the climate-change

issue must be considered at the feasibility

study stage. Moreover, fossilfuel

consumption will be reduced and

will thus slow down the rate of climate


The CMA plans to conduct research

to assess the relationship between climate

change and wind energy.

Wind-energy prediction

Wind-energy prediction is an effective

way of providing wind-farm production

information for the grid-control of

electricity. Some countries have

already set up a system to provide a

prediction service for wind farms. The

CMA also has a plan to construct a

prediction system deriving from the

existing weather forecast system and

high-resolution model.

Assessing meteorological


Extreme weather conditions are a

danger for the safety of wind-farm

operations. For instance, concerning

the -turbines, a typhoon can easily

destroy them; iced blades can result

in their underperformance; and

extremely cold temperatures can

cause them to shut down. An

assessment of meteorological disasters

is therefore important for establishing

and operating a wind farm and

the CMA is planning work in this





Renewable Energy Law.




TION (CREIA). 2004: Wind Force 12.

China Environmental Science Press,



(EWEA), 2005: Executive Summary.

Wind Energy—the Fact.

SHI, P.-F., 2005: The development and

statistics of wind energy market in 2004

in China. China Wind Energy, No.1, 6.

NDRC, 2005: Mid- and Long-term

Development Plan for Wind Power



YUAN CHUNHONG, 2002: Assessment of

wind energy reserves in China. Acta

Energiae Sloaris Sinica, 22(2), 167-170.


and YUAN CHUNHONG, 2003: The synthetic

utilization of remote sensing GIS

and numerical modeling in assessment

of wind energy resource. Acta Energiae

Sloaris Sinica, 24(4), 536-539.



PINARD. 2005. Wind Energy Simulation

Toolkit: A wind mapping system for

used by wind energy industry.

July2005. pdf

TREON ,I. and E.L.PETERSEN, 1989: European

Wind Atlas. Published by Risø,

National Laboratory, Poskilde, Denmark,

ISBN 87-550-1482-8.

YU WUMING. 2005. Damage and Concerns

From Typhoon Dujuan, Annual Report of

Chinese Society for Electrical Engineering

2004 Annual Meeting, 896-900.







for safety


By Johannes Guddal*

Design of safe and economic offshore

structures (construction and

ships) has become an offshore industry

requirement. Knowledge of wave

information, in particular extreme

events and related wave-structure

interactions, is a requisite. A stochastic

analysis of the long-term

time-series of wave parameters, such

as significant wave height, is typically

used to plan engineering applications;

and nowcast and forecast information

is applied for operations at sea.

Nowadays, this kind of approach is

insufficient, not only because of the

continuous expansion of offshore

industry to deeper waters that creates

new challenges to the ocean

research community, but also

because of the increase in extreme

events which exceed wave-design

criteria. Dedicated methods and

numerical modelling are required in

order to better characterize the wave

kinematics and dynamics and their

effects on structures.

Mitigating extreme conditions

at sea

Offshore structures operate typically

in fixed locations and are exposed to

maritime multi-hazards. Consequently,

a well-developed plan of

action, based on design preparedness

and operations planning, is used

* Former co-president, WMO/IOC Joint

Commission for Oceanography and Marine

Meteorology. Member, MetOcean

Committee of the International Association

of Oil and Gas Producers Figure 1 — The Ekofisk field in the central North Sea

by the industry in order to mitigate,

as far as possible, accidents and

damage occurring from extreme


Design preparedness

Location and exposure

When a potential oil- or gasexploration

position has been identified,

preparation of the design criteria

starts. Environmental loads

are the basis for the offshore platform

design that is supported by

meteorological and oceanographic

climatological datasets.

Wave data (measurements and

numerical modelling)

In the last two decades, oil companies

have collected a large amount

of wave data in different parts of

the world for their own use. Even

though long-time datasets exist

worldwide, there is still a need to

make use of both measurements

and model data (quantifying their

uncertainties) for some places

where measured data series are

too short or non-existent.

Recently, these series have been

complemented by satellite data,

which supplement in situ measurements.

Extrapolation to extremes

Generally, offshore structures are

designed for a specific place and

for the 100-year wave (ultimate

limit state (ULS)) that correspond to

the probability of failure of

1/(365 days x 100 years x 8 interval

of 3 hours in a day) in a random

three-hour sea state. Statistical

methods are used to estimate the

100-year wave value.

Operations planning

Long lead time

Major offshore operations, such as

the towing and deployment of large

constructions, are scheduled for

days with favourable weather and

sea-state conditions. According to

these statistics, preliminary timing

is set for the operation and the

logistic preparations are organized


Short lead time

Major sensitive operations like towing,

pipe-laying and construction

deployments are supported by

nowcast and forecast services

specifying sea-state and weather



Many operations are safeguarded

by on-site measuring devices, such

Handbook of Offshore Forecasting

Services, prepared by the Offshore

Weather Panel. WMO Marine

Meteorology and Related

Oceanographic Activities Report

No. 36 (1998)









Based on

real or


time series




and tools

Model and



for high


Good in


W/sea state.



mainly on



from benign

wx/sea state


Proven unsatisfactory.



learn from


Design Planning Operation Marginalities

Areas with maximum wind speed

during storm of 1 January 1995, 00–18 UTC


Is the Draupner wave the

result of two wave trains from

slightly diffferent directions?

Draupner wave at 1 January 1995 15:20

Crest hight: 18.5 m

Figure 2 — A concept diagram with emphasis on managing “marginalities”: the design and

operational “modes” will be supplemented with an additional mode for handling marginal

situations. An example of a marginal incident is given in the lower right box of the first block

of the figure, while the second block of the figure points to one out of a variety of physical

causes for outstanding (singular) waves.




Wave events



(proof of concept)

The Case



as wave spectral monitoring, to

oversee critical wave loads.

Post-damage analysis

Damage does occur, even with the

most advanced safety systems, and

it is mandatory to analyse “real

environmental conditions” in hindsight

so that better precautions

may be taken in the future. Repair

actions or underwater inspections

may also be decided on the basis of

estimated sea loads during an

extreme event.

Revisions of current design and

operational procedures and

updates of warning criteria

Ekofisk/Vallhall eXtreme Wave Warning

Ocean wave extremes and

Offshore operational impacts

The offshore industry has been

reviewing its design criteria and its



Initial safety

Support system EXWW

A matured and certified anno 2004 EVXWW

system after 12 years development




On-site crew and

Wave experts




mechanisms for disaster preparedness.

New constructions should be

designed according to the 10 000year

wave (accidental limit state

(ALS)). Advanced hindcast techniques

for the provision of longterm

time-series are under development

and the influence of freak

waves on global and local loads

have been discussed.

Wave expertise




Post incident

Analyses %



On board


Figure 3 — Learning from the Ekofisk Extreme Wave Warning (EXWW) system. EXWW

developed from the occurrence of a major marginal incident and is now a composition of

various elements, all in a mutual understanding between offshore decision-makers and

forecast providers.

All safety-related services for the

industry require the combination of

human expertise and advanced

numerical modelling. Human expertise

is required due to the selection

of the complementary sea-state

monitoring technology, whether in

situ or by remote-sensing. Also, in

the event of damage or accidents, a

post-analysis will be required involving

high-level expertise.

Coherence in design and


The requirement of the offshore

industry to provide sea-state information

constitutes a great challenge

to service providers, both in

terms of serving designers’ needs

and in terms of serving operations.

It may be instructive to see the

commonalities of the two modes of


When marine construction is

designed and subsequently put into

operation, there should be a complementary

link between how meteorological

and oceanographic data have

been utilized; at the design stage,

later in regular forecasting, and at

the time of the eventual damage

assessment. This is not always the

case, since there are different and

competing providers; and tools and

science used in the applications

change over time. The global baselines

are the WMO wave database

applied in traditional marine design;

and the WMO contribution to the

International Maritime Organization’s

programme, the Global Maritime

Distress and Safety System


The dedicated, safety-related services,

extending from these baselines,

require constant revision of the

system, close communication with

operation decision-makers, and a

nucleus of scientific experts on marginal

sea-state characteristics.

The offshore industry has been

advised to fill some gaps in the present-day

delivery of safety-related

services to their operations. These

gaps are;

• Need for better understanding of the

“physics of extremes”

• The feasibility/sustainability of in situ

and remote-sensing monitoring


• Modes of interactions between decision-makers

and warning providers

• Needs for revision of existing and

multiple operational thresholds

Geographical variations in basic


Deep-sea emerging issues

Integrating environmental protection

systems (i.e. with oil spill


Role of the WMO/IOC Joint

Commission for Oceanography and

Marine Meteorology (JCOMM)

JCOMM’s Members in 123 countries

hold the technical, scientific,

and operational expertise that is necessary

for serving the offshore

industry. JCOMM coordinates inter-

Member functions, such as oceanobservation

programmes, data management

and exchange, service

developments and capacity-building.

Already at this early stage in

JCOMM operations, comprehensive

data- and modelling-expertise

resources are available for the international

community. A two-way

cooperation and communication with

industry was already established in

the 1990s, and will be enhanced in

the years to come.





for sustainable


in the western

Indian Ocean*

The project summarized

The Western Indian Ocean Marine

Applications Project (WIOMAP) aims

at contributing to the sustainable management

and optimum exploitation of

marine and land resources through

more efficient short-, medium- and

long-term planning. This will be

achieved through improved ocean predictions

and weather and climate forecasts,

based on the enhancement of

coastal and open-ocean observing

systems. It will focus on capacitybuilding

of national institutions to

enable them to take advantage of

modern technology in ocean monitor-

* A contribution from the WMO Secretariat

ing and new developments in ocean


WIOMAP will ensure that ocean

observations in the western Indian

Ocean, in support of the Global Ocean

Observing System and the Global Climate

Observing System, are sustained

and utilized for research and

operational applications. The products

generated by Specialized Regional

Marine Application Centres and disseminated

through an enhanced communication

system will contribute

substantially to improve the welfare of

populations in the region in terms of

poverty alleviation and food security.


Countries of the western Indian

Ocean (WIO) region are mostly developing

countries, where the main concerns

are food and housing security.

The potential exists to increase the

exploitation of marine resources in a

sustainable manner. Among these are

fisheries, ocean energy, mineral

resources and coastal tourism. As the

population increases and the shortage

of land for cultivation becomes more

acute, marine resources will be

increasingly used as a food supply.

WIO countries have additional responsibilities

with the adoption of the

United Nation Convention on the Law

of the Sea (UNCLOS), which obliges

coastal and island States to protect

and manage their marine resources

within their 320-km economic zones.

Ocean circulation and coastal

processes in the region are unique. In

the northern part, there is an annual

reversal of wind direction and ocean

current. The Somali current off Somalia,

which develops during the northern

hemisphere summer, regulates

the Asian subcontinent climate and,

through upwelling, enhances living

marine resources. The Agulhas cur-



Islands and coastal countries of

the western Indian Ocean (WIO)

region: Comoros, Madagascar,

Mauritius, Réunion (France),

Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia,

South Africa and the United

Republic of Tanzania.

Implementing agencies

National Meteorological

Services, selected universities

and oceanographic institutions

of participating countries.

Executing agencies

WMO and the


Oceanographic Commission



The WIOMAP project proposal

has been submitted to funding


rent off south-eastern South Africa, is

an important feature of the ocean circulation.

The Mascarenes Plateau

between Mauritius and Seychelles is

unique. It is the only continental shelf

in the world which is detached from

the mainland and it influences significantly

ocean processes in the region.

For these reasons, marine scientists

consider the region as a natural laboratory

for research purposes.

The tropical region of the WIO lies in

the tropical cyclone belt, which

derives its energy from the ocean. On

average, 10 devastating tropical

cyclones affect the area from 5–25°S,

40–80°E each year, mainly from

December to March. These weather

systems inevitably cause loss of life

and damage to coastal property,

potentially crippling the economy of

the countries. Flooding in Madagascar,

Mozambique, South Africa and

Zimbabwe, as a result of cyclones

Connie, Eline, Gloria and Hudah, from

January to April 2000, caused an estimated

1.17 billion euros in property

and infrastructure losses and more

than 1 000 deaths. This example provides

an illustration of the vulnerability

of WIO countries to severe weather.

By their very nature, tropical cyclones

do not recognize any geographical

boundaries. Hence, countries should

establish, on a regional basis, the necessary

infrastructure and human

resources to meet the growing

demand for marine data and services

from a wide spectrum of users in an

efficient and cost-effective fashion.

Project objectives

The overall development objective of

the project is to contribute to the

conservation and sustainable use of

marine resources in the region and

to foster environmental protection

and socio-economic development

through improved application of

marine data and products. Improved

understanding of biophysical

processes will enable long-term

development objectives to be met.

By the end of the project, it is

expected that the WIO region will

acquire sufficient capability to

enable regional modelling and participation

with more advanced marine

institutions. Additional marine data,

both at the surface and subsurface,

will be available in real-time as valuable

input to predictive models to

improve the analysis of tropical

cyclones, for example, and the

effective and efficient exploitation of

regional marine resources.

Through specialized courses and

workshops, the National Meteorological

Services (NMSs) and other

relevant institutions within the

region will acquire improved professional


Regional strategy

The Western

Indian Ocean

Marine Applications

Project aims

to exploit marine

resources for

fisheries and

tourism in a


manner. (Photo:

Blue Ventures)

The value of regional cooperation

through sharing and co-sponsoring

sophisticated equipment and the

establishment of regional centres in

support of marine meteorological

and oceanographic services has

long been recognized. A first

attempt was made in the Gulf

region with the cooperative development

of a Regional Marine Meteorology

Project in the early 1980s,

involving all the seven countries of

the region. Further to the successful

development of the South-East

Asian subregional project (South-

East Asian Centre for Atmospheric

and Marine Prediction (SEACAMP),

the former WMO Commission for

Marine Meteorology (11th session,

Lisbon, Portugal, April 1993) recommended

that studies be undertaken

on the possibility of developing similar

projects in other geographical

areas, initially in East and West


A First WMO/Intergovernmental

Oceanographic Commission (IOC-

UNESCO) Implementation Planning

Meeting for a Western Indian Ocean

Marine Applications Project

(WIOMAP) was held in Mauritius in

May 1997 with the participation of

National Meteorological Services and

oceanographic institutions in the

region. The main conclusions were

the need for:

A regional project as a contribution

to the Global Ocean Observing

System (GOOS), which was called

for by Agenda 21 of the United

Nations Conference on Environment

and Development (UNCED,

Rio de Janeiro, 1992), to enhance

the provision of marine services

for the benefit of a diversity of

national, regional and global users;


Development of a Specialized

Marine Modelling and Product

Preparation Centre, with various

Subregional Marine Centres for the

preparation and distribution of

marine products.



Institutional framework

All countries in the western Indian

Ocean currently have NMSs which provide

weather and sea forecasts for the

general public and marine communities,

as well as advisories and services

in various socio-economic sectors,

including coastal and marine resources,

agriculture, water resources, health,

energy, transport and industry. Kenya,

Mauritius, Réunion and South Africa

have established Port Meteorological

Offices to provide dedicated services

to shipping.

Oceanographic activities, though scattered

through various institutions, are

being coordinated at national level

through National Oceanographic Committees.

Mauritius and South Africa

have established National GOOS

Coordination Committees.

Capacity-building, with emphasis on a

postgraduate course and short training

courses, will be one of the major components

of the project proposal. Wellestablished

training institutions offer

courses in different fields of meteorology

and oceanography. These could

be further strengthened to play a

major role in the implementation of

the training component of WIOMAP.

The establishment of specialized

regional modelling and product preparation

centres has been proposed in various

forums to optimize human and

infrastructural resources. Several

meteorological and oceanographic institutions

in the region have the capability

to host such centres. They will be

upgraded and provided with external

assistance to reach the appropriate level

in order to take up this responsibility.

Problems to be addressed

The Indian Ocean, in particular the

western part, is poorly sampled. It is

WIOMAP and the Global Ocean

Observing System

WIOMAP was discussed in depth

at the first conference of the

Indian Ocean Global Ocean

Observing System (IOGOOS-I,

Mauritius, November 2002) and

valuable feedback obtained to

improve the proposals.

WIOMAP will also contribute to

the activities of the other GOOS

alliances in the region: GOOS

Africa, Western Australia GOOS

(WAGOOS) and South-East Asia

GOOS (SEAGOOS) in enhancing

ocean observations and improving

ocean services in the Indian


Support for its development was

further reiterated during the

second conference of IOGOOS

(IOGOOS-II, Sri Lanka, April


now widely recognized that the Pacific,

Atlantic and Indian Oceans are linked by

teleconnections and any abnormal

weather and climate events in one of

them affect the other two. Efforts to

build up a comprehensive ocean observation

network have up to now concentrated

on the Pacific and Atlantic

Oceans. Various forums have underscored

the importance of shifting the

effort to the Indian Ocean to complete

the global network and thus obtain a

global picture of atmospheric and

ocean general circulation. This is essential

to understand weather and climate

variability and trends on different timescales

at the local, regional and global

levels. This is a prerequisite to improve

weather and climate forecast.

