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Radiocommunication for meteorology to combat climate change

ITU/WMO seminar focuses on monitoring and prediction of weather, water and climate

Issued simultaneously by ITU and WMO

Geneva, 18 September 2009 — ITU and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) held the first joint seminar on the use of radio spectrum for meteorology, aimed at weather, water and climate monitoring and prediction.

Radio-based ICT applications such as remote sensors are currently the main source of observation and information about the Earth’s atmosphere and surface. Between 1980 and 2005, over 7,000 natural disasters worldwide took the lives of more than 2 million people and produced economic losses estimated at over USD 1.2 trillion. Ninety per cent of these natural disasters, 72 per cent of casualties and 75 per cent of economic losses were caused by weather, climate and water-related hazards, such as droughts, floods, severe storms and tropical cyclones. Climate change monitoring and disaster prediction mechanisms are therefore increasingly vital for our personal safety and economic well-being.

"WMO is pleased to collaborate with ITU in this first-ever joint seminar on the use of radio-based information and communication technologies for weather, water and climate applications," said Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary-general of WMO. "Especially in the light of climate change, it is important to warrant that frequency bands required by measuring equipments (such as radars, satellite, and radio sondes) are kept free from interference by other users."

The seminar shared information on WMO’s Integrated Global Observing System and ITU’s role in using ICTs as a catalyst to combat climate change. Discussions focused on the use of radio spectrum, space orbits and radio-based meteorological tools and systems for monitoring, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The open forum centred on the following key areas:

  1. The role of information communication technologies (ICTs), particularly radio-based technologies for monitoring climate change
  2. The effective operation of systems and applications for monitoring the environment, prediction and detection of natural disasters initiated by climate change, and mitigation of their negative effects
  3. Current status and development of radio-based systems and applications for weather, water and climate monitoring and prediction
  4. Operation of meteorological systems and the quality of meteorological measurements
  5. Activities of national and international organizations in climate monitoring and disaster prediction, detection and the mitigation of the effects of natural disasters

In his remarks at the opening session of the seminar, the Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau Valery Timofeev said that the slogan of the WMO World Climate Conference -3 (WCC-3) "Better climate information for a better future" lies at the crux of effective monitoring and prediction of the environment. "Successive ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences have taken into account WMO’s requirements for radio-frequency bands as observation tools, such as radiosondes, weather and wind profiler radars, as well as space-borne infrared and microwave sounders," said Timofeev. "In recognition of the vital importance of environmental monitoring, the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2007 allocated additional spectrum for observation systems involved in monitoring climate change." He assured participants that ITU would support the development and implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services agreed by WCC-3 when it met in Geneva, 31 August − 4 September 2009.

ITU and WMO have collaborated in partnership for over 135 years. While WMO focuses its efforts on meeting the needs for environmental information and the corresponding radio-frequency spectrum resources, ITU allocates the necessary radio frequencies to allow for interference-free operation of radio-based applications and radiocommunication systems (both terrestrial and space) used for climate monitoring and prediction, weather forecasting and disaster early warning and detection. The new ITU database of frequencies, which could be used for emergency radiocommunications, would help save lives and property in the aftermath of disaster.

ITU and WMO support the United Nations Seal the Deal campaign to encourage governments to agree to a fair, balanced and effective climate agreement when they meet in Copenhagen this December.

For further information on the joint ITU/WMO seminar, click here.  

ITU Radiocommunications and Climate Change activities are at

For more information please contact:

For ITU:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Mobile : +41 79 249 4861

For WMO:

Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele
Chief, Communications and Public Affairs
Tel: +41 22 730 8315

  Ms GaŰlle SÚvenier
Press Officer
Communications and Public Affairs
Tel. +41 22 730 8417
Fax: +41 22 730 8027

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Updated : 2009-09-18