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Scientists urge more frequent updates of 30-year climate baselines to keep pace with rapid climate change

Heidelberg, Germany, 9 July 2014 - The WMO Commission for Climatology has
recommended that governments adopt a two-tier approach to updating the
30-year baselines that scientists and meteorological services use to
monitor the weather and climate and make comparisons to past conditions.

Because the climate varies naturally from year to year, climatologists use
standard 30-year averages of temperatures, precipitation and other
variables to put, for example, the magnitude of a current heatwave or
rainstorm into historical context. These 30-year historical periods are
called "climate normals" and can be calculated at the local, national or
global levels.

Climate normals are presently updated once every 30 years, so that the
current official climate normal period is still 1961-1990. However, rising
atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are changing the Earth's
climate much faster than before. As a result, decision-makers in
climate-sensitive industries may be basing important decisions on
information that may be out of date.

In response, many national weather services have started to use the more
recent 30-year period of 1981-2010 to give people a more recent context for
understanding weather and climate extremes and forecasts. These weather
services also view the 1981-2010 baseline as more useful for other
operational services, such as forecasts of peak energy load and
recommendations on crop selection and planting times. One consequence of
this is that different researchers and weather services are using different
baselines, which results in inconsistent comparisons.

Together with an array of other decisions and recommendations on climate
data, monitoring and science, the WMO Commission for Climatology is
therefore recommending that WMO adopt a new global standard of making
decadal updates of climate normals for most purposes, while at the same
time maintaining the 1961-1990 period as a stable reference for monitoring
long-term climate variability and change.

Under this proposal, all countries would start using the period 1981-2010.
This period would be updated every 10 years, so that the 30-year climate
normal to be used in the 2020s would be 1991-2020. This approach would
satisfy modern needs for current information and standardize weather and
climate information and forecasts around the world.

Maintaining 1961-1990 as the base period for monitoring and assessing
long-term climate variability and change would promote a better
understanding of changes over the course of this century and beyond. The
1961-1990 reference period would be retained for climate change purposes
until there is a compelling scientific case for changing it.

The proposed new technical regulation on "Calculating Climatological
Standard Normals Every 10 Years" will be forwarded for consideration and
adoption by the World Meteorological Congress. The Congress, which is the
governing body of the World Meteorological Organization, will meet in
Geneva from 25 May to 12 June 2015.

Today's increasingly powerful computers and climate data management systems
now make it much easier to conduct more frequent updates, which involve
analyzing massive amounts of climate data. Another advantage of decadal
updates is that they will make it possible to incorporate data from newly
established weather stations into the normals more rapidly.

The WMO Commission for Climatology promotes international cooperation in
climatology and the use of climate information and knowledge for supporting
sustainable development, environmental protection and operational climate
services. It also advises and guides the activities of the World Climate
Programme, through the World Climate Applications and Services Programme,
and the World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme.

Other issues discussed at the 3-8 July Heidelberg meeting of the Commission
included future priorities and progress on key initiatives. For example,
the initiative on centennial observing stations promotes efforts to build a
sustained and long-term record of climate observations. Another initiative
is facilitating the real-time international exchange of multi-annual to
decadal climate predictions.



MSD  and Netone have made it easy to access local weather information. There is no need of smart phones to access it, any handset can do it. Just Dial *130*1# and follow the simple instructions that follow.


WMO Update: Prepare for El Niño

Geneva, 26 June 2014 (WMO) - There is a 60% likelihood of an El Niño being fully established between June and August, increasing to 75-80% for the October to December period, according to an El Niño Update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Based on advice from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, many governments have already started preparing for the arrival of El Niño, which is associated with regional-scale drought and flood situations in different parts of the world and has a warming influence on global average surface temperatures.

El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific, coupled with typical atmospheric circulation patterns. It is a natural phenomenon with a recurring interval of 2-7 years and has a major impact on the climate around the world. The last El Niño was in 2009/2010.

Tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures have recently warmed to weak El Niño thresholds but atmospheric conditions (such as sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have remained neutral. This indicates that El Niño has not yet become fully established, as it essentially depends on the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere. However, atmospheric patterns that are typical of a fully developed El Niño event on the basin-wide scale are still likely to appear, according to the WMO Update, which is based on consensus from experts around the world.

The tropical Pacific Ocean is expected to continue to warm during the coming months, peaking during the last quarter of 2014. Its potential intensity remains uncertain, but a moderate strength event currently appears more likely than a weak or strong one.


Zimbabwe meteorology initiatives hailed

Zimbabwe has been commended for supporting initiatives that aim to introduce innovative climate change adaptation strategies to offset the negative effects of climate change.

World Meteorological Organisation Secretary General, Mr Michel Jarraud and his deputy, Elena Manaenkova, who are in the country to attend the second African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology paid a courtesy call on Vice President Joice Mujuru at her munhumutapa offices this Thursday morning.  Full Article


Zimbabwe takes lead role in fighting global warming

ZIMBABWE is set to take a leading role by supporting initiatives aimed at introducing innovative climate change adaptation strategies to offset negative effects of global warming, acting Environment, Water and Climate minister Jonathan Moyo has said.  Hon Moyo, who is also Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, said it was important for Africa to come up with a co-ordinated approach to deal with climate change issues to improve the lives of majority poor who solely depend on agriculture.

The minister also said Zimbabwe was pledging its fullest support to any positive initiatives that promoted the development of the continent, the betterment of local communities and African endeavours such as meeting the Millennium Development Goals and Hyogo Framework on disasters.

Moyo was addressing the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (Amcomet) Second Task Force and Bureau meeting in Harare on Friday. Moyo stood in for Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who was away in Senegal attending the African Ministers Council on Water (Amcow) conference and was elected vice-president for Southern Africa region.  Full Article

Source:  Newsday


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