With global warming, changes in

atmospheric and oceanographic

parameters are expected to vary

from region to region. A close and

long-term time-scale monitoring of

the WIO will be required to identify

regional changes as soon as they

occur so that proactive measures

may be taken to address the socioeconomic

issues related to climate

change and sea-level rise.

The availability of a long-term series

of meteorological and oceanographic

data and products will address, in

particular, the following issues:

More efficient exploration and

exploitation and sounder management

of the abundant WIO marine

resources, through detailed knowledge

of the ocean such as seasurface

and subsurface temperature

distribution and more reliable

and timely weather forecasts;

Coastal erosion and marine pollution

monitoring through more

accurate and timely prediction of

waves, storm surges and tidal


Better level of preparedness,

effectiveness and efficiency of

early warning systems in case of

natural disasters such as cyclones,

floods, droughts and heavy seas;

Better output from ocean and general

circulation models for predictive


More in-depth knowledge of the

relatively recent Indian Ocean

dipole concept. This is a strong

ocean-atmosphere coupled system

that is linked to the El Niño-

Southern Oscillation phenomenon

and to monsoon variability. It has

been found to be strongly tied to

annual cycles and climate variability,

especially with respect to

“short rain” episodes in East


Better assessment of ocean

renewable sources of energy

(waves, tides, ocean thermal

energy conversion optimal exploration

and exploitation.

In particular, WIOMAP will address

the following shortcomings and deficiencies

in the:

Level of expertise in marine meteorology

and oceanography;

Marine observing network;

Communication facilities for

smooth exchange of data and products;


Regional modelling for generating

products of practical application.

Expected outcomes

By the end of the project, it is

expected that National Meteorological

Services and oceanographic institutions

in the region will have


Improved professional capabilities

necessary for the further development

and provision of marine products

and information;

Additional marine data, both at the

surface and subsurface as valuable

input to regional and global models

for the improvement of products;

An improved modern communication

system for the collection and

dissemination of marine data and

products in a reliable and timely


New regional marine products for

national adaptation which will be

used as inputs in various socio-economic

sectors to enhance efficiency

and production; and

As populations

increase in the

western Indian

Ocean region and

the shortage of

land for cultivation


more acute,

marine resources

will be increasingly

used as a

food supply.

(Photo: FAO/

I. De Borhegyi)

Enhanced capabilities for countries’

more active participation in

national, regional and international

marine programmes, which

is essential for their success and

timely completion.

It is expected also that the level

reached by countries and potential

regional marine centres, in terms of

equipment and trained manpower,

will be high enough to ensure selfsustainability.


At the national level, the main target

groups and activities to benefit

directly from the project through

improved marine information and

services are:

Policy- and decision-makers in

marine environmental management;

Government institutions and

organisations involved in maritime

activities such as environmental

departments, shipping,

port authorities, oil companies

and ship routeing;

Meteorological Services for

improved weather forecasts and

warnings at sea to save life and


Institutions involved in regional climate

forecasting to improve local

and regional climate forecasts for

early warning systems—for

cyclones, drought and flooding—for

better agricultural and waterresources

planning and management,

and hence food security;

Oceanographic institutions to promote

the development of operational


Oceanographers for research work;

Coastal development and management

for optimum exploration and

exploitation of resources, including

ocean energy, tourism, sand mining

and addressing the problem of

coastal erosion;

Fisheries management to rationalize

activities and minimize the depletion

of stocks; and

Marine pollution monitoring and protection

of the marine environment.




climate serve

the people

Michael H. Glantz*

Fire and water are good servants

but bad masters

(Aesop, 620–565 BC)

It is clear to me that Aesop’s quote

refers indirectly to the climate system,

whence the water comes. What

I am implying here is that climate,

too, can be a good servant but a bad

master. The reality is that, from an

anthropocentric perspective, before

humans inhabited planet Earth, climate

systems from local to global

were neutral.

* Senior Scientist, National Center for

Atmospheric Research Boulder, Colorado,


Again from an anthropocentric perspective,

with the advent of humans

and human settlements, climate was

no longer neutral, in the sense that it

interacted with human settlements

and human activities for good and for

ill. Little was understood in earlier

times about the climate system and,

as a result, there was little that people

could do to affect natural variability

and change. While some settlements

prospered using regional climate conditions

to their advantage, others suffered

from the apparently harsh

regional climates. Areas with

favourable climate conditions (i.e.

favourable for agriculture and livestock)

and with adequate streamflow

originating from distant sources, fared

well. Their land (and favourable climate)

may have been coveted by

neighbouring peoples. From a climate

perspective, those less fortunate

areas suffered relatively more frequently

from the seasonal-to-interannual

variations of climate, as well as

from prolonged droughts, recurrent

floods, frequent fires or frosts, etc.

If Aesop were alive today, I think that

he would have added climate to his

comment above.

Fire, water and climate are good

servants but bad masters

(Glantz, 2005)

By the end of the 20th century, hundreds

if not thousands of articles,

books and reports had been written

about the importance and value of

using weather and climate information

in decision-making processes. Many

benefits of climate information (or better

yet, climate knowledge) are obvious:

improved meteorological forecasts,

climatological time series (i.e.

climate history), monitoring of climateand

weather-related hazards, climateimpact

assessments and research

findings, advances in global climate

This article is drawn from a lecture

presented by the author to the

57th session of the WMO

Executive Council (June, 2005).

modelling, etc. These are the usual

kinds of benefits that people point to

when highlighting the value of climate

knowledge to a given society or to

policy-makers whose financial and

moral support they are seeking.

Here, however, I want to try to

address questions about climate as a

resource in a different way. How

might we make the climate systems

from local to global more of a servant

of the people and less its whimsical

and unpredictable master? I have the

view that climate is a natural (and neutral)

resource, albeit a varying one, surrounded

by many uncertainties. It merits

respect and necessitates

“appropriate” interactions by societies

that operate in very different ways and

have different needs from climate.

This means that climate-societyenvironment

interactions are often

location-specific, though generalizations

can be drawn from case-studies.

Today there is an amazing amount of

interest in a wide range of climate and

climate-related topics. A recent university

graduate would probably not

know that, just a decade or two ago,

climate was not a major concern to

the media or to policy-makers. As was

usually the case then, the media

would report on a climate-related

issue if it involved death, destruction

or imminent threat to a society, such

as a hurricane or typhoon.

For example, just two decades ago, a

major drought, widespread food shortage

and famine developed in several

countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet,

despite widespread death of humans

and livestock and destruction of the

environment, the popular media failed

to recognize drought as one of

Africa’s “woes.”

In the 16 January 1984 issue of TIME,

only two sentences in the entire magazine

referred to the impacts of drought

(i.e. climate) in Africa. One can only

wonder why they could not see that

drought was one of the country’s

constraints on development. I do not

think that such an omission could

happen today. Earlier, the 1968-1973

drought was linked to four coups

d’état in the African Sahel by the mid-


There are now many examples of how

various sectors of society (insurance,

re-insurance, commerce, energy, food

production, water) have already come

to realize that climate information

(including, but not limited to, forecasts)

can be used for the benefit of an

individual, a corporation, an economic

sector or a country.

Problem climates

In 1960, Prof. G. Trewartha wrote a

book entitled The Earth’s Problem Climates

(University of Wisconsin

Press). He suggested that several climates

around the globe are so normal

as to be unworthy of special attention

by meteorologists.

I have some concerns about Trewartha’s

notion of “problem climates”.

For example, is such a statement

still valid today, given what we

have learned about climate variability

and change since 1960? Are there

really areas on the globe that could be

viewed as “climatically so normal or

usual that they require little comment?”

Should we also be asking

questions about societies’ role in the

creation of problem climates? In other

words, from the perspective of climate,

are there “problem societies”?

Personally, I believe that all regional

climates can be considered to be

problem climates for the inhabitants,

their activities and for the ecosystems

on which they depend for their survival

or livelihood.

Problem societies

I suggested earlier that climate is

neutral, if you remove people from

the equation. While we tend to focus

on the “climate problem”, it is

important to make explicit the fact

that societies have the potential to

cause changes in atmospheric

processes that, in turn, generate

problems with which societies must

contend. Humans have used the land

surface in adverse ways that disrupt

the expected functioning of the climate

system. As a result, climate

regimes can become degraded.

The level of the Aral Sea has dropped

over a 40-year period. This situation

provides a perfect example of what

I refer to as a problem society. The

Aral, sandwiched between two Central

Asian deserts, was the fourth

largest inland sea in the world. Today,

it is on the path to extinction. The

decision to divert large amounts of

water from Central Asia’s two major

rivers that flow into the Aral Sea

changed the water balance that had

existed between stream inflow to the

sea and evaporation from the sea’s


An image from space (see next page)

shows a major duststorm in the

south-western USA during the

severe drought of 1976/1977 that

began along about a 200-mile political

border. A meteorologist studying

severe storms examined the image

and decided to investigate. He asked

how a duststorm could begin along a

200-mile straight line. He discovered

that the reason was that the two

Recent books illustrating the interest various

sectors of society have in climate

American states had different laws

governing the use of groundwater.

Ways that society makes climate

serve the people

There are many obvious ways that

people and societies have sought to

make their local climates “work” to

ensure their survival on a sustained

basis, not only for enhancing their

well-being. The following list contains

some obvious ways, as well as some

not-so-obvious ones.

Capture its elements for productive


Minimize its adverse impacts on

societies and ecosystems

Effective use of climate knowledge

(history, information, forecasts, folk


Early warning systems

Technological innovations

New techniques


Learn from others about coping




Satellite image of major duststorm in the

south-western USA (1976/1977)

Concept development (comparative

advantage, precautionary principle,

resource-management techniques,


Learning about the techniques in the

way that land is used in different

regions is instructive. For example,

under some climatic conditions, it is

necessary to plant crops up and down

a hillside (vertically), whereas, in other

places with different climate conditions,

it is necessary to plant crops

across the slopes (horizontally) in

order to terrace the hillside and avoid

erosion of the soil.

In the semi-arid High Plains Region of

Texas (USA), farmers have been

reported to be running out of water

throughout each decade of the past 100

years. Yet, at the proverbial 11th hour,

farmers have managed to develop a

new method in water use that helped to

keep the farms productive.

The battle between a farmer’s economic

activities and his contemporary

climate regime continues. Forecasting

how the future climate will

be affected as the global climate

changes, e.g. as it warms, is problematic:

will there be new extremes

to cope with in places where they

had not occurred before? Will storms

become more frequent and more

severe? Meanwhile, populations

increase in urban areas and along the

coasts. Water is in increasingly short

supply and clean water in many

places is non-existent.

Decision-making under


Decision-makers are constantly

under pressure to make decisions

with less-than-perfect information

about the issues on which they must

decide. Some decision-makers are

risk-averse (i.e. conservative; need

more data before acting). Others are

risk-takers; they decide with the

information at hand, weighing the

cost of no action against the cost of

an action.

Still others are risk-makers: they

make risky decisions that create risk

for others but not for themselves

and it is up to others to deal with

the consequences, which are

often negative. The risk-making

decision-makers, however, remain

safe from potentially adverse impacts.

One such example would be as follows:

policy-makers in a country’s

capital city decide about land use in

rural areas without seeking any informational

input from the local stakeholders,

who have considerable

knowledge about the characteristics

of the land and local climate, as well

as about potential thresholds for, or

constraints on, its potential uses.

Riding the variability curve

Climate is variable on all time-scales,

from months to millennia. We know

that. Time-scales of direct interest to

society are generally in the month-todecade

range. Climate is variable from

season to season, year to year and

decade to decade. If societies can figure

out in advance how climate will

vary on these various time-scales,

decision-makers would be in an

advantageous position to respond

with greater effectiveness by preparing

for, and capitalizing on, those

probable and foreseeable changes.

So, without perfect information about

the future state of the atmosphere (or

society, for that matter), they resort to

a reliance on the forecasting of

change. They also rely to varying

degrees on the monitoring of

changes. They may even try to identify

similar situations outside their

country’s borders at locations where

similar climate impacts had occurred

in order to get a glimpse of possible

impacts, in the event that no decision

or action is taken. An example or two

can be instructive.

The goal of rangeland managers is to

keep the stocking rates of the rangefed

livestock (cattle, sheep, goats,

camels) in balance with the amount of

water and vegetative cover available

as fodder. In such areas, however, the

rainfall is highly variable from year to

year and is skewed to dryness (more

dry episodes than wet ones). The

challenge is to determine how to

Deforestation in the Amazon

Landsat satellite imagery (left) and moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (right)

on the Aqua satellite on 12 August 2003

manage herd size to avoid overgrazing

the vegetation and excessive trampling

of the soils. The manager must

try to forecast and therefore “ride” (or

better yet “track”) the variability curve

as close as possible. They must rely

on the use of both forecasts, as well

as the “precautionary principle”.

A second example comes from fisheries

management. Each season,

fishermen try to land a large amount

of commercially valuable species of

interest to them. But variability in fish

populations is high from year to year.

How to manage exploitation in a way

that produces safe yields of fish while

protecting the standing stock of fish

populations, on which the future fish

productivity and fish catches depend?

The usual scenario is that an abundance

of fish attracts additional fishing

vessels: that scenario ends up with

too many boats trying to catch a dwindling

number of fish.

So, the overriding objective for decisionmakers

is to track as closely as possible

the variability curves for productivity

of climate-sensitive resources.

Failure to do so results in poor

resource management and, ultimately,

environmental degradation.

The two faces of climate

Climate has a bright side

There is a bright (or sunny) side to climate.

The point here is that the climate

in most regions has been suitable

for its local inhabitants. They

learn how to cope, for the most part,

with their climate and environmental

settings (means, modes, extremes

and even rare events). For some,

societies learn how to prepare so as

to prevent or mitigate the worst

impacts of climate variability. For others,

they can do little but withstand

the rare extreme and have to rely on

cleaning up after the death and

destruction. I am going out on a

proverbial tree limb to suggest that,

in most locations, people are able to

provide minimal food for their families,

either by growing it or by trading

goods for it.

Today, however, bad news dominates

the airwaves and newspapers. Bad

news makes for attractive headlines

and captures the attention of listeners

and readers. Good weather is not

news to the media: when have you

seen an article that said “No flood

today” or “No drought today”? Apparently,

“normal” weather is not newsworthy.

Even to governments, good

weather is not really news. Governments

are more interested in climate

conditions that have some sort of

adverse impact, because they have

the responsibility to protect their citizens

from the worst impacts of natural


Climate also has a dark side

People are more fascinated by the

“dark side” of climate, its extremes

and the adversities that accompany

them. For example, societies measure

the importance of tropical storms

according to their characteristics (e.g.

high wind speed) as well as their

impacts on societies (number of

deaths; amount of destruction).

As noted earlier and often, climate

varies on all time-scales and the

causes of those variations are not yet

well known. It is especially difficult to

forecast many of those changes and

variations with great reliability. Thus,

if only one word could be used in

relation to the climate system,

I would choose the word “uncertainty.”

Historical records, forecasts,

projections, modelling output, climate

knowledge and atmospheric



measurements are all subject to


Making matters more difficult when it

comes to understanding the behaviour

of present-day and past climate is

the occurrence of climate change over

the next several decades.

Climate scientists need to make a

shift in their thinking

Before the onset of the Industrial Revolution

that began in the mid-1700s,

human activities affected only local

areas as a result of pollution from

fires, the burning of coal and from

land clearing. Humanity’s ability to

influence climate on the global scale

was not feasible.

With the continuously growing emissions

of greenhouse gases (especially

carbon dioxide) since the beginning of

the Industrial Revolution and with the

increasing dependence on nitrogenbased

fertilizers, as well as the development

of chlorofluorocarbons (each

of them being a radiatively active

greenhouse gas), in addition to clearing

large swaths of land (e.g. tropical

rainforests), human activities today

clearly have the wherewithal to alter

the chemistry (and therefore temperature)

of the global atmosphere.

Although there is some debate led by

a relatively small number of climatechange

sceptics about the ability of

humans to alter the global climate, it

is clearly foreseeable that humans can

influence global climate. No one questions

the fact that global climate has

warmed in the past century. The controversy

has been about whether it

was human-induced, natural or a combination

of the two.

Thus, the climate system, which is

usually described only by its physical

and biological components (sea ice,

glaciers, sun, oceans, forests, soils,

etc.) must now be described to

include societal factors. Humans are

now part of the global climate system

and graphics that are used by scientists

to represent that system must

show humans as a component

together with sea ice, forests, etc.

