From Sep.22 to 30, the 44th China Study Tour and the Workshop on the implementation of Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was held in China. On the implementation of GFCS and the China study tour, Mr Ofa Fa'anunu, Vice President of RA-V and Mr Filipe Lucio, Director of GFCS Office were accepted the interview of China Meteorological News Press.

 

Chinese Version: http://www.cma.gov.cn/2011wmhd/2011wzbft/2011wftzb/20140929ft/index.htm

  Steady progress made on GFCS

We are implementing very specific projects in a number of countries. We initiated these projects in Dominica, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Tanzania, South Africa, etc. We are expanding those activities to Pacific islands and many other countries. At the same time, some countries have taken independently initiatives in the establishment of their own framework for climate services, such as China, Germany, UK and a few others. These frameworks for climate services will enable us to basically learn from different experiences of different countries with a view to develop and apply to climate services at national level.

  China experience could be shared

In China, there are two types of services being provided by CMA through Beijing Climate Center, but also through the municipality level like the Beijing Meteorological Bureau. There are very specific climate products and services being provided to different users. China has been able to integrate information into the tools which enable to assess impacts and combine climate information with other types of information to drive specific products. There’s a strong link between the technical and the user side which basically facilitate the identification of the user needs, eventually the tailoring of information to address their very specific needs.

  More disasters weather with global warming

We started weather observation since 1945. According to our observation, the temperature has risen by 0.5 degrees Celsius and sea level has risen by nearly one foot. Since climate warming, extreme weather has become severer and more frequent. For example, the tropical cyclone has become stronger. In January this year, there was a five category hurricane. It is rare before. During last two El Nino events, there were severe drought happened, bringing heavy loss to agriculture. Due to the severe drought since June, the government has to send emergency desalination devices to the public for daily use of fresh water. As an island country, we mainly depend on collecting rainfall for drinking.

  Strengthening co-op between China and RAⅤ countries

One of the problems we face is without observation equipment maintenance technicians. This is a common issue faced by small island countries and least developed countries. So I want CMA can help to train our staff for equipment maintenance. In 2015, the RAⅤ congress will be held. We will prove the development strategy and implement the GFCS. We hope China could share with us on experience of climate services, using its region training centers of Nanjing and Beijing to training more staff for us, especially the observation device maintenance technique. I also hope China could provide more scholarship for us letting more staff come to China.

Filipe Lucio talks on GFCS and climate services in China.

Reporter:what is the progress of GFCS in recent years?

Filipe Lucio:As you know, the GFCS is an initiative which was established in 2009 by unanimous decision of the heads of states of government and experts that attended the third world climate conference.WMO was requested to lead the development of the implementation plan and to governess the structure for the GFCS. We established a high-level task team of independent advisors and many other imminent personalities. This high-level task team put together the basic principles that should guide the development of the GFCS. Their report was submitted to the extraordinary congress that was held in 2012. The report was endorsed back on the congress. WMO was again requested to further work on the implementation of the framework. The draft implementation plan was approved by the extraordinary congress that was held in 2012, and was eventually by the first meeting of Inter-governmental climate service board which was held in 2013. It also basically approved the management structure of the inter-governmental board. Together with the governess structures, the implementation was approved.

 

There are 5 pillars of the GFCS. The first is user interface platform, a mechanism through which users and providers of climate services will interact to facilitate the identification of user needs and the identification of the capabilities of the providers of climate services.

 

The second pillar of the framework is the climate service information system, which is basically the operational system through which data will be gathered and processed, and various of products will be generated and disseminated to various of entities.

 

The third component is the observation. As you know, without observation we basically can’t produce information .Currently there are a number of countries in which the quantity and quality of the observation is insufficient for provision of climate services. Therefore, there’s a need to increase the quality of the observation.

 

The forth pillar is the research modeling and prediction. The need of research is not purely meteorological and climate, but into disciplinary research that we can better understand the impact and vulnerability and start providing information that is tailored to different users.

 

Finally, it is the capacity of development. At the end of the day, what many countries lack is the capacity in terms of quantity and quality to do the work.

 

We also have to include climate services and the priority areas. We are implementing very specific projects in a number of countries. We initiated these projects in Dominica, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Tanzania, South Africa, etc. We are expanding those activities to Pacific islands and many other countries. At the same time, some countries have taken independently initiatives in the establishment of their own framework for climate services, such as China, Germany, UK and a few others. These frameworks for climate services will enable us to basically learn from different experiences of different countries with a view to develop and apply to climate services at national level.

