Statement at the Opening of the Thirteenth Session
of the Commission
for Aeronautical Meteorology
(Geneva, 23 November 2006)
M. Jarraud Secretary-General of WMO
"It is important to remember that, by the mid-20th century, aircraft were essential to long-distance travel, but they were very vulnerable to the dangers of icing, hail, lightning, turbulence and strong winds.
Accordingly, governments quickly recognized the need for improved meteorological services and so these became financially viable.
One year after the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), on 23 March 1950, the First World Meteorological Congress was held in Paris and it decided to launch the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM), to continue the work of the corresponding Commission of IMO.
Moreover, one of the purposes of WMO, as set out in Article 2 of its Convention, is "to further the application of meteorology to aviation...".
Therefore, once WMO became a Specialized Agency of the
United Nations System, it was only a natural step for it to establish working arrangements with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which entered into force on 1 January 1954.
Indeed, one of the highest priorities of the Commission has always been training, so I am pleased to note that, since its last session, 23 training events have been conducted and 642 participants from all of WMO's Regions have attended these events.
During the last intersessional period, the World Area Forecast System has completed its final development stage, and the two World Area Forecast Centres in London and Washington D.C. are now providing all forecast products on winds, temperature and significant weather for the upper-air space.
In addition, aircraft- and satellite-derived data are increasingly being used to complement data from the conventional upper-air soundings. In this regard, the AMDAR Programme has been providing vital upper-air information to run numerical weather prediction models and, currently, over 220,000 AMDAR
observations are being transmitted daily over WMO's Global Telecommunication System (GTS).
Important efforts are also under way to include the new humidity sensor, developed jointly by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the industry, both on existing and on new aircraft, in a renewed effort to provide a full set of parameters on the AMDAR data sets.
These sensors could also contribute to our improved understanding of the formation of cirrus clouds from contrails, thus helping aircraft to avoid those areas more prone to cirrus cloud formation. In this way, environmental monitoring could directly help in mitigating any possible climate impacts of aviation."