How scientists see climate: through

its statistics

The following aspects of climate are

of concern to the atmospheric science



Climate variability

– Seasonal-to-interannual

Climate fluctuations

– Decadal scale

Climate change

– Deep climate change

Extreme meteorological events


People for the most part are aware of

the climate of the location in which

they live, at least in a passive way.

They are also aware, to varying

degrees, of the climate conditions in

other locations as well. Many people

Modelling the climate

system—the human

component is missing!

(from: Climate Change

Impacts on the United

States: The Potential

Consequences of

Climate Variability and

Change, US Global

Change Research

Program, 2000)





incoming solar


stratus clouds

also know about tourist locations that

have relatively ideal climates and environments

(at least ideal compared to

where they live). They have learned

how to live with their climate. For

many people, climate is neither the

best for their needs nor the worst: it is


There is a general belief among scientists

that the public does not really

understand (some suggest that they

never will) the proper use of probability

statements as they relate to

weather and climate conditions. Nevertheless,

one cannot deny that the

public is quite aware of the many risks

(chances) that they face and take each

day. The public is not ignorant of what

it means to take a risk.

The different socio-economic sectors

are primarily interested in one aspect

or another of climate. Farmers, for

example, are interested in seasonal

changes in rainfall and temperature

for reasons related to crop production—when

to plant, fertilize, harvest.

Water-resource managers may focus

on annual and interannual time-scales

(variability and fluctuation). Many individuals,

companies, governments and

outgoing heat


transition from

solid to vapour


and heat energy







(snow cover, vegetation,

reflectivity, topography

and land use)



sea ice




and salinity






precipitation and








heat and salinity









atmospheric model layers

egions at risk have become increasingly

concerned about “deep climate

change”, “a major change”.

A research community focused on

“deep climate change” has developed

that is focused almost exclusively

on climate-change issues.

Everyone undertaking research or formulating

policies related to coping

with atmospheric processes—

weather, climate and “deep” climate

change—is concerned about extreme

meteorological events, but each is

concerned for different reasons.

Those concerned with weather want

to improve forecasting or response

on short notice. Those interested in

seasonal climate are concerned about

the frequency and intensity in the

occurrence of extremes. Those concerned

about climate change want to

know if and where there will be more

extreme events and whether they will

be more intense (e.g. an increase in

the number of superstorms of one

type or another).

Seasonality is an aspect of variability

that deserves special consideration.

All flora and fauna, as well as most

people and their socio-economic

activities, are influenced by the

expected natural flow of the seasons.

Any disruption to that natural flow—a

longer winter, a short or drier growing

season, an earlier frost, a poor harvest

at the end of the hunger season—can

cause great harm to those

dependent on an uninterrupted flow

of the seasons. Two-thirds of the

inhabitants of the world are dependent

on the natural flow of the seasons,

as are most industries.

How society sees climate: through

its impacts

To many individuals, climate by itself

is not likely to be the most important

thing on one’s mind in general.

Though people want to know before

they go to bed at night what the

weather might be the following day,

they often do not change their

intended behaviour. They want to

know, but do not necessarily want to

act on, the forecasts that they hear.

What they do care about is how the

climate or weather is likely to influence

their activities, especially their

livelihoods, i.e. their budget, as suggested

in the following list:










For corporate executives working in

climate-sensitive sectors, their concern

is about how climate anomalies

or extremes might affect directly or

indirectly their financial “bottom line”,

i.e. profits.

Obviously, agricultural activities and

water-resource management are

greatly affected by weather and climate

conditions in a given location,

especially where crops are grown and

where livestock is raised. Yields can

be affected, as well as total production.

The climatology of a region

determines what can be grown with

some degree of reliability over the

long term. For export crops, it is also

valuable for decision-makers in one

region to know about the climate conditions

in regions elsewhere that grow

competing crops in the international


Food production is of great concern to

governments for domestic consumption

needs and, in cases of poor production

years, for import needs.

Energy demand and supply are

affected by weather and climate conditions.

As for public health, numerous

water- and airborne infectious diseases

are also influenced by weather

and climate conditions, as are hydrometeorological


Weather and climate affect manufacturing

(production levels and sales),

trade and aid in a variety of ways that

are specific to what is being manufactured

(unavailability of raw materials,

or inability to sell goods due to anomalous

weather or climate). They also

affect the transportation of goods and

provision of services (airplane scheduling,

aircraft accidents, road maintenance,

etc.). Many technology-related

innovations have been devised to

bypass the constraints imposed by

seasonality, such as refrigeration, air

conditioning, heating, irrigation, transportation,

personal mobility, glass

greenhouses, etc.

What does society do to buffer

itself from climate?

Since the beginning of human life on

Earth, there has been a constant

conflict between people and the

elements (e.g. the climate system).

Societies and individuals have

developed many evasive actions and

techniques in attempts to avoid the

wrath of the natural world. The farmer

who early on tried to plant corn or

wheat in winter soon failed and likely

perished. We have learned how to

deal with the changes in the seasons.

We have even found ways to bring the

seasons to us rather than wait for

them to occur naturally: we have

invented ways to generate heat, cold,

cool, wet, dry conditions thRough

burning fuels, refrigeration, air

conditioning, and humidifiers,


We have come up with concepts that

allow us to eat produce out of season



by trading and transportation.

Bananas can be sold on the streets of

Moscow in the dead of winter,

because they were grown in Ecuador

and protected from cold temperatures

during shipment.

Companies have invented medicines

that prevent certain diseases in areas

where those diseases are endemic.

The fact is that the list of ways that

societies have learned to buffer themselves

from the impacts of a varying

climate is extremely long and, in many

cases, place-specific (using caves as

refrigerators, for example).

There are co-existing, as well as

conflicting, perceptions of climate

Three ways that people view climate

are as a resource, as a hazard, and as

a constraint. As a resource, people

look at precipitation amounts and timing,

seasonality, frost-free periods, the

length of growing seasons, heating

degree days, etc. Climate provides

the necessary amount of precipitation,

sunlight or cloud cover, temperature

and so forth, each of which helps to

make some people view climate as a


Climate as a hazard is the view of climate

that captures the most attention.

It is what the media report on

most frequently. Hollywood films

often depict climate-related hazards:

twisters, floods, droughts, fires, hurricanes,

pest invasions, seasonal outbreaks

of infectious diseases, etc.

Climate-related hazards will continue

to be a major societal concern as well

as a major societal attractor.

Climate has been discussed as a constraint

on economic development

prospects: too hot, too cold, too wet,

too dry, too humid, lack of seasonal

changes for one human activity or

another. It was once used as a reason

Headlines from around the world indicating interest in floods and droughts

in support of colonialism, with northern

countries trying to get the southern

countries to be “more productive”.

In fact, one researcher wrote

about the “air-conditioning revolution”

suggesting that, with the

advent of air-conditioning, pockets of

temperate-zone (i.e. productive) climate

could be created in the midst of

the tropics (so the argument went).

In sum, societies have, since the first

settlements, sought to buffer themselves

from the elements. That has

been their challenge in the past and

will continue to be so in the future.

Climate as a resource

There have been several highly productive

regions around the globe

called “breadbaskets.” Today we recognize

that the North American Great

Plains is one of the most important

breadbaskets for food production,

domestically as well as for the world.

Other productive regions can be found

for different types of agricultural and

livestock production in most countries:

wheat and cattle in Argentina and Australia;

soybeans in southern Brazil; rice

in Viet Nam, etc. Other regions, however,

have, at one time or another,

been considered national or regional

breadbaskets, only to fail to reach their

food-production potential, usually

because of political factors as opposed

to poor climate conditions.

Interestingly, what may be a resource

for one type of activity may not be

seen as such by others. For example,

in the San Luis Valley in Colorado,

USA, some farmers needed more rain

for their crops late in the growing

season, while others wanted dry

sunny weather to ensure a good harvest

of a different crop. Those wanting

more moisture for their fields

(hops for beer production) authorized

cloud-seeding activities. Those who

opposed it took up arms and fired on

the cloud-seeding aircraft. The project

was halted. This example underscores

the fact that climate conditions

alone do not determine whether

or not climate in a given location can

Weblines and headlines about superstorms

be called a resource. It is how that climate

is being “used” by society and

individuals living within that climate

regime that determines whether the

climate is a resource or a constraint

on economic development prospects.

This could be called “the climate+


Climate as a hazard: El Niño as a


El Niño (or the El Niño/Southern Oscillation)

is a relatively recently identified

natural process of air-sea interaction

in the tropical Pacific. We have only

really begun to take this equatorial

Pacific phenomenon seriously since

the early 1970s (and most seriously

after the 1982/1983 El Niño of the


The natural hazards community

advised me some years ago that the

El Niño phenomenon was not a natural

hazard. They argued that it was like

winter; winter just “is”. All this, in

spite of the fact that El Niño meets

each of the criteria used to define a

hazard as laid out by the hazards

research community. Yet, El Niño

“spawns” and is associated with climate

and climate-related hazards

around the world (droughts, floods,

frosts, infectious disease outbreaks).

People fear the hazard aspect of the

ENSO extremes.

There is some forecast value associated

with El Niño, based on historical

records and timely monitoring across

the Equator in the Pacific. Some

regions are clearly affected and the

geophysical mechanisms can be

shown to exist without question,

especially around the Pacific rim. The

climate and weather anomalies in

other regions have been linked to El

Niño events through statistical correlations,

even though the mechanisms

may remain unclear.

Although the forecasting of the onset

of El Niño events (as well as their

intensity) remains difficult, once an El

Niño begins, it will continue through a

process lasting 12 months or so.

Knowing an event is in progress

enables those regions and activities

likely to be affected by it to use the El

Niño information to take evasive

actions when possible. Some countries

will have more lead time to prepare

for it than others, however.

Global warming and the weather

There is a great deal of speculation

about how a warmer atmosphere

might affect the frequency and magnitude

and even the location of extreme

events to which we have already

become accustomed. Today there is

growing concern that global warming

will have a major influence on

extreme events. For many this is not

just a growing concern. It is an outright


We must ask ourselves how well

societies are coping with the variations

in climate today. One would

have to conclude that, for the most

part, “not very well”, occasional successes

notwithstanding. In order to

prepare for a warmer future, societies

must improve the ways that they

cope with today’s extreme and anomalous

events. If we are not well prepared

today to identify societal

strengths and weaknesses in

response to climate- and weatherrelated

hazards, how can we expect

to be better prepared for changes in

the patterns of anomalies in the


In the 1990s, a new category of

storm seemed to emerge: the superstorm.

These are what might be

referred to as blockbuster storms,

exhibiting record-setting wind speeds

for tornadoes or tropical storms. Scientists

increasingly talk about the

possible increase in the intensity of

an extreme event, for example,

superhurricanes, supertyphoons and




Scientists and societies have always

been concerned about extreme climate

and climate-related events. They

keep track of record-setting events:

hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, ice

storms, freezes, heat waves,

droughts severity, etc.

Initially, the question was raised about

why this category had emerged in the

1990s. Was it media hype or are

these events really deserving of the

“super” label? This has to be determined

on a case-by-case basis.

Global warming is another hazard

of global concern

In the personal view of the author, the

industrialized north produces the

lion’s share of carbon dioxide. These

countries now argue that the developing

countries of the south will be

come the major producers of this

greenhouse gas in the future.

It is the north that saturated the

atmosphere with greenhouse trace

gases. I therefore say: “should they

not take the first steps to clean up the

atmosphere that they polluted on their

way to becoming industrialized?”

Is forecasting getting too much


Meteorologists and climatologists are

heavily involved in trying to forecast or

project the future state as well as

behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The public for its part is bombarded

every day and in every way with forecasts

of weather and climate (via electronic

and print media). Yet forecasts

make up only a small part of what

could be identified much more broadly

as climate knowledge. Professionally

produced and transmitted forecasts as

weather- and climate-related information

to inform decisions are in constant

competition with individual and group

perceptions about the benefits of

using forecasts, regional climate history

and folk knowledge held by people

about a particular climate regime.

Interestingly, the public has a different

view of the success rate of forecasts

from those who produce those forecasts.

The public is much less aware

of the nuances as well as the use and

meaning of probabilistic forecasts for a

given location (a specific place versus

a general area).

Climate and weather forecasts are

often compared to other environmental

indicators and beliefs (right or wrong) in

order to calibrate their correctness.

Sometimes forecasts reinforce the

other indicators that the public relies

on, while at other times they are in conflict

with the other indicators.

Concluding thoughts: ways to make

climate a better servant

Highlight climate and money

Highlight climate and money in order to

create practical awareness among the

Over 15




Under 1


general population, corporations and

government agencies about how climate

financially influences their activities,

livelihoods, and well-being in notso-obvious,

as well as obvious, ways.


The world’s worst polluters (after New Scientist, 2000 data)

By building capacity, we can catalyze

the development of core

skills and capabilities worldwide

that, in turn, will help to build a

government’s, an organization’s or

an individual’s effectiveness and


There is an urgent need for climaterelated

capacity-building in meteorological

and hydrological services, in

climate-sensitive sectors of society

and among the public.

Foster the notion of Climate


Climate Affairs is, in fact, an attempt

at capacity-building by getting people

to look at climate-society-environment

interactions as parts of a holistic

system. Society can no longer

afford the luxury of remaining igno-

ant about the climate system and

its newfound role in it. Governments

cannot afford to ignore the

many ways that climate-societyenvironment

interactions influence

the well-being of their citizens. The

challenge, then, is how to educate

people and policy-makers at the

highest levels about the ways that

atmospheric processes influence

their lives.

Selling climate

”Selling” climate knowledge today

can make selling climate-change

information tomorrow an easier task.

The meteorological community and

its fellow travellers have been very

successful in the past two decades in

“wholesaling” the importance of climate

information, broadly defined.

Broadcasting to the public that climate

is important to know about

seems to have worked. People on the

street are aware of the global warming

issue. They are certainly aware of

extreme events and anomalies such

as El Niño. “Retailing” to the public,

including its policy-makers, the value

of climate knowledge is the hard part.

Fine-tuning climate knowledge to the

disparate specific needs of potential

users, groups, companies, sectors or

government agencies is, however,

the hard labour-intensive task that lies


Turning “what ought to be” into

“what is”

With regard to what ought to be the

value of using climate information

(or the cost of not using it), it is

important to note that, in theory,

there are many uses of such information

in a constraint-free world. In

practice, however, various constraints

arise to restrict the optimal

beneficial use of climate knowledge.

We need to identify those constraints

and work to minimize, if not

remove, them.

Revisit lessons learned

It is quite clear and normal that “lessons

learned” about how better to

prepare for, or cope with, potential

climate-related hazards are identified

after each disaster. Decades of

reports with such lessons learned

about droughts, floods, fires and disease

exist, but, unfortunately, they

rest on bookshelves, unused. In

fact, lessons are often only identified

but not necessarily learned. It is

imperative that we take the time to

revisit past lessons learned, and use

them when applicable to contemporary


Climate knowledge audit: who is

using what, and how

“Climate audit” is a phrase that

refers to a way to start a process that

identifies those who are in need of

climate knowledge or are aware of its

existence but need guidance on how

best to use it. In other words, who is

using what, and how are they using

it? Climate-related audits in societies

can help to identify what climate

information is being used as well as

what is not being used. Audits can

help the climate impacts and applications

communities know where they

have done a good job and where they

need to focus their efforts in the


Many of us have knowledge about climate.

We are empowered. It is our

responsibility to present, as well as

future, generations to share that


Climate knowledge is power.

Sharing climate knowledge is




Deluge in



By U.S. De 1 , G.S. Prakasa Rao 2 ,

D.M. Rase 3


On 26 July 2005, the skies over Mumbai

released the heaviest rainfall ever

recorded at that location: at Santacruz,

an accumulated total of 944 mm was

recorded at 03 UTC on 27 July—the

primary synoptic observation time.

Previous all-time highest rainfalls

recorded in 24 hours (available in the

National Data archives of the India

Meteorological Department) are for a

station Amini Divi (11°07’N and

72°44’E), an offshore island in the Arabian

Sea, which recorded 1 168 mm

on 6 May 2004, while Cherrapunji

(25°15’N and 91°44 E), a hill station in

the north-east of the country recorded

1 563 mm on 16 June 1995. The

Mumbai event of 26/27 July has a

rather distinct feature. While the rain

recorded at Santacruz (19°01’N and

72°51’E) was 944 mm, that recorded

at Colaba (18°54’N and 72°49’E)—only

25 km away (Figure 1)—was a mere

73 mm. It can thus be inferred that

the phenomenal rain in Mumbai was

associated with a mesoscale cloud

system centred over Santacruz.

