UN agency draws up action plan to mitigate extreme weather in Europe

9 September 2005

With extreme weather such as severe flooding, drought and heat waves blighting Europe, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its regional members are drawing up an action plan at a nine-day session currently under way in Heidelberg, Germany, to mitigate the worst effects.

“A long-term operational system is required, with the capability of providing the comprehensive observations needed for monitoring and attributing climate change, for assessing the impacts of climate variability and for supporting research toward improved understanding, modelling and prediction,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told the regional association’s 14th session, which began on Wednesday.

Human well-being, agriculture and industries such as tourism depend on the production of rapid, accurate meteorological and hydrological information. WMO’s scientific and technical programmes can contribute significantly towards making the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHMSs) more efficient and cost effective as well as helping them successfully work together, Mr. Jarraud said.

Extreme weather has blighted the region in recent years, including severe flooding in Central and Eastern Europe, drought on the Iberian Peninsula in 2005 and a heat wave in 2003, sparking growing regional and international concern over the threat of climate change and its influence on such events.

Mr. Jarraud called on members to become more involved in environmental concerns, including air and water quality, marine pollution and public health-related issues and stressed that WMO, its international partners and NMHSs needed to intensify cooperation in the field of environmental quality.


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