 

At the same time, we are carrying out other projects relating to the data recovery. In many countries, vast amounts of data are either disappearing or not currently integrated in the date basis which could be useful for climate analysis and study. In Malawi and Tanzania, we are implementing projects in collaboration with a number of partners such as the World Food Programme, and WHO either disappearing or eded with a view to develop and . It is a project intended to provide climate services to address the disaster reduction. This is a very innovative project and because we have different agencies working together to co-design and co-produce the information and knowledge eventually made available to the communities.

 

We are also implementing a variety of activities as part of the strategies for implementing the GFCS. At global level, we have eight global centers attributing around the world, which provide global numerical products to regional climate centers and eventually to national meteorological centers.

 

To make sure as many countries as possible to apply to the pillars of the framework and the priorities of the framework, we have a mechanism and dialogue that facilitate the discussion of the needs and priorities. Eventually, we have a systematic way of getting people put together which have been made to set up.

 

Reporter: Why climate change was chosen to be the theme of the study tour?

 

Filipe: It is the first time that any study tour has chosen the theme of climate services. It is being chosen because the topic is very current. We are now implementing the GFCS. We have started implementation of specific projects. Since the study tour involve a number of countries. It is a great opportunity to discuss things related to the implementation of GFCS. On the other hand, given the fact that China has made progress in the development of climate services, it is those countries attending the study tour could learn from this progress and related the lesson they took hereto the implementation in their respect country we they go back. At the same time, the study tour will give countries the opportunity to learn and draw lessons from China that will give them eventually starting implementation of climate services of their own.

 

Reporter: What’s your impression on the experience of China?

 

Fhlipe: First of all, I was impressed with the number and quality of services being provided in China. In China, there’re two types of services being provided by CMA through Beijing climate center, but we also have the municipality level like the Beijing Meteorological Bureau. There are very specific climate products and services being provided to different users. Secondly, China has been able to integrate information into the tools which enable to assess impacts and combine climate information with other types of information to drive specific products. I learnt very specific products that have been provided for urban planning, engineering projects, activities in various social and economic sectors. But the key and critical element of the success is the type of advance that links the user communities. There’s a strong link between the technical side and the user side which basically facilitate the identification of the user needs, eventually the tailoring of information to address their very specific needs.

 

Reporter: Can you tell us some examples of regional collaboration?

 

Filipe: At regional level, collaborations first of all are centered around regional climate centers. Being able to effectively address the capacity gaps between the countries, there are now about 70 countries in the world do not have the capacity to produce and apply climate services. To address those needs at individual level is a big challenge. The approach that has been pursued under the GFCS is first to strength regional climate services and strength national meteorological services. And these regional centers will be able to product more direct report, more direct assistance and guidelines to individual countries, particularly in aspects related to capacity development, regional training and activities. Currently we have a numbers of regional centers that are undergoing demonstration phase.

 

Reporter: What is the outlook of the GFCS? 

 

Filipe: In the implementation plan of the GFCS, we have a number of milestones. The next WMO congress in 2015 will evaluate the progress and the implementation of the framework. We started the implementation in 2012, since then we’ve been carrying out a couple of activities. The second important of milestone for the evaluation of framework is 2019 when we have the next WM congress.

 

There are very specific milestones which the framework should achieve in its implementation. Currently in the first two years, the priority is to make sure that we implement projects, which relates to the establishment of the framework in the national level to develop specific projects to implement climate services in countries like Tanzania and Malawi. We are also addressing data and communication issues, those activities are taking place with the focus on four priority areas. By 2017, we want to expand the areas that benefit from GFCS that will include energy in mega cities. by 2021,we expect that there will be climate services that all climate areas in the world. Basically, we hope to be able to not only increase the quality of the climate services from the scientific point of view, but to expand the types of users that have the access and understand and they can apply to those services.

Ofa Fa'anunu introduces the weather service in Tonga.

Reporter: How does climate change affect Tonga?

 

Ofa Fa'anunu: We started weather observation since 1945. According to our observation, the temperature has risen by 0.5 degrees Celsius and sea level has risen by nearly one foot. Since climate warming, extreme weather has become severer and more frequent. For example, the tropical cyclone has become stronger. In January this year, there was a five category hurricane. It is rare before.

Natural disasters cost Tonga 50 million US dollar in very year. During last two El Nino events, there were severe drought happened, bringing heavy loss to