The location and the event

The west coast of India extending

from about 8°N to about 23°N has

heavy rainfall spells during the southwest

monsoon season. The stations

located on the western ghats (a

mountainous region with elevation of

1-1.5 km close to the coast) therefore

receive copious rain which feeds the

rivers flowing eastwards across the

Deccan plateau.

In July 2005, a spell of heavy rain continued

until the following week. Heavy

rains in Maharashtra for a period of

nearly one week commencing on

27 July caused dams in Pune, Karad

and Solapur to overflow. The water

released from these dams, coupled

with intermittent rains for 8-10 days

caused disastrous flooding and associated

landslides in Maharashtra. The

worst affected sectors were rail and

air communications. The international

airport at Mumbai was closed for

nearly 30 hours on 27/28 July. Landslides

and flooding caused more than

1 000 deaths, half in the Mumbai met-

1 Visiting lecturer, University of Pune, Department of Environmental Sciences (

2 Director, India Meteorological Department, Shivajinagar, Pune-411 005, India (

3 Scientific Assistant, Central Training Institute, Shivajinagar, Pune-411 005, India (

Figure 1 — Map of the Mumbai (Bombay)


ropolitan area. As the floodwaters

receded, deaths from waterborne diseases

were also reported from these

areas. This is a common occurrence in

megacities after floods (De and Sinha

Ray, 2000).

Heavy rainfall events since 1950 are

shown in Figure 2. During the past

55 years, either Santacruz or Colaba

recorded 28 such cases in a single

day, of which there were only three

occasions when both stations simultaneously

received 250 mm (or more)

per day. In the case of greater rainfall,

i.e. more than 500 mm a day,

there were only two such occasions

(5 July 1974 and 2 July 1984) at

Colaba. On these two days, Santacruz

recorded 375.2 mm and

240.1 mm rainfall, respectively. For

Colaba, the rainfall on 5 July 1974

was 575.6 mm, while, for Santacruz,

on 10 June 1991, the total was

399 mm—the highest so far.













Santa Cruz

Figure 2 — Rainfall events (in millimetres) exceeding 250 mm per day in Mumbai

since 1952

Interestingly, the normal monthly rainfall

of Colaba is higher than Santacruz

for June, while Santacruz has a higher

monthly normal rainfall for July and

August (see table below).

Atmospheric circulation

The synoptic monsoon system has

been studied by many authors and a

summary can be found in Das (1998)

and Rao (1976). The synoptic-scale

systems associated with the release

of such heavy precipitation over the

western coast of India, specially in the

neighbourhood of Mumbai, are:

• A monsoon depression travelling

westward from the Bay of Bengal;

16 July 1952

17 July 1952

19 June 1953

28 July 1953

7 Aug. 1954

16 July 1965

19 July 1966

17 June 1970

23 June 1971

24 June 1971

5 July 1971

31 July 1975

5 Aug. 1976

23 Sep. 1981

19 July 1982

17 July 1983

2 July 1984

17 June 1985

25 June 1985

16 June 1990

15 Aug. 1990

9 June 1991

10 June 1991

23 Sep. 1993

23 Aug. 1997

10 Aug. 1998

13 July 2000

27 July 2005

Monthly normal rainfall in millimetres (1961-1990)

• A mid-tropospheric circulation over

the Gujarat/Maharashtra coast;

• An offshore vortex in the lower troposphere

close to Mumbai in the

Arabian Sea;

• An offshore trough in the Arabian

Sea extending from the Maharashtra

coast southwards on the sealevel


A combination of these systems also

occurs, which results in heavy falls. In

addition, thermodynamic parameters

and their variation are linked with such

sharp rainfall events (Dutta and De,

1999). The synoptic system which

resulted in the 26/27 July 2005 event

as given in the All India Weather

Station June July August September

Colaba 568.4 703.7 459.4 286.6

Santacruz 523.1 813.4 529.7 312.3

Summary (AIWS) is discussed briefly


Synoptic situation on 26 July 2005

(AIWS IMD 2005)

The axis of the monsoon trough on

the sea-level chart passes over northwest

India, centre of a well-marked

low-pressure area of Orissa and then

south-eastwards to the north

Andaman Sea. An offshore trough at

sea-level passes along the west coast

of India.

Synoptic situation on 27 July 2005

(AIWS IMD 2005)

The axis of the monsoon trough

passes through north-west India and

the centre of the low-pressure area,

which lies over south-eastern Madhya

Pradesh and south-eastwards to the

north Andaman Sea. The offshore

trough at sea-level along the west

coast persists.


Based on the synoptic analysis and

satellite/radar observations, the

Regional Meteorological Centre,

Mumbai, and the National Forecasting

Centre (Weather Central) issued warnings

of intermittent rainfall with a few

heavy falls and a warning of scattered

heavy rainfall for Maharashtra. The

local forecast for Mumbai had also

included warnings of impending very

heavy rainfall. The Tropical Rainfall

Measuring Mission satellite images

for 26 July 2005 for hourly rain rate

and accumulated rainfall are shown in

Figure 3 (a) and (b), respectively.

The event

Moreover, the enormous rainfall

(almost the entire normal rainfall of

July) occurred during high tide and



(a) (b)

Figure 3 — (a) hourly rainfall rate and (b) accumulated rainfall for Mumbai on 26 July 2005

(Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission)

caused huge waterlogging. This led to

near-total failure of traffic and communication

lines. The estimated loss to

Mumbai in terms of industry and commerce

was about US$ 10 million.

Studies made in recent years in different

parts of the world have shown that

damage costs have increased significantly

as infrastructure and housing

have developed in vulnerable areas.


Losses from weather- and climaterelated

disasters since the 1960s have

increased by a factor of 40 (IPCC,

1998). This highlights the vulnerability

of societies to extreme climatic

events. In the aftermath of this natural

disaster, the need for sustainable

urban development is once more

brought into focus. Urban flooding is a

major threat to cities and thus urban

flood management in developing

countries also requires an evaluation

of socio-economic issues related to

land use and urban development

(Tucci, 2004). While disasters of such

magnitude are rare, preparedness for

addressing them at the local, regional

and national level should be our top

priority. Studies by De and Prakasa

Rao (2004) have shown an increasing

long-term trend in the rainfall in the

four megacities of India—Delhi, Mumbai,

Chennai and Kolkata.


DAS, P.K., 1998: Monsoons. Second

Edition, National Book Trust.


All India Daily Weather Summary, July



CHANGE (IPCC), 1998: Workshop on

adaptation to climate variability and

change, Summary Report to IPCC, San

Jose, Costa Rica.

RAO, Y.P., 1976: Southwest Monsoon.

meteorological monograph, Synoptic

Met. No.1/1976

TUCCI, C.E.M., 2004: Urban flooding;

WMO Bulletin, 53 (1), 37-40.

The global


system in


This article is drawn from the WMO Statement

on the Status of the Global Climate in 2005

(WMO-No. 998). It is also available on the Web:

Global temperatures in 2005

The analyses made by various leading

centres indicate that the global mean

surface temperature in 2005 was

0.47°C to 0.58°C above the 1961-

1990 annual average of 14°C. This

places 2005 as one of the two

warmest years in the temperature

record since 1850. (The year 1998 had

annual surface temperatures averag-

ing 0.52°C* above the same 30-year

mean.) The last 10 years, 1996-2005,

with the exception of 1996 and 2000,

are the warmest years on record.

The latest improved analysis of global

temperature made by the Hadley

Centre, The Met Office, UK, marks the

year as the second warmest (0.47°C

above average). Based on similar

improved temperature analyses, but

different methodology, the National

Climatic Data Center, NOAA, USA,

ranks 2005 as the warmest year

(0.52°C above the 1961-1990 annual

average). The analysis of the Goddard

Institute of Space Studies, United

States, also ranks the year as the

warmest (0.58°C above the 1951-1980

annual average). All the temperature

values have uncertainties, which arise

mainly from gaps in data coverage.

The sizes of the uncertainties are

such that the global average temperature

for 2005 is statistically indistinguishable

from that of 1998. Based on

the Hadley Centre analyses, averaged

separately for both hemispheres, surface

temperatures in 2005 for the

northern hemisphere (0.65°C above

the 1961-1990 average) were the

warmest and for the southern hemisphere

(0.28°C above the 1961-1990

average) were the fifth warmest in

the instrumental record from 1850 to

the present.

Since the beginning of the 20th century,

the global average surface temperature

has increased by about

0.6°C. However, this increase has not

been continuous and has risen sharply

since 1976.

Areas of significant warmth were

widespread with large areas of Africa,

Australia, Brazil, the Russian Federa-

* This value is based on the new temperature analysis of the Hadley Centre, UK, introduced

for the first time this year. In the earlier temperature analysis, the temperature anomaly

value for 1998 was +0.54°C.

WMO annual statements

on the status of the global


WMO has issued these statements

to provide credible scientific information

on climate and its

variability since 1993. They

complement the periodic assessments

of the WMO/United

Nations Environment Programme

Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change.

tion, Scandinavia, Canada, China and

south-western USA showing significantly

above-average temperatures.

Much of the North Atlantic and southwest

Pacific Oceans were also significantly

warm, as was the Gulf of

Alaska. Sea-surface temperatures in

the North Atlantic in 2005 were the

warmest on record.

Regional temperature anomalies

Large portions of the northern hemisphere

experienced warm conditions

in 2005 that exceeded 90 per cent of

the annual temperatures recorded in

the 1961-1990 period (the 90th

percentile). Parts of the North Atlantic

and Indian Oceans had warm temperatures

exceeding the 98th percentile.

Only a few small areas in the southern

hemisphere experienced temperatures

below the 10th percentile.

The large-scale climate phenomenon El

Niño can contribute to above-average

warmth, as was the case with the

extremely strong 1997/1998 episode. A

weak El Niño episode that developed in

mid-2004 continued until the beginning

of 2005, but sea-surface temperatures in

the central and east central equatorial

Pacific decreased early in the year and

the episode ended by late February. The



record warmth in 2005 is notable as there

was little influence of the El Niño event

on the 2005 global temperatures.

For Australia, 2005 was the hottest year

since records commenced in 1910, with

about 95 per cent of the continent experiencing

above average mean

temperatures. The previous annual

temperature record was set in 1998.

The nationwide maximum temperature

anomaly in April was +3.11°C, the

largest anomaly recorded for any month

since 1950. During the January-May

period, the hottest maximum temperatures

on record exacerbated the

exceptionally dry conditions.

In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,

extremely harsh heat waves in May

and June brought maximum temperatures

of between 45°C and 50°C. The

maximum temperatures over these

regions were 5°C to 6°C above the

long-term average. The delayed southwest

monsoon rains allowed the heat

wave to persist into June, claiming at

least 400 lives in India.

A severe heat wave gripped southwestern

USA from early to mid-July,

setting up numerous temperature

records. Central Canada experienced

its warmest and most humid summer

on record. In 2005, the number of hot

days in Toronto was more than twice

its average value. In China, the 2005

summer seasonal temperature was

one of the warmest since 1951.

Severe heat-wave conditions also

affected much of southern Europe

and North Africa during July. In Algeria,

the heat wave in July pushed temperatures

as high as 50°C and claimed

more than a dozen lives.

Extremely cold temperatures affected

much of the Balkan region during the

first half of February. In Morocco, a

cold wave in January dropped temperatures

to as low as -14°C. In Sevlievo,

Bulgaria, a 50-year temperature record

Climate highlights of 2005

It was one of the two warmest

years in the temperature record

since 1850.

Australia had its hottest year on


The ozone hole ranked as the

third largest ever recorded

(after 2000 and 2003).

Prolonged drought in the

Greater Horn of Africa put

11 million people at risk from


The Atlantic hurricane season

was the most active on record.

was broken with temperatures dropping

to as low as -34°C. During

December, much of Japan, the

Korean peninsula, China, Mongolia

and parts of the eastern Russian Federation

experienced significantly

colder-than-average temperatures. A

series of winter storms brought below

normal temperatures over parts of

central Europe in December.

Prolonged drought in some regions

Long-term drought continued in parts

of the Greater Horn of Africa, including

southern Somalia, eastern Kenya,

south-eastern Ethiopia, north-eastern

United Republic of Tanzania and Djibouti.

Both the long (March-June) and

short (October-December) rainy seasons

brought below-normal precipitation

over this region. Over 11 million

people in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia

and Kenya were at risk of starvation

due to the effects of recent droughts.

Sporadic rainfall during the 2004/2005

rainy season caused serious shortfalls

in the cereal harvest in Zimbabwe,

Malawi, Angola and Mozambique. At

least 5 million people in Malawi were

threatened with hunger arising from

the worst drought in a decade.

Multi-month drought conditions also

affected much of western Europe during

July, August and September. During

the period October 2004 to June

2005, rainfall was less than half the

normal in areas of the United Kingdom,

France, Spain and Portugal.

Neighbouring Spain and Portugal experienced

the worst drought conditions

since the late 1940s, with 97 per cent

of Portugal affected by severe to

extreme drought. The dry conditions

also aggravated wildfires in the region.

The long-term hydrological drought

continued for southern and eastern

Australia, but eased slightly in the second

half of the year. The period January

to May was exceptionally dry for

much of Australia, with 44 per

cent of the continent experiencing

rainfall in the lowest 10 per cent of

the recorded totals. During this

period, Australia received an average

of only 168 mm of rainfall, the second

lowest January-May total since

records commenced in 1900.

Across the USA, moderate-to-severe

drought persisted throughout parts of

the Pacific North-West eastward into

the northern Rocky Mountains. At the

end of winter, moderate-to-extreme

drought affected 72 per cent of the

Pacific North-West. Below-normal

rainfall beginning in December 2004

caused severe drought conditions

over southern parts of Brazil, where

corn and soybean crops were

severely damaged. In Brazil, the

southernmost state of Rio Grande do

Sul, which is one of the country’s

most prolific agricultural states, was

the worst affected. The state of Amazonas

experienced the worst drought

in nearly 60 years, resulting in record

low water levels in the Amazon River.

In October, drought conditions

extended further south into neighbouring

Paraguay. By the end of the

year, drought affected much of central

USA from the southern Great Plains

to the western Great Lakes. Parts of

Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma and

Texas had the driest March-December

in the 111-year record.

Rainfall and flooding

Global precipitation in 2005 was near

the 1961-1990 average. Wetter-than-average

conditions prevailed over

Central America, eastern parts of

Europe, India, China and Canada.

Drier-than-average conditions were

widespread across eastern Australia,

Brazil, parts of western Europe, central

Africa and, in the USA, the Mississippi

valley and southern Great Plains







Record Atlantic hurricane season

180° 120°W 60°W 0 60°E 120° 180°

-400 -300 -200 -100 -50 50 100 200 300 400

Early indications of a very active Atlantic hurricane season proved accurate.

The seasonÕs stor ms caused a vast amount of damage, death and destruction.

Damage estimates have already been put at more than US$ 100

billion (mostly from Hurricane Katrina) and over 2 800 deaths (mostly from

Katrina and Stan).

The season saw 27 named tropical storms, making it the most active

season on record (the previous record was for 21 named storms in 1933).

Thirteen became hurricanes—the most to form in a single season. Of

these, seven were major hurricanes, one short of the 1950 record. Fifteen

systems made landfall—another record. It is the first hurricane season,

Atlantic or Pacific, to exhaust the list of names and resort to Greek letters

for naming.

Wilma was the most powerful hurricane, in terms of both wind speed and

air pressure, ever measured in the Atlantic basin. Wilma also broke records

for fastest development, going from tropical storm status to Category 5

hurricane in less than 24 hours.

The last storm, Zeta, developed on 30 December and persisted until 6

January 2006. The Atlantic hurricane season usually runs from 1 June to

30 November.

Annual precipitation anomalies (departures in millimetres from a 1979-2000 base period) for

2005. Green and yellow indicate areas that received above normal precipitation for the calendar

year 2005 as a whole while pink and red depict those regions of the world that were drier than

normal. Areas in white show regions where departures are within +/- 50 mm of the average

annual value. Precipitation values are obtained by merging rain-gauge observations and satellite-derived

precipitation estimates. (Source: Climate Prediction Center, NOAA, USA)

The south-west monsoon during June-

September brought unprecedented

heavy rain and widespread massive

flooding to parts of western and southern

India, affecting more than 20

million people and resulting in more

than1800 deaths. On 27 July, Mumbai

recorded unprecedented heavy rainfall

of 944 mm in the previous 24 hours,

which is an all-time 24-hour rainfall

record for the city. The devastating

floods in Mumbai caused economic

losses of about US$ 3.5 million (see

article on page 126).

