World Climate Conference-3 to boost Climate Predictions


World Climate Conference-3 to boost Climate Predictions

A major global effort is underway to better predict temperatures, rainfall and other climate and weather conditions months in advance, an invaluable tool that can strengthen the world’s response to the challenges being posed by climate change and variability.

Preparations have begun for the World Climate Conference 3 (WCC-3), which will be held at the kind invitation of the Swiss Government in Geneva from 31 August to 4 September 2009. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is organizing the event in partnership with multiple United Nations and other international partners.

The five-day event’s theme will be: “Climate prediction for decision-making” and will comprise segments on science and high-level policy. There will be four sub-themes: advancing climate information and prediction science; the climate dimension of hazard early warning systems; applications and socio-economic benefits of climate information and prediction; and using climate predictions in decision-making for development.

Two World Climate Conferences have been held previously, and both produced decisive results. The first, held in 1979, led to the 1988 establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, jointly established by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme. The second, in 1990, strengthened the global momentum to address climate change issues, resulting in the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

There are high expectations that WCC-3 will be an equally important landmark. The international community is acutely aware of the challenges posed by climate change, extreme weather events, such as flooding, drought and desertification, as well as the need to reduce the risk of disasters and ensure food and water security for all.

Such awareness indicates that the time is right to build a system that can look further into the future to help governments and communities better respond to the world’s climate challenges.

From 4 to 6 February, 2008, WMO hosted the first meeting of the WWC-3 International Organizing Committee (WIOC). More than 20 organizations, including many UN agencies, participated, underscoring the importance given to both next year’s conference and the issue it is promoting.

The WIOC released a press statement urging the international scientific community and governments to do more to improve seasonal climate predictions to enable the planet to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change.

Key points identified during the WIOC meeting included the urgent need to enhance global environmental observations and to preserve climate records. Open access to climate data and information is also needed, as well as improvements of the accuracy, resolution and scope of climate analyses and predictions.

Comprehensive climate information can provide largely untapped opportunities to manage climate risks including, extreme weather events, heat waves, flooding, sustained droughts, and more frequent cyclones.  It will also help communities adapt to the adverse affects of climate variability and change - such as sea level rise, water and food shortages, desertification and risks to human health.

Global investment in the science that underpins seasonal climate prediction has been insufficient, a fact that WCC-3 aims to address. WCC-3 will look at the science needed during the next 10 years to provide the type of seasonal predictions that can save people’s lives and livelihoods. And it will seek high-level support, particularly from governments, to make this happen.

The world needs to strengthen existing mechanisms that predict climate events and then ensure that this information is made available to all, especially to the benefit of people in least developed countries. Improving the science of seasonal prediction will help everyone.

Several WMO-supported climate prediction centres around the world currently produce global temperature and rainfall forecasts through use of powerful computer models. Strengthening and coordinating these capabilities can 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. 

By effectively delivering short-, mid- and long-term rainfall and temperature forecasts to the multiple users, such as governments, businesses, farmers and other end-users, we can make it possible to better plan crop growth, water use, energy production and disaster prevention.

For media inquiries, contact:
Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO.
Tel: +41-22-730-8314/15. E-mail:
or Mr Paul Garwood, Press Officer, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 84 17, E-mail:

For other inquiries, contact:
Dr Buruhani S. Nyenzi, Director, Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch, Climate and Water Department, WMO. Tel: +41-22-730-8273. E-mail:
Dr José Romero, Head of Rio Conventions Sections, International Affairs Division
Federal Office for the Environment, Tel.: 41 (0) 31 322 68 62.
E-mail: !

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