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WMO Launches Drive To Mobilize Global Efforts In Climate Prediction

The World Meteorological Organization has kick-started a major global effort to better predict changes to the Earth’s climate and deal with extreme weather and climatic events, such as flooding, drought and desertification.

WMO opened on 4 February the first meeting of the International Organizing Committee of the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) in Geneva in 2009.

More than 20 organizations, including United Nations agencies, are participating in the three-day meeting to prepare for the milestone 2009 conference, with the theme: “Climate prediction for decision-making: focusing on seasonal to inter-annual time-scales taking into account multi-decadal prediction.”

The need for climate forecasts has been growing with the increased recognition of society’s vulnerability to climate variability and change. Climate prediction centres around the world currently produce global temperature and rain forecasts through use of powerful computer models.

But there is recognition that strengthening and coordinating these capabilities could optimize the global response to climate variability and change, and meet the needs of decision-makers for better climate predictions in major socio-economic sectors.

“We can better help the planet respond to the threat of climate variability and change by improving forecasts of temperature and rainfall patterns, as well as other climatic parameters, and then effectively delivering this information to governments, businesses, farmers and end-users in many other sectors,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. “Having access to short-, mid- and long-term rainfall and temperature forecasts makes it possible for better planning of crop growth, water use, energy production and in many other areas.”

“WMO, with its 188 Members covering the globe and as a lead sponsor of the World Climate Research Programme, has the experience and strength to facilitate a mechanism to bring under one umbrella the climate forecast centres around the world. With their pooled expertise, the world will be better able to respond to global challenges created by climate variability and change.”

The ongoing meeting is working to prepare an agenda for a science and ministerial segment of the 2009 conference. WCC-3 aims to promote disaster risk reduction and better use of climate prediction for decision-making, thus making a major contribution to sustainable development. It also aims to bridge the gap between scientists and end-users of climate prediction data.

Historically, World Climate Conferences have been decisive events. The first, held in 1979, led to the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. The second conference, in 1990, strengthened global efforts that resulted in the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

WMO is the United Nations' authoritative voice on weather, climate and water

Paul Garwood | alfa
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