Heavy rainfall continued unabated in

south-eastern parts of India, during

the north-east monsoon season of

October-December. The associated

devastating floods affected more than

2 million people with at least

300 fatalities and caused considerable

adverse socio-economic impacts. The

north-east monsoon also produced

extremely heavy rainfall in parts




Third warmest


United States wildfires

Record area burned (about

3.5 million hectares); much in

Alaska (1.8 million hectares)

North-west United States

Severe winter drought

Western United States

July heatwave; many

new daily heat records

South-west United States

Multiple strong winter

storms; record rain and snow

East Pacific hurricane season

Below average activity;

15 named storms,

7 hurricanes

Weak El Niño transitions to neutral

ENSO in boreal spring

Developing La Niña at year’s end


Annual temperature

anomalies of 2-3 o C

above average

North-east United States/

South-east Canada

Major winter storm (January);

snowiest month on record for Boston

Central United States

Expansion of severe

drought in summer

Northeast United States

Record wet October,

3 separate storm systems;

also heavy rain and flooding

in April

of the Malay Peninsula, Sri Lanka, the

central Philippines, Thailand and Viet

Nam. In Thailand, at least 52 deaths

were attributed to one of the worst

floods in nearly 30 years. In Viet Nam,

flooding claimed at least 69 lives and

caused damage to property.

During the third week of June, consecutive

heavy rainstorms in parts of

Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi

provinces in southern China killed at

least 170 people and affected some

21 million people. Heavy rainfall

across southern China continued into

July, with floods affecting the upper

reaches of the Huaihe basin. Across

northern China, heavy rainfall during

late September to early October produced

extensive flooding in the Hanjiang

and the Wei basins, affecting

about 5.52 million people.

Persistent heavy rains during the

period May-August led to destructive

Arctic sea ice

Lowest extent on record in September

Western Europe

Severe summer

drought; forest fires

Eastern Europe

Severe flooding (May-August)

Antarctic ozone hole – 24.4 million km 2 at its peak

in mid-September; above 10-year average

flooding in eastern Europe, particularly

in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and

The former Yugoslav Republic of

Macedonia, causing damage to property,

infrastructure and agriculture.

Torrential rainfall in mid-August also

flooded sections of Switzerland, Austria

and southern Germany and the

Czech Republic. The hardest hit was

Romania, where 66 flood-related fatalities

and losses of at least US$1.9 million

in damage were reported. During

April and May, floods and landslides

were widespread in southern parts of

the Russian Federation, affecting

more than 4 000 people. In the first

week of January, a severe winter

storm affected parts of Sweden and

neighbouring countries, including Denmark

and Latvia, causing an economic

loss of about US$ 2.3 billion for the

forest industry.

An onslaught of winter storms in early

January brought exceptionally heavy

Northern hemisphere snow cover extent

Least extensive snow cover on record for August and July;

thirteenth least extensive snow year (out of 33)

Annual temperature anomalies

of 2-4 o Russian Federation

C above average


Severe winter weather

and much below average

winter temperatures

Tajikistan, Pakistan, India

Severe winter storms; snow and

avalanches (January/February),

rain/flooding in southern

Pakistan/Afghanistan (February-March)

Hurricane Wilma (October)

Third category 5 storm of the

season; lowest central pressure

on record for the Atlantic;

category 4 at landfall in Mexico,

Hurricane Emily

category 3 in Florida

Category 4, 155 mph

Hurricane Katrina (August)

at peak intensity

Category 5 storm, category 3 at

landfall, led to over 1 300 deaths

in Louisiana and Mississippi

Hurricane Rita (September)

Second category 5 storm of the season,

Central America

made landfall in Texas at category 3

Heavy rainfall/mudslides (October),

Hurricane Dennis (July)

Category 4 at landfall in Cuba

hundreds of deaths;

possibly related to Hurricane Stan

Atlantic hurricane season

Venezuela, Colombia

Above average activity

27 named storms – most on record

Heavy rainfall and

14 hurricanes – most on record

flooding/landslides (February) 7 “major” hurricanes


Drought, worst in 60 years;

lowest Amazon flow


in 30 years

Heavy rainfall (January–February),

Georgetown flooded


Heavy snow (May)

Brazil (south)

in Andes; worst

Drought (December-March);

snowstorm in 30 years

severe agricultural impacts,

water shortages

Western Europe/

North Africa

Heatwave (July)

Algeria (north)

Heaviest snowfall

since 1950 (January)

Africa ITCZ

North of mean position in June/July

contributed to active early Atlantic

hurricane season


Torrential rain (March);

severe flooding

Islamic Republic of

Heavy rain and flooding in May–July

Iran (north)

Indian monsoon rainfall

Snow (February), worst

Near normal (98%) for 2005

accumulations in

Typhoon Haitang (July)

Tehran since 1964


Over 944 mm of

Typhoon Talim (August)


rain in 24 hours for

Landfall at 195 km/h

Heatwave in May/June;

Mumbai in July; temperatures near 50°C

Typhoon Damrey (September)

major flooding

Worst typhoon to strike Hainan in

from monsoon rains

several decades, about 150 deaths


Rain and Thailand


Worst drought in 7 years (April),

Greater Horn

water shortages

Two February tropical cyclones

flooding in

Continued long-term

Both affected Samoa, Cook Islands



Olaf: sustained winds of 260 km/h,


gusts up to 300 km/h

Percy: sustained winds of 240 km/h

Tropical cyclone Ingrid


Sustained winds of 250 km/h;

only cyclone on record to make


landfall in 3 Australian states

as a major cyclone


Dry January-May; dryness

exacerbated by warmest

Western Australia

South-eastern Africa

year on record nationwide

Equalled all-time monthly

more details on Australia

Continued long-term

maximum temperature

drought; worst drought

for Australia at

in 10 years in Malawi

Nyang Station

(44.8°C, January)


Cold temperatures;

snow at sea level in Victoria for

first time in over 50 years

New Zealand

Heavy rain (May), flooding

around the Bay of Plenty

Significant climatic anomalies and events in 2005. The average global temperature was the second warmest on record. There has been a rise

in global temperature greater than 0.6°C since 1900. (Source: National Climatic Data Center, NOAA, USA)

rain, snow and flooding to the southwestern

USA. Los Angeles, California,

experienced its second wettest rainfall

season on record. In January, a

major snowstorm affected areas of

the north-eastern USA with more than

30 cm of accumulated snow. Record

rainfall occurred in the north-east USA

in the autumn of 2005, with three

storm systems affecting the region.

Across Canada, 2005 was the wettest

year on record. In June, three major

rain events in southern Alberta produced

the costliest natural disaster in

the province’s history. Calgary experienced

its wettest month ever in

125 years of record.

Heavy rains in January and February

caused massive flooding in Guyana’s

capital, Georgetown, and surrounding

areas affecting more than 290 000

people. In February, at least two

weeks of heavy rainfall in Colombia

and Venezuela caused river flooding

and landslides that resulted in the

deaths of at least 80 people. Across

Costa Rica and Panama, heavy rains

in January caused flooding that was

responsible for displacing more than

35000 people. In October, Hurricane

Stan caused flooding and mudslides

in parts of Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras

and El Salvador, leading to the

deaths of hundreds of people.

Cold weather and heavy snowfall

that began in January continued in

February in south-west Asia, causing

avalanches. In parts of Tajikistan,

two metres of snow accumulated

in two weeks. During

February, sections of northern Pakistan

and neighbouring areas of

northern India received heavy snowfall,

described as the worst in two

decades. In India, at least 230 people

died as a result of the extreme

winter weather. In Pakistan's northwest

province, 360 deaths in February

were attributed to flooding,

landslides and avalanches. Heavy

rains in March also caused flooding

in parts of western Pakistan and

Afghanistan, resulting in more than

200 fatalities. In December, recordbreaking

heavy snowfall occurred in

parts of Japan, claiming at least

80 lives. A record maximum snowfall

of 58 cm was recorded at Akita

in December.

In New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty

floods in May were most disastrous,

with unprecedented heavy

rainfall causing widespread damage

in parts of Tauranga. It was one of

the wettest years on record in parts

of the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s

Bay. In the South Pacific, heavy

rains and high storm surges owing

to tropical cyclones Olaf and Percy

impacted the coastal areas of

Samoa, American Samoa, Cook

Islands and Manua Islands, causing

coastal flooding and displacing thousands

of people.

Antarctic ozone hole

In 2005, the size of the Antarctic

ozone hole was close to 2003 values

and well above the 1995-2004 average.

The maximum size of the

Antarctic ozone hole, 24.4 million

km 2 , was reached in the third week

of September. The ozone hole in 2005

dissipated earlier than usual, in mid-

November. Based on satellite

observations, the ozone hole of 2005

ranks as the third largest ever

recorded after 2000 and 2003. In

2005, greater ozone depletion took

place in the Arctic. During the spring

of 2005, in large portions of the Arctic

region, average values of total ozone

were 30-45 per cent lower than

comparable values during the early


Arctic sea ice

Typically, September is the month

with the least sea-ice extent in the

Arctic. By the end of September

2005, the Arctic sea-ice extent

dropped far below the average for

the fourth consecutive year. It was

about 20 per cent less than the

1979-2004 average, the lowest

extent ever observed during the

satellite record since 1979. Satellite

information suggests a general

decline of 8 per cent of Arctic seaice

extent at the end of September

over the last 25 years. Warmerthan-average

Arctic temperatures

and an early arrival of the sea-ice

melt season are the main causes

for the intensification of the sea-ice

decline in 2005.




R. WEIHER, 1995: Value of improved

long-range weather information.

Contemporary Economic Policy

13: 10-19.



Global crop


review 2005*

The following is an annual review of

regional crop production, comparing

2005 with the previous year. For both

the northern and southern hemispheres,

these summaries reflect

growing-season weather for crops

that were harvested in the calendar

year of 2005. For most countries,

changes in production for 2005 are

based on crop estimates released by

the United States Department of Agriculture

(USDA) in February 2006.

Wheat and coarse grain: summary

In 2005, world wheat production

declined about 2 per cent from 2004.

Wheat production increased in

Canada, Mexico, the Islamic Republic

of Iran, the Russian Federation,

Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China, Pakistan,

South Africa and Australia. It declined

in the USA, countries of the European

Union, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia,

Turkey, Brazil and Argentina. The

* Prepared by the Joint Agricultural Weather

Facility of the US Department of Agriculture

country-level changes in 2005 wheat

production from 2004 are shown in

Figure 1. World coarse-grain production

was down 5 per cent in 2005.

Production increased in Hungary,

Turkey, China, Argentina and South

Africa. It declined in the USA, Canada,

most of the European Union, Ukraine,

the Russian Federation, Mexico, India,

Brazil and Australia.

In the USA, wheat production (winter,

spring and durum) declined 2 per cent

from 2004. Production totals of hard

red winter and white winter wheat

were similar to the previous year, but

soft red winter wheat production was

down 19 per cent from 2004. Excessive

autumn wetness in the delta dramatically

reduced soft red winter

wheat planted area. US spring wheat

production was also down, coming in

11 per cent below 2004. US corn production

was down 6 per cent from the

record 2004 crop. A regional drought

in the central corn belt lowered corn

production in northern Illinois and

adjacent areas.

In Canada, wheat production rose

4 per cent in 2005, due to generally

favourable growing conditions and an

improvement of long-term drought

that had plagued the Prairies in previous

years. Unlike 2004, the first

autumn freeze arrived later than usual,

allowing spring crops to mature normally.

Barley production was down

about 5 per cent due to lower yield

and reduced area. Corn production

rose about 7 per cent, with crop yield

in Ontario rebounding from 2004.

The European Union experienced a

10 per cent decline in wheat production,

due to contrasting weather

extremes in eastern and western

Europe. France, Germany, the United

Kingdom, Poland, Italy and Spain

account for about 80 per cent of total

wheat production. In 2005, drought

plagued western Europe after a

favourable growing season in 2004.

On the Iberian Peninsula, drought

reached record proportions, significantly

reducing crop yields and depleting

reservoirs and irrigation supplies.

In France, dryness was not as

extreme, but still significant enough to

lower wheat production by 7 per cent.

In contrast, persistent wetness in

south-eastern Europe flooded fields

and damaged crops. Wheat production

declined in Hungary (12 per cent),

Increase in production

No change in production

Decrease in production

No wheat production or statistics

Figure 1 — Country-level change in 2005 wheat production from 2004

Bulgaria (14 per cent) and Romania

(9 per cent), due mostly to yield

reductions caused by persistent,

untimely rain. In addition, there were

significant harvest delays across Hungary

and the Balkans as a result of

excessive rain from July into September,

although drier weather in October

allowed fieldwork to resume. Farther

north, modest reductions over the

previous year’s wheat crop were

reported in Germany and the United

Kingdom (6 and 3 per cent, respectively).

In Poland, ideal winter and

spring moisture was followed by an

untimely spell of dry weather in late

June and early July, causing an 11 per

cent decline in wheat production.

Winterkill was confined to north-west

Poland, where an early February

freeze occurred in a snow-free area.

Western drought and eastern flooding

also caused European Union coarse

grain production to drop 13 per cent,

with corn and barley production

decreasing 10 and 14 per cent, respectively.

Below-normal summer rainfall

coupled with periods of extreme heat

lowered corn production in France by

19 per cent. Barley production in Spain

was down 59 per cent in 2005, due to

severe drought on the Iberian

Peninsula (Figure 2). Corn production

declined 10-25 per cent from 2004

across most European Union countries.

Corn production in France was

down 19 per cent. Likewise, barley

production in most European Union

countries decreased 6-10 per cent

from the 2004 crop, although production

gains were reported in Italy (7 per

cent) and Denmark (6 per cent).

The unseasonably wet weather across

south-eastern Europe reduced the

region’s coarse grain production. Corn

production was down 25 per cent in

Romania, despite nearly identical corn

acreage to 2004. Likewise, barley production

decreased 21 per cent owing

to flooding and persistent wetness.

Precipitation (mm)














31 Jul.

10 Aug.

20 Aug.

30 Aug.

9 Sep.

19 Sep.

29 Sep.

9 Oct.

19 Oct.

29 Oct.

8 Nov.

18 Nov.

28 Nov.

8 Dec.

18 Dec.

28 Dec.

7 Jan.

17 Jan.

27 Jan.

6 Feb.

16 Feb.

26 Feb.

8 Mar.

18 Mar.

28 Mar.

7 Apr.

17 Apr.

27 Apr.

7 May

17 May

27 May

6 June

16 June

26 June

In the Russian Federation, winter

wheat is grown mostly in the Southern

District and southern areas of

the Central and Volga Districts. Most

of the spring wheat crop is grown

from the Volga District eastward

through the Siberia District. The

combination of favourable growing

conditions, along with a 15 per cent

increase in planted area, resulted in

an 11 per cent increase in winter

wheat production from 2004. In the

autumn of 2004, mild weather and

adequate moisture in October and

November favoured winter wheat

establishment and alleviated prior

concerns about a lack of planting

moisture in September.

Unusually mild weather in November

promoted later-than-usual

growth of winter wheat in most

areas. The winter-wheat crop

entered dormancy one to two

weeks later than usual. Unseasonably

mild weather provided

favourable overwintering conditions

for the winter-wheat crop during

most of the winter. Winterkill for

winter grains was reportedly 8 per

cent, which is below the 10-year

average of 13 per cent and below

the previous winter’s winterkill of 10

per cent. In March, the coldest

weather since 1996 maintained an

unusually late snowpack, delaying

the greening of winter wheat.

Figure 2 —


precipitation for



In April, a warming trend melted the

late-season snow cover and prompted

greening in winter wheat, about two

weeks later than usual. Adequate precipitation

during key stages of crop

development benefited crops in May

and June, and was followed by

favourable harvest weather. Regarding

spring wheat, weather conditions

favoured timely planting in the Urals

and Siberia Districts, while wet

weather in the Volga District slowed

early planting activities. During the

remainder of the growing season,

mild weather and above-normal precipitation

favoured crops in the Urals

and western areas in Siberia, while

periodic heat and dryness lowered

yield prospects in key spring-wheat

producing areas in the eastern Volga

District and eastern areas of Siberia.

These declines in crop prospects

were not made up in other areas that

experienced more favourable

weather, resulting in a 4 per cent

decline in spring-wheat production

over the previous year. Coarse grain

production in Russia declined by 7 per

cent in 2005, due mainly to a decline

in area planted with spring barley.

Spring barley is grown throughout the

Russian Federation and accounts for

about 50 per cent of coarse grain production.

More favourable weather

resulted in a 26 per cent increase in

2005 rye production. Although



favourable weather boosted yield

prospects for corn, production fell 9

per cent due to an 11 per cent decline

in planted area.

In Ukraine, most of the wheat grown

in the country consists of winter varieties.

In the autumn of 2004, near- to

above-normal precipitation in September

and October provided adequateto-abundant

moisture for crop emergence

and establishment, and mild

autumn weather conditions promoted

later-than-usual growth. Crops

entered dormancy during the second

half of November, about one to two

weeks later than usual. Unusually mild

weather during the winter provided

favourable overwintering conditions

for crops. Winterkill totalled only 3 per

cent, the lowest level in 15 years. In

March, the coldest weather since

1996 maintained snow cover two to

three weeks later than usual, keeping

winter wheat dormant.

In April, a warming trend prompted

greening in winter wheat about two

weeks later than usual. In May,

unseasonably warm, dry weather prevailed

over the eastern half of the

country, causing the winter wheat

crop, which advanced through the

highly weather- sensitive heading

stage of development, to rely on rapidly

declining subsoil moisture

reserves to sustain normal crop development.

May’s dryness in the region

was followed by above-normal precipitation

in early June, benefiting the

crop in the grain-filling stage.

Farther west, timely rains in May and

early June favoured winter wheat that

advanced through the reproductive

phase of development. In July,

weather conditions favoured rapid harvest

activities. Overall, winter wheat

production increased 8 per cent from

2004, due mainly to the extremely

low winterkill that resulted in a higher

area, as well as similar yield prospects

to those of the previous year. Coarse

grain production was down 21 per

cent from 2004 levels. Production for

both spring barley and corn production

declined 19 per cent. For spring barley,

wet weather at planting and early

growth stages resulted in shallow root

systems. Hot, dry weather in May

negatively impacted the shallowrooted

crop. Despite favourable

weather conditions for corn, production

declines were caused by a 28 per

cent reduction in planted area from

the previous year.

In Kazakhstan, spring grains (mostly

spring wheat and spring barley)

account for most of the total grain

production. Spring barley typically

accounts for about 80 per cent of

Kazakhstan’s coarse grain production.

Furthermore, most of the wheat

grown in the country is of a spring

variety. Periods of dry weather helped

spring grain planting in May, while

above-normal precipitation in June

favoured crop emergence and growth.

Major grain-producing areas in the

north-central portion of the country

received near- to above-normal precipitation

in July, boosting yield

prospects. As a result, wheat production

in 2005 increased 11 per cent

from 2004. Coarse grain production

remained at last year’s levels, mainly

due to less area planted to barley.

In Turkey, winter wheat and barley

production decreased 3 per cent. In

the Islamic Republic of Iran,

favourable growing-season weather

and a continued expansion in area

boosted wheat production 4 per cent,

resulting in another year of record

wheat production.

In north-western Africa, a southward

extension of the drought that gripped

the Iberian Peninsula resulted in periods

of untimely dryness. Consequently,

significant reductions were

seen in both wheat and barley production.

In Morocco, hardest hit by the

drought, wheat production decreased

45 per cent from 2004. Wheat yields

in Morocco were down 43 per cent

from 2004. In Algeria, wheat and barley

production declined by 42 and

70 per cent, respectively. The decline

in Algerian wheat production resulted

from a 30 per cent decrease in

planted area and an 18 per cent

decline in yield.

In China, wheat production increased

6 per cent due to favourable weather

and increased area. Corn production

increased by 3 per cent in 2005,

mainly due to a 3 per cent increase in

planted area.

In India, a small decrease in area was

offset by a minor increase in yield,

resulting in similar winter-wheat production.

In Pakistan, an increase in

yields and area coupled with generally

favourable weather resulted in an

11 per cent increase in wheat production.

Indian coarse-grain production

fell about 2 per cent in 2005, as a latearriving

monsoon coupled with

untimely dryness in August caused

yields to drop by 3 per cent.

In the southern hemisphere, Australian

wheat production increased

6 per cent in 2005. In Western Australia,

warm, showery weather during

the autumn aided winter-wheat planting

and establishment. A period of

dryness during the winter slowed

growth, but near-normal rainfall and

generally seasonable temperatures

during the remainder of the growing

season provided nearly ideal weather

for reproductive to filling winter

wheat. In south-eastern Australia,

very dry weather during the autumn

caused extensive planting delays, raising

concerns that drought would significantly

reduce winter-wheat production

in this region. Nevertheless,

soaking rain spread over south-eastern

Australia in mid-June and persisted

throughout the growing season

greatly improving winter-wheat

prospects. In northern New South

Wales and southern Queensland,

warm, wet weather in the autumn

helped early winter- wheat development.

Below-normal precipitation during

the winter and spring and hot

weather late in the growing season,

however, were probably responsible

for some declines in yield potential.

In South Africa, wheat production rose

about 7 per cent due to improved

yields and favourable harvest weather

in key production areas of Western

Cape and Free State. South African

corn production was up 21 per cent as

the highest yields in recent memory

more than offset marginal declines in

acreage. In Argentina, 2005 corn production

was about 30 per cent higher

than the previous year’s droughtreduced

crop, mainly due to timely

showers in major production areas of

Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires.

In contrast, winter-wheat production

was down 24 per cent due to a combination

of problems, including drought,

a late spring freeze and untimely harvest

rains in the main growing areas of

central Argentina. In Brazil, winterwheat

production fell about 20 per

cent, due to unusual wetness during

harvest in Parana. Corn production fell

more than 15 per cent from 2004, as a

second year of summer drought

impacted both the main-season and

winter-corn crop.

Oilseed Summary

World oilseed production rose 2 per

cent in 2005. Oilseed production

increased in the USA, Canada, the

Russian Federation, Ukraine, India,

Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina, and

declined in the European Union, and


In North America, US soybean production

was the second highest on

record, down 1 per cent from 2004.

Weather conditions were extremely

favourable across northern growing

areas, while drought reduced soybean

yield potential from Texas north-eastward

to Illinois. In Canada, rapeseed

(canola) production was up 25 per

cent from 2004, due to an increase in

both area and yields boosted by a second

season of long-term drought

relief. Soybean production rose

slightly due to increased yield and

similar acreage levels to 2004 in


In the European Union, oilseed production

in 2005 was down 2 per cent

from 2004, due to drier-than-normal

weather. In particular, Spain’s oilseed

crop suffered substantially from the

effects of drought, with a 41 per cent

decrease in production. European

Union rapeseed production increased

1 per cent, reflecting production gains

in France and the United Kingdom

(11 and 21 per cent, respectively) offset

by decreases in production across

the remainder of Europe. Sunflower-

seed production declined in many

countries, due to reduced area and

unfavourable weather; Spain (49 per

cent reduction) experienced the

largest decline.

In the Russian Federation and

Ukraine, sunflower production rose

35 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively

in 2005. Growing-season

weather conditions were favourable

for sunflowers, boosting yields above

the previous year. In addition, the area

planted with sunflowers increased in

both the Russian Federation and


In China, below-normal rainfall and

lower yields reduced 2005 winter

rapeseed production by over 13 per

cent. Additionally, soybean production

was down about 2 per cent due in

part to flooding and lower yields in

key growing areas of Manchuria.

In India, total oilseed production

increased slightly (2 per cent) in 2005.

Winter rapeseed production was up

5 per cent from last year, primarily

due to a 4 per cent increase in area.

For the second consecutive year,

summer oilseed production was

mixed. Soybean production (up 9 per



cent) was not adversely affected by

the erratic start to the 2005 monsoon

season, due in part to higher acreage

(6 per cent increase). Peanut (groundnut)

production was down 3 per cent,

mainly due to flooding in key groundnut

areas of Gujarat and southern

India. In Gujarat, India’s second

largest groundnut-producing state,

excessive monsoon rainfall flooded

fields, increasing disease concerns

and reducing yield potential. Farther

south, India’s rabi (winter) groundnut

crop was adversely impacted by

unseasonably heavy rainfall during the

flowering stage in October.

In Argentina, soybean production rose

almost 20 per cent in 2005. Nearly

ideal growing conditions benefited

flowering and pod-filling soybeans

during January and February in the

main growing areas. Similarly,

sunflower production increased about

10 per cent due to increased yield on

marginally larger area. In southern

Brazil, soybean farmers experienced a

second year of drought (see Figure 3)

and yields were slightly lower than

those recorded in 2004. However,

production was about 4 per cent

higher due to a sixth consecutive year

of record planted area and fewer problems

with Asian Rust in northern

growing areas compared with the

previous year.

Rice Summary

World rice production rose 2 per cent

in 2005. Rice production increased

slightly throughout most of South-

East Asia and India.

In India, rice production increased

2 per cent. Production increased 3 per

cent in Bangladesh, which was spared

from flooding for much of the season.

Pakistan recorded an increase of

Precipitation (mm)












1 Jan.

5 Jan.

9 Jan.

13 Jan.

17 Jan.

21 Jan.

25 Jan.

29 Jan.

2 Feb.

6 Feb.

10 Feb.

14 Feb.

18 Feb.

22 Feb.

28 Feb.

2 Mar.

6 Mar.

10 Mar.

18 Mar.

22 Mar.

26 Mar.

30 Mar.

3 Apr.

7 Apr.

11 Apr.

15 Apr.

19 Apr.

23 Apr.

27 Apr.

about 10 per cent due to higher yields

(also up 9 per cent). In Thailand, production

rose by nearly 5 per cent due

to a more normal monsoon season as

compared with the previous year. In

Viet Nam, rice production in 2005

remained virtually unchanged from

the previous year. In China, 2005 rice

production rose slightly, due primarily

to an increase in area.

Cotton Summary

World cotton production declined by

5 per cent in 2005. Cotton production

increased in the USA, Uzbekistan, and

Argentina, and declined in China,

India, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil.

In the northern hemisphere, USA cotton

production was up 2 per cent from

2004 and reached a record high for the

second consecutive year. Most of the

US cotton belt experienced favourable

growing and harvest conditions,

although the remnants of hurricanes

Katrina (late August) and Rita (late September)

produced heavy rain and gusty

winds in the lower Mississippi Valley.

In Uzbekistan, favourable weather conditions

during the growing season and

autumn harvest period resulted in an

8 per cent increase in cotton production.

In China, production decreased by

Figure 3 —


precipitation for

Rio Grande Do

Sul, Brazil.

10 per cent. Despite favourable growing

conditions in Xinjiang, wet weather

on the North China Plain, while bolls

were open, reduced yields. Turkish

production decreased by nearly 15 per

cent due to unfavourably wet weather

during the cotton harvest. In India, cotton

production decreased 2 per cent

due in part to heavy late-season rain in

northern India, which fell as cotton

reached the open-boll stage of development.

Production in Pakistan also

dropped (14 per cent) in response to

unseasonably heavy rains in September.

In the southern hemisphere, Australian

cotton production surged

approximately 76 per cent in 2005 in

response to improved soil moisture

and reservoir levels. Near-normal rainfall

during 2004 helped break the devastating

drought that enveloped northern

New South Wales and southern

Queensland during 2002 and 2003,

boosting moisture supplies for dryland

and irrigated crops. In Argentina, production

jumped 31 per cent as

increased area offset a decline in

yield. In Brazil, production fell slightly

as drought-reduced yields were partially

offset by a 6 per cent increase in


Winner of an





100 years ago

Gabriel Guilbert (1862-1940) © Météo-France

By Jean-Pierre Javelle*

On 30 September 1905, the jury of the

international short-range weather forecasting

competition unanimously

decided to award the prize to Gabriel

Guilbert (1862-1940), secretary of the

Commission météorologique du

Calvados. The jury also gave a

* Chief, Documentation Department,


commendation to work carried out by

Emile Durand-Gréville (1838-1913),

one of the French representatives at

the International Meteorological

Conference in Innsbruck, which had

taken place at the beginning of the

month. French meteorology was

therefore recognized, even though

Guilbert and Durand-Gréville were not

among the then approximately thirty

staff of the Bureau central

météorologique (BCM), the predecessor

of Météo-France.

The competition was organized by

the Société belge d’astronomie on

the occasion of the Liege (Belgium)

International Exhibition and great

Gabriel Guilbert

This article appeared in

Atmosphériques No. 25 (January

2006 issue).

It has been reproduced here

with the kind permission of


care was taken to ensure that it

would be of a serious, scientific

nature. The jury was made up of

renowned experts, including Léon

Teisserenc de Bort, Director of the

Observatoire de météorologie

dynamique in Trappes, who was

Guilbert was a passionate meteorologist and an excellent observer and

forecaster, but he also had a strong personality and a distinct taste for

arguments, so had turbulent relationships with his peers. On 6 April 1886,

he exhibited the “cloud sequences” which he had discovered, at the

Société météorologique de France (SMF).

In the SMF’s yearbook of 1891 he published the rules of forecasting based

on the relationship between observations of the horizontal pressuregradient

and wind speed, which he later used in 1905 in the forecasting


As from 1912 he prepared the weather forecasts for the daily newspaper Le

Matin. During the First World War, he worked with the Bureau

météorologique militaire, then in 1921 he became a first class meteorologist

at the recently created Office national météorologique (ONM), which

replaced the Bureau central météorologique, though this did not prevent

him from harshly criticizing the ONM’s forecasting methods in the press.

In the preface of his book, Les systèmes nuageux [Cloud Systems]

published in 1922, Colonel Delcambre, director of the ONM, paid

homage to Guilbert’s groundbreaking ideas on cloud sequences.

In 1923 and 1924, Guilbert unsuccessfully proposed the organization of

another international weather forecasting competition. Until the end of

the 1930s, he continued to produce weather forecasts for Le Matin and

published many popular works on weather forecasting.



The situation on 7 December 1899 analysed by Emile Durand-Gréville for the competition.

The isobars are plotted millimetre by millimetre of mercury. © Météo-France

famous for having discovered the

stratosphere in 1902.

Twenty-four competitors entered. The

first round, comprising a practical test,

took place from 1 to 15 September.

Each day, candidates had to send their

forecasts for the next day to the

Société belge d’astronomie in

Brussels. After this first test, nine

candidates were invited to Liege, of

whom seven actually went there.

During the second test, from 26 to

28 September, the candidates had

to forecast the next day’s weather

for ten situations in the past, seven

having been selected at random and

three because of the problems they

posed. The three candidates who

got the best results, Durand-

Gréville, Guilbert and the Dutch

forecaster, Nell, had to explain their

methods and answer the jury’s

questions. The jury unanimously

decided to award the prize to

Guilbert, but also commended

Durand-Gréville for the quality of

some of his forecasts as well as his

remarkable work on squalls. We

now know that the “squall lines and

bands” revealed by Durand-Gréville

in 1892 foreshadowed the cold

fronts made popular by the

Norwegian school of meteorology

more than twenty years later. Pierre

Duvergé recently published an interesting

article in Arc-en-Ciel, the

bulletin of the Association des

anciens de la météorologie, summarizing

the ideas of his forgotten

precursor, Durand-Gréville, and

highlighting his other talents as a

journalist and art critic.

50 years

ago ...

Prof. H. Riehl of the University of Chicago

delivers a lecture on the structure of hurricanes

during the first international seminar on

hurricanes (Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic,

16-25 February 1956).

Excerpts drawn from WMO Bulletin

5 (2), April 1956*

This issue carried articles on the first

Caribbean Hurricane seminar, the

International Geophysical Year 1957-

1958, activities of the Technical Commissions,

utilization of wind power in

India, meteorology in Europe, use of

micro-opaque cards in meteorology,

collaboration with other international

organizations, the Technical Assistance

Programme, meteorological

transmissions in Europe and the international

scale of radiation.

Caribbean Hurricane Seminar

Fifty-six meteorologists, lecturers and

participants from 18 countries

attended the first international hurricane

seminar. Topics included formation,

structure and movement of hurricanes;

the use of radar in tracking the

movement and in determining rainfall

patterns; numerical forecasting; aircraft

reconnaissance; national hurricane

warning systems; and construction

methods necessary to minimize

property damage and the loss of life in

regions vulnerable to hurricanes.

The Secretary-General [of WMO],

Mr D.A. Davies, stated that, in general,

technical assistance was given

primarily to strengthen the economies

of less developed nations with a view

to promoting their economic and political

independence and to helping

them to achieve higher levels of economic

and social welfare. Meteorology

was an important field in this

assistance. Daily weather forecasts

and climatological studies assisted

agriculture, aviation, sea transport,

fishing and domestic industries to

prosper and timely warnings of severe

weather, such as hurricanes and

floods, aid in minimizing the disasters

caused by weather.

A most important aspect of international

gatherings was the opportunity

for meteorologists from various countries

to become acquainted. Probably

no other social effort of man required

closer cooperation and coordination

* A more detailed version of the WMO Bulletin 50 years ago can be found at

between nations than the practice of

the science of meteorology. Cooperation

was much easier to achieve

when the parties knew each other. An

impersonal request takes on a personal

meaning and is not, therefore,

easily dismissed.

International Geophysical Year

(IGY) 1957-1958

The overall programme for the International

Geophysical Year was the

responsibility of the [then] International

Council of Scientific Unions

(ICSU) but WMO’s role was of great

importance. A group of experts met

in March 1956 to discuss outstanding


The experts supported a proposal

that the meteorological programme

should include the measurement of

evaporation and evapotranspiration.

They also supported a proposal to

include investigations using tritium,

in the form of heavy water vapour,

as a means of following air movement.

The release of heavy water

vapour over the Antarctic, for example,

could contribute to a solution of

the problem of the mixing of Antarctic

air masses with the rest of the


The WMO Secretariat would act as an

international meteorological centre for

the IGY. Its main functions would be

to collect the essential meteorological

data and to make arrangements for

supplying copies of the data to scientific

institutes and researchers.

Meteorological Services would be

requested to supply data from their

main synoptic surface stations, upperair

stations and selected ships. The

data would be supplied on standard

forms to ensure a reasonably homogeneous

presentation.The WMO IGY

Unit would register the forms and

send them out for reproduction on



micro-opaque cards. Copes of these

cards would then be made available at

cost price.

The period 1 to 5 January 1957 would be

designated as a trial period for the IGY.

Utilization of wind power in India

Studies were being carried out with a

view to developing wind-power

resources in India. This included the

identification of favourable sites

where the availability of power under

optimum conditions could be


It was concluded that large, untapped

resources of wind power could be

profitably used in rural areas for purposes

such as pumping water for

drinking, sanitation, irrigation of small

holdings, drainage, etc. Other possible

uses of windmills in rural areas are for

the processing of agricultural products,

such as grinding corn, threshing

and oil extraction.

Most regions in India have average

wind velocities of less than 16 km/h.

Studies of windmill efficiency had

indicated that economic utilization of

windmills would be possible in these

regions only by construction of fairly

large size windmills at low cost using

indigenous materials. A design project

had been initiated with a prototype

windmill using wood and bamboo.

A proposal was now under consideration

by the Government of India for

utilizing wind power on a large scale in

accordance with a phased programme.

It was contemplated to use more than

20 000 small windmills in rural areas and

perhaps a few hundred medium-sized

wind electric plants for electric supply,

for the operation of pumping installations

and for supply of electricity in outof-the-way

localities for lighthouses,

plantations, etc.


The Republic of Korea became

the 94th Member of WMO on

16 March 1956.

Collaboration with other international


WMO was represented at the sixth

session of the FAO Indo-Pacific

Fisheries Council (Tokyo, 30 September-

14 October 1955). The Council

promoted the development and proper

utilization of living aquatic resources of

the Indo-Pacific area, through international


Weather is an important factor in fishing

operations and in several other

aspects of the fishing industry, such as

the design of fishing craft and gear and

the faunal distribution over the oceans.

Evidence was at hand that certain longterm

changes in oceanographic

conditions were associated with

changes in the faunal and floral distribution

over the oceans. For instance, it

was reported that the distribution and

abundance of sardine in the Far East had

been influenced, on at least four occasions,

by abnormal changes in

oceanographic or meteorological conditions,

Similarly, the amelioration [sic] of

the subarctic climate in the last 25 or 30

years (or longer) had resulted in the

northward extension of a great many

organisms. The changes in distribution,

density and spawning area of cod were

particularly striking. During the period of

weather amelioration, the catch on the

west coast of Greenland had increased

by a factor of about 30 and the area of

the greatest density moved some

480 km to the north.

In order to gain more knowledge on the

bioclimatology of fisheries, the Council

recommended that the first Fisheries

Year for the Indo-Pacific area should be

held during the International

Geophysical Year 1957-1958 so that

biological, fishery and geophysical data

could be collected at the same time.

In his presentation on the role of WMO

in providing weather information for fisheries,

the WMO observer stressed the

significance of weather to the fishing

industry and assured the fullest cooperation

of WMO in supplying weather

information designed to promote safety

in fishing operations. Member governments

should be informed of the

facilities provided by WMO and of the

desirability of equipping their fishing

fleets for reception and transmission of

meteorological data.


Baroclinic Tides—


Modeling and



Vasiliy Vlasenko,

Nataliya Stashchuk

and Koluman Hutter. Cambridge

University Press (2005).

ISBN 0-521-84395-2. xix + 351 pp.

Price: £70/US$ 120.

This book will be very useful, especially

for graduate students in the

areas of physical oceanography and of

numerical modelling applied to

oceanography, generally. The organization

of the seven chapters is logical;

the proposed methods are presented

after a good theoretical introduction,

making it easy for the reader to find

themes of interest.

The numeration of formulas guides

the reader through the basic formulation,

the assumptions and the theory

to gain a better understanding of

the methods that are explained in

the book.

The introduction in the first chapter

gives the elements of the theory and

formulas that are used in the following

chapters. In this way, those who

are not familiar with governing equations

and linear wave equations may

acquire the notions to understand better

the formulation of the non-linear

wave problem and the theory

explained throughout the book.

The second chapter explains linear

baroclinic tides, then the numerical

model, and the authors make an

analysis of the formulation used for

the different situations to which it can

be applied. The internal wave generation

theory is well described.

The third chapter introduces a semianalytical

two-layer model for internal

waves, explaining the theory and

describing the necessary equations.

This makes it easier to understand the

theory presented in the fourth chapter,

where the analytical model

approach changes to the numerical

model approach.

The fifth chapter describes the generation

of internal waves by baroclinic

tides and the models to analyse them.

In view of the different uses to which

data obtained from measurements

and those from models are put, the

chapter also explains the origin of the

formulas used to explain the characteristics

of the different types of

waves generated. This allows a better

understanding of the theory proposed

for the analysis of the different types

of waves studied.

The sixth chapter compares the data

obtained from measurements and the

results of experiments and makes an

analysis of the effects and influences

of the different characteristics that can

be applied for the theory that is

explained. Finally, the authors make a

summary of the generation mechanism

of baroclinic tides which helps

the reader to a better understanding of

the waves generated under the different

regimes and what is the approach

that can be used for each of them.

The last chapter explains the threedimensional

effects of baroclinic tides

for specific cases, using observed

data for the analysis. This is really useful,

because it gives the reader good

tools to analyse the data that can be

obtained from our own measurements

and to establish different casestudies.

Rodney Martínez


Encyclopedia of Weather and


Michael Allaby. Facts on File, New

York (2002). ISBN 0-8160-4071-0

(two volumes). Price: US$ 150.

Michael Allaby undoubtedly enjoys

the physical sciences and this comes

through in his two-volume Encyclopedia

of Weather and Climate. The

title is a misnomer, however,

because it describes more than just

weather and climate. The encyclopedia

contains explanations of the various

physical, synoptic and thermodynamic

processes that produce

weather and climate in a concise but

straightforward manner. It provides

classifications of the various climates

and descriptions of significant

palaeoclimatic regimes. The important

scientific concepts are written in

a format that is easy to understand.

It is not written for the physical scientist

and therefore the author limits

his use of equations. The layman will

find the encyclopedia quite useful.

The various meteorological and

oceanographic terms are well



defined. The definitions are supplemented

by effective maps, charts

and schematic diagrams. There are

over 4 000 entries in the two volumes,

which include explanations of

the impacts of climate on ecology

and human health. These elements

make the encyclopedia a welcome

addition to the meteorological library

and as a good reference for the general


Even the professional meteorologist

will find the volumes useful. Explanations

of terms that may only be used

in particular locations are included.

The meaning of contrastes—a local

wind in the Mediterranean—is

included, for example.

Those who require information on

international climatological or meteorological

activities, projects and programmes

will not be disappointed.

The Cooperative Holocene Mapping

Project is described and references to

Websites for more information are

provided. This is available throughout

both volumes.

Climate change has now entered the

vernacular of the news and everyday

life. Important information on this

topic can also be found in the encyclopedia.

The meaning of terms such as

the clean development mechanism

(CDM) is included.

However, the encyclopedia goes

beyond that. It provides interesting

historical narratives such as a description

of the formation of the United

States Weather Bureau. It also provides

biographical information on

important historical figures in meteorology

such as Daniel Fahrenheit, the

developer of the Fahrenheit temperature

scale. Photographs and sketches

of some of these figures are included.

In addition, the encyclopedia is liberally

interspersed with anecdotes such

as the use of conditions on Christmas

Day to predict the weather months in


The author has also tried to include

significant weather events. These

include various tropical cyclones that

have affected nations around the

world. Naturally, every tropical

cyclone that had significant impacts

on all locations could not be included.

There were bound to be major omissions.

Readers will therefore be disappointed

when a system that they

expected to find is not included.

Earth science information is also

included. The reader will therefore be

able to find information on volcanoes

and other geological phenomena.

The encyclopedia ends with five

appendices that include chronologies

of disasters and discoveries, geological

timescales, important Websites

and an index.

National Meteorological and Hydrological

Services (NMHS) continue to

be the resource of first choice for

the general public concerning physical

phenomena especially in developing

countries. This small set of

encyclopedias can serve as an

important resource for those who

have to respond quickly to requests

from the public, students and teachers.

The terms are placed logically

and effectively cross-referenced.

Material is therefore easy to find.

The concise, but straightforward

entries can be used to provide simple

explanations. Junior members of

staff can use the information to

become attuned to activities occurring

on the periphery of their immediate

duties and responsibilities, and

even senior members of staff can

use it as a resource for unfamiliar

terms. I would therefore recommend

it as an addition to the meteorological

library or a handy reference for

the on duty meteorologist in a small

National Hydrological and Meteorological


Hydrogeology of the

Oceanic Lithosphere

E. Davis and H. Elderfield

(Eds). Cambridge

University Press


xx + 706 pages;


ISBN 0-521-81929-6 (h/b).

Price: £95/US$ 170.

Carlos Fuller


The book consists of five parts. It

starts with a brief history of the discovery

and evolution of the topic

treated over a period of about

30 years to specialized aspects that

include the geochemistry of the

processes of reaction and mechanisms

of transport of the fluid flows,

through the different structures of the

oceanic crust, including the nature,

state and properties of the means in

which these flows are developed.

Part III is a quantitative analysis of the

treated parameters of heat and fluid

flow. The five parts contain 21 articles

written by scientists of different

research organisms and of varied

experience in the subject.

The review presented here centres on

the general context of the book, its

form and structure, the scientific

base, and the form of its presentation,

language and style; as well as the correlations

between the theories and

the diagrams.

Several specialists who participated in

a workshop supported by the International

Lithosphere Program and the

Joint Oceanographic Institutions/US

Science Support Program decided to

present the results of their studies in

diverse disciplines (physics, chem-

istry, and microbiology). The subject is

becoming increasingly important,

especially for students and

researchers in the Earth sciences and

oceanography. The contents are written

in clear, explanatory language.

The information provided in each article

is adapted, coherent and up to

date. The book is a good tool for

researchers who wish to correlate

diverse parameters and results in different

environments. A wide range of

different subjects is treated, from the

properties of the materials of the

oceanic crust generated during the

cortical accretion, to the methodologies

used and suggested for improved

acquisition of the results (nature,

causes and consequences).

An important aspect of the book is the

presence of an ample preface and

explained objectives. The content, terminology,

and perspectives of the

subject and the clarity of the presentation

make the book useful.

Another important aspect is the clear

presentation of ideas and use of new

tools, including the shore-to-ship connection.

It may become questionable

and difficult to bridge the different disciplines

in order to be able to better

understand the dynamics of the


The subject dealt with has recently

become an interesting one for those

countries with seismic activity. In the

case of Ecuador, for example, measurements

of heat flow were made in

the marine campaign Amadeus, 2005.

The experience developed throughout

the years has allowed us to define key

elements for the understanding and

quantification of the rates of change

of flows between the crust and overlying

oceans—elements that are now

clearly understood and better visualized.

The book describes work on one

of the most widely distributed and volumetrically

important: ridge flanks.

The subject is not only of scientific

but also of economical interest

because of the relations between different

types of flows and mineralogical

elements. While the editors do not

try to answer all the questions that

could be raised, the desire to contribute

to enhanced knowledge of the

subject is demonstrated.

A remark concerns the part about

geochemical fluxes. It would have

been better to interchange Chapters

19 and 21 so as to present the topic

from a global context to a more specific

one, which is the fundamental

subject of the book.

The book carries an interactive accompanying

CD-ROM with a full set of diagrams,

captions, references and photos

of research vessels, submersibles,

and other tools used in hydrological


To summarize, the vast experience of

the specialists who contributed to the

writing of this volume, makes this

work, a valuable resource in the sciences

of the Earth and the sea.

Essy Santana Jara




New books


Carbon Dioxide

Capture and Storage


Panel on Climate

Change (IPCC). Cambridge

University Press


ISBN 0-521-68551-6.

x + 431 pp.

Price: £40/US$ 70.

This IPCC Special Report provides

information for policy-makers, scientists

and engineers in the field of

climate change and reduction of CO 2

emissions. It describes sources,

capture, transport, and storage of CO 2 .

It also discusses the costs, economic

potential and societal issues of the

technology, including public perception

and regulatory aspects. Storage

options evaluated include geological

storage, ocean storage and mineral

carbonization. Notably, the report

places CO 2 capture and storage in the

context of other climate change mitigation

options, such as fuel switch,

energy efficiency, renewables and

nuclear energy.

The volume includes a Summary for

Policymakers approved by governments

represented in the IPCC, and a

Technical Summary.

The journey to


Cooperation in the

North Pacific

Sara Tjossem. Alaska

Sea Grant College

Programme (2005).

ISBN 0-521-86509-3.

xii + 194 pp.

Price: US$ 20.

This book is a significant contribution

to the history of international marine

scientific organizations. It presents the

process of creating the North Pacific

Marine Science Organization (PICES).

It seems obvious enough that such an

organization was needed—the best

way for the Pacific Rim nations to gain

knowledge about the enormous North

Pacific Ocean is through cooperative

research—yet PICES was two

decades in the making.

The reasons for this lengthy incubation

are described. The process took

promotion, patience, and perseverance.

Today, PICES is an active sixnation

international marine organization,

contributing substantially to

marine science.

Safeguarding the

Ozone Layer and the

Global Climate



Panel on Climate

Change (IPCC). Cambridge

University Press (2006).

ISBN 0-521-6826-1.

x + 478 pp.

Price: £80/US$ 140.

This IPCC Technology and Economic

Assessment Panel Special Report provides

information relevant to decisionmaking

in regard to safeguarding the

ozone layer and the climate system.

Scientific evidence linking chlorofluo-

rocarbons and other ozone-depleting

substances (ODSs) led to the initial

control of chemicals under the 1987

Montreal Protocol and to amendments

and adjustments in the 1990s.

As various approaches to the phaseout

of ODSs were developed it was

realized that some actions taken to

reduce future depletion of the ozone

layer, in particular the introduction of

HFCs and PFCs, could affect global


This report provides the scientific context

required for consideration of

choices among alternatives to ODSs;

potential methodologies for assessing

options; and technical issues relating

to greenhouse-gas emission-reduction

opportunities for each of the sectors


The volume includes a Summary for

Policymakers approved by governments

represented in the IPCC, and a

Technical Summary.

Arctic Climate Impact


Cambridge University

Press (2006).

ISBN 0-521-86509-3.

v + 1042 pp.

Price: £120/US$ 200.

Earth’s climate is changing, with the

global temperature now rising at a

rate unprecedented in the experience

of modern human society. These climate

changes, including increases in

ultraviolet radiation, are being experienced

particularly intensely in the Arctic.

Because the Arctic plays a special

role in global climate, these changes

in the Arctic will also affect the rest of

the world. It is thus essential that

decision-makers have the latest and

best information available regarding

ongoing changes in the Arctic and

their global implications.

The Arctic Council called for this

assessment and charged two of its

working groups, the Arctic Monitoring

and Assessment Programme (AMAP)

and the Conversation and the Conservation

of Arctic Flora and Fauna

(CAFF), along with the International

Arctic Science Committee (IASC),

with the responsibility for scientific

oversight and coordination of all work

related to the preparation of the

assessment reports.

For the full WMO catalogue of publications

and how to order these and

other publications, see:

Recent WMO


WMO at a glance

(WMO-No. 990)

[A-C-F-R-S in

preparation ]

20 pp.

ISBN: 92-63-10990-7

Price: CHF 15

Preventing and

mitigating natural


(WMO-No. 993)

iii + 34 pp.

ISBN: 92-63-10993-1

Price: CHF 15

WMO statement on

the status of the

global climate in 2005

(WMO-No. 998)

[A] [C] [F] [R] [S]

12 pp.


Price: CHF 15

An annually updated 12-page booklet

illustrated with graphic analyses, to

describe the evolution and fluctuations

of the climate system on global and

regional scales.


Kirill Kondratyev

Kirill Kondratyev died on 1 May 2006.

He was a famous scientist, a full

Academician of the Russian Academy

of Sciences and an acknowledged

expert in the area of climate

and the environment. He was

the author of more than 1 000

papers in prestigious journals, as

well as more than 100 monographs

and textbooks. Kondratyev

was an honorary member of many

meteorological societies and scientific

academies worldwide. He was editor-in-chief

of the Russian Journal

Earth Observations and Remote

Sensing for many years and a member

of a number of editorial boards.

He spent the first 30 years of his

scientific career with the State University

of Leningrad, where he

became rector, and he worked

closely with the A.I. Boeykov Main

Geophysical Observatory. The next

30 years were spent at the Institute

of Limnology and the Centre for

Ecological Safety. Kondratyev was

one of the founders of the Nansen

International Environmental and

Remote Sensing Centre in St.

Petersburg, of which he was a cochairman

for many years.

Kondratyev won many prestigious

awards, including WMO’s IMO




Visits of the



The Secretary-General, Mr Michel

Jarraud, recently made official visits

to a number of Member countries

as briefly reported below. He wishes

to place on record his gratitude to

those Members for the kindness and

hospitality extended to him.


The Secretary-General visited

Argentina from 16 to 22 January 2006,

on the occasion of the sixth session of

the WMO Consultative Meetings on

High-level Policy on Satellite Matters

(16-17 January), the 55th session of

the WMO Bureau (18-20 January) and

the Joint Consultative Meeting of

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental

Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

Officers and WMO Bureau Members

(20-21 January). Mr Jarraud visited the

Air Force Headquarters and met with

the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Argentine

Air Force, Brigadier E.E. Bianco.

Holding the sixth session of the WMO

Consultative Meetings on High-level

Policy on Satellite Matters was an

opportunity to illustrate the global

nature of WMO’s objectives and programmes.

The Secretary-General

expressed the opinion that the sessions

served as a unique forum for

WMO and the satellite operators to

ensure a better understanding of the

Participants in the sixth session of the WMO Consultative Meetings on High-level Policy on

Satellite Matters (16-17 January 2006)

issues involved and to agree on important

recommendations that assist

WMO Members in better appreciating

the potential benefits that can be

derived from satellite systems.

HE Ambassador M.S. Pataro, Deputy-

Director of International Organizations

of the Ministry of Foreign Relations

and International Trade, and Brigadier

J.A. Alvarez, Chief of Staff of the Air

Regions Command, addressed the

55th session of the WMO Bureau. The

support of the Argentine Government

to the National Meteorological Service

was highlighted as a major instrument

in the socio-economic development of

the country. The vital role of WMO in

coordinating and promoting cooperation

in meteorology and hydrology for

the sustainable development of all

nations was also stressed. Under the

chairmanship of the President of

WMO, Dr A. Bedritsky, the Bureau

considered a number of issues related

to the preparations of the forthcoming

session of the Executive Council.

At the Joint Consultative Meeting of

IOC Officers and WMO Bureau

Members, the IOC was represented

by Dr D.T. Pugh, Chairperson of IOC,

Prof. Jilan Su, Former Chairman of

IOC, and the four IOC Vice-chairmen,

Dr A. Dubi, Dr A. Frolov, Mr J. Valladares

and Dr N. Smith. Dr A. Bedritsky

and Dr D. Pugh jointly chaired

the session. The Argentine Government

was represented at the opening

ceremony by HE Ambassador

M.S. Pataro, Deputy-Director of International

Organizations of the Ministry

of Foreign Relations and International

Trade, HE Ambassador S. Ruiz Cerruti,

Legal Advisor to the same Ministry,

and Mr A. Mendivielle, representing

the Secretary of Science,

Technology and Productive Innovation.

The meeting discussed numerous

matters of importance and

mutual interest to IOC and WMO. In

particular, it considered the follow-up

to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

It also addressed follow-up issues

related to the recent session of the

Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission

for Oceanography and Marine

Meteorology (JCOMM), which had

been held in Halifax (Canada) in September


United States of America

The Secretary-General visited

Atlanta (USA) from 31 January to 2

February 2006, to participate in the

86th Annual Meeting of the American

Meteorological Society (AMS).

Mr Jarraud was the keynote

speaker at a dinner hosted by the

AMS, at which he talked on “Capacity

building in meteorology and

hydrology in the service of society”,

stressing the importance of integrating

maintenance costs and

human resources development, in

order for projects in developing

nations to be sustainable. He said

that capacity building would be a

major challenges and that the success

of these efforts would depend

on the important contributions by all

sectors—government, academia,

private sector and NGOs—all of

which were represented at the

AMS meeting.

On 2 February Mr Jarraud made a

presentation entitled ”The evolving

role of the National Meteorological

and Hydrological Services”, in the

context of the International Session

on Multi-Hazard Warning Systems,

organized by the US National

Weather Service.

The Secretary-General held meetings

with permanent representatives of

WMO Members present at the session

and visited the Exhibition Hall,

which included a display of WMO

public information products. He further

took advantage of his stay in

Atlanta to visit the weather facilities

at CNN International and the

Weather Channel.


On 11 February 2006, the Secretary-

General visited Muscat, Oman, on

the occasion of the commissioning

Muscat, Oman, 11 February 2006 — Commissioning of the seventh Centre of Excellence for

Education and Training in Satellite Meteorology

of the seventh Centre of Excellence

for the Virtual Laboratory for Education

and Training in Satellite Meteorology.

Among the national authorities

present at the ceremony were

HE Dr Saud Bin Nasser Al Riyami,

President of Sultan Qaboos University,

HE Mohamed Bin Sakhar Al

Amri, Under Secretary for Civil Aviation

Affairs of the Ministry of Transport

and Communication, and Mr

Abdul Rahim Salim Al Harmi, Acting

Director General for Civil Aviation

and Meteorology. In his statement,

Mr Jarraud congratulated the Government

of Oman and expressed

WMO’s gratitude for Omani contributions

to the education and training

activities of the WMO Space


Mr Jarraud also expressed his

appreciation to the European

Organisation for the Exploitation

of Meteorological Satellites

(EUMETSAT) and the Indian Meteorological

Department, for their

commitment to sponsor the seventh

Centre of Excellence, as well

as to the Government of Japan,

for its support. The Secretary-General

noted that over the past two

decades, satellites had had an

increasing impact on WMO’s

activities, and that he expected

this positive influence to further

increase in the future.

South Africa

The Secretary-General visited Cape

Town, South Africa, from 15 to 18

February 2006, on the occasion of

the 14th session of the WMO

Commission for Atmospheric Sciences

(CAS), which was preceded

by the World Weather Research

Programme (WWRP) THORPEX

Scientific Conference Improving

the Global Predictability of High

Impact Weather, including a review

of Southern Hemisphere Plans (see

photo on the following page).

During his visit, Mr Jarraud met

with Mr M. Van Schalkwyk, Minister

of Environmental Affairs and

Tourism, and Ms Sizeka Rensburg,

Chairperson of the South African

Weather Service Board. South

Africa has a long tradition of

actively supporting WMO’s Programmes

and activities: in particu-



Cape Town, South Africa, February 2006 — Participants in the THORPEX Scientific

Conference: Improving the Global Predictability of High Impact Weather

lar, the South African Weather Service

is an active contributor to CAS

and operates the Cape Point Global

Atmospheric Watch (station. The

Secretary-General visited this station

and also inaugurated the establishment

of the THORPEX Southern

Hemisphere Committee.


On 23 February 2006, the Secretary-General

visited Paris to participate

in a conference and debate

organized by the Scientific Council

of the French Association for the

Prevention of Natural Disasters

(AFPCN). In the presence of HE Ms

N. Olin, Minister of Ecology and

Sustainable Development, and Senator

Mr Y. Dauge, President of

AFPCN, Mr Jarraud presented the

opening keynote speech to the conference,

which was organized as a

concerted attempt to interactively

consolidate lessons learnt from the

major natural disasters that had

occurred, over the recent months,

in different parts of the world.

In his speech, the Secretary-General

stressed that actions can

indeed be taken to reduce considerably

the loss of life and socio-economic

damage caused by natural

hazards, through the development

and integration of risk knowledge

and end-to-end multi-hazard early

warning systems, as integral components

of disaster-risk management

activities. Thus, all the relevant

technologies, expertise,

capacities and experiences that

were available had prevented many

other natural hazards from becoming

natural disasters.

Staff matters


Elena Manaenkova,

Director, Cabinet and

External Relations


1 March 2006

Jack Hayes, Director,

World Weather Watch


1 February 2006

Jorge Cortés, Director,

Internal Oversight


1 February 2006

Anders Norsker,

Chief, Information

Technology Division,

Resource Management


1 February 2006


Koji Kuroiwa, Chief,

Tropical Cyclone


Applications Programme


1 March 2006

Ibrahim K. Al-Atwi,

Chief, Training Activities

Division, Education and

Training Department:

1 March 2006

Etienne Charpentier,

Scientific Officer, Ocean

Affairs Division, Applications



1 February 2006

Alain A. Rofes

Gonzalez, Budget

Systems Assistant,

Budget Office, Resource



1 March 2006

Annick M.J.

Champagne, Budget

Clerk, Budget Office,

Resource Management


1 April 2006

Roland Bronnimann, Chief of

Workshop, Printing and Electronic

Publications Section, Conferences,

Printing and Distribution Department:

1 March 2006

Anne Chautard, Administrative

Assistant, World Climate Research

Programme Department:

1 November 2005

Corrine Chiavenuto-Castrignano,

Training Assistant, Education and

Training Department: 1 February 2006

Teresita Concepcion, Administrative

Assistant, Strategic Planning Office,

Secretary-General’s Office:

1 November 2005

Adora P. Landicho, Administrative

Assistant, Regional Office for Asia and

the South-West Pacific, Regional and

Technical Cooperation Activities for

Development Department:

1 November 2005

Adel Roshdy, Digital Reproduction

Clerk, Printing and Electronic

Publications Section, Conferences,

Printing and Distribution Department:

1 March 2006


Lisbet Rainer, Information

Management Assistant, Information

Technology Division, Resource

Management Department:

1 February 2006

Dieter Schiessl, Director, Crosscutting

Coordination: 1 February 2006

Jeon-gyoo Park, seconded expert,

Regional and Technical Cooperation

Activities for Development Department:

3 April 2006




Iwona Rummel-Bulska (Senior Legal

Adviser, Secretary-General’s Office)

returned to UNEP, Nairobi, at the end of

her secondment on 22 January 2006.

Soobasschandra Chacowry

(Director, Cabinet and External

Relations Office) retired on

28 February 2006.

Nouhou Tata Diallo (Chief,

Aeronautical Meteorology Unit,

Applications Programme Department)

retired on 28 February 2006.


Judith C.C. Torres (Senior Editor,

Communications and Public Affairs

Office, Cabinet and External Relations

Office): 30 years on 5 February 2006.

Evelyne Masse (Text-processing Clerk,

Linguistic Services and Publications

Department): 25 years on

2 February 2006.


DDaattee TTiittllee PPllaaccee

15-19 May Training Workshop on Upper-air Observations for RA III Buenos Aires, Argentina

22 May Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P) Theme Geneva

Leaders Meeting

23 May IGOS-P—13th session Geneva

24 May IGOS-P Geo-Hazards Theme Working Group Meeting Geneva

29 May-2 June Baseline Surface Radiation Network Committee—ninth session Lindenberg, Germany

29 May-2 June CBS OPAG/PWS Expert Team on Communication Aspects Dubrovnic, Croatia

4-8 June Second International Symposium on Quantitative Precipitation Boulder, CO, USA

Forecasting and Hydrology

12-16 June Sixth International Conference on Urban Climate Göteborg, Sweden

(co-sponsored by WMO)

12-16 June Meeting of the CBS OPAG/PWS Expert Team on Disaster Prevention Beijing, China

and Mitigation (ET/DPM)

19 June Fifty-sixth session of the WMO Bureau Geneva

20-30 June Executive Council—58th session Geneva

26-30 June The Aviation Seminar Exeter, United Kingdom

3-6 July CIMO Management Group—third session Geneva

3-7 July CBS/Implementation Coordination Team on ISS Geneva

5-7 July International Workshop on Antarctic Sea-Ice Thickness Hobart, Australia

10-12 July CLIVAR Variability of the African Climate System (VACS) Workshop Dar es Salaam, United

on Eastern and Southern African Climate Variability Republic of Tanzania

(co-sponsored by WMO)

17-21 July WMO Conference on Living Climate Climate Variability and Change: Espoo (Helsinki),

Understanding the Uncertainties and Managing the Risk Finland

28-30 July Second session of the WCRP Observations and Assimilation Panel Ispra, Italy

4-8 September Joint Meeting of the Expert Team on Satellite Utilization and Products Geneva

(ET-SUP) and Expert Team on Satellite Systems (ET-SAT)

7-13 September Regional Association III (South America)—14th session Lima, Peru

18-22 September Tenth WMO Symposium on Education and Training, “Meteorological Nanjing, China

and Hydrological Education and Training for Disaster Prevention and


23 September Meeting of Directors of WMO Regional Meteorological Training Nanjing, China


4-10 October Fifteenth International TOVS Study Conference (ITSC-XV) Matera, Italy

(co-sponsored by WMO)

16-19 October SPARC Project Scientific Steering Group—14 session Boulder, CO, USA

28 October - Commission for Agricultural Meteorology—14th session New Delhi, India

3 November Matera, Italy

(co-sponsored by WMO)









Antigua and Barbuda
















Bosnia and Herzegovina



Brunei Darussalam


Burkina Faso





Cape Verde

Central African Republic







Cook Islands

Costa Rica

Côte d'Ivoire




Czech Republic

Democratic People's

Republic of Korea

British Caribbean Territories

French Polynesia

Democratic Republic of

the Congo




Dominican Republic



El Salvador























Iran, Islamic Republic of













Lao People's Democratic



Hong Kong, China

Macao, China

At 31 March 2006

STATES (181)





Libyan Arab Jamahiriya












Micronesia, Federated

States of









New Zealand









Papua New Guinea







Republic of Korea

Republic of Moldova


Russian Federation


Saint Lucia

Netherlands Antilles

and Aruba


Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia


Serbia and Montenegro


Sierra Leone




Solomon Islands


South Africa


Sri Lanka






Syrian Arab Republic



The former Yugoslav Republic

of Macedonia



Trinidad and Tobago






United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom of Great

Britain and Northern Ireland

United Republic of Tanzania

United States of America





Viet Nam




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With its worldwide circulation in four languages (English, French, Russian and

Spanish), the WMO Bulletin (basic press run: 6 500) is an ideal advertising medium

for all items of interest to meteorologists and hydrologists and scientists working in

related fields. In addition to its distribution within the Meteorological and

Hydrometeorological Services of all Members, the Bulletin is sent to the Services of

those few remaining countries which do not yet belong to the Organization. It is

also sent to various government departments, universities and scientific societies,

as well as a wide circle of other relevant bodies and individual subscribers.

If you place the same advertisement in four successive issues of the WMO Bulletin,

you will receive a discount of 25 per cent!

To find out more about advertising in the WMO Bulletin, please contact the

Editorial Assistant, WMO Bulletin, World Meteorological Organization,

Case postale 2300, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.

Tel.: (+41) (0)22 730 82 86. Fax: (+41) (0)22 730 80 24.




With its worldwide circulation in four languages (English, French, Russian and

Spanish), the WMO Bulletin (basic press run: 6 500) is an ideal advertising medium

for all items of interest to meteorologists and hydrologists and scientists working in

related fields. In addition to its distribution within the Meteorological and

Hydrometeorological Services of all Members, the Bulletin is sent to the Services of

those few remaining countries which do not yet belong to the Organization. It is

also sent to various government departments, universities and scientific societies,

as well as a wide circle of other relevant bodies and individual subscribers.

If you place the same advertisement in four successive issues of the WMO Bulletin,

you will receive a discount of 25 per cent!

To find out more about advertising in the WMO Bulletin, please contact the

Editorial Assistant, WMO Bulletin, World Meteorological Organization,

Case postale 2300, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.

Tel.: (+41) (0)22 730 82 86. Fax: (+41) (0)22 730 80 24.



The CD-Rom contains (in pdf format):

WMO Bulletin 55 (2) – April 2006

• MeteoWorld – February 2006 and April 2006

• World Meteorological Day 2006—Preventing and

mitigating natural disasters: brochure (WMO-No. 993)

with foldout on natural hazards and poster

World Meteorological Organization

7bis, avenue de la Paix

Case postale No. 2300

CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Tel: + 41 22 730 81 11

Fax: + 41 22 730 81 81


Web: ISSN 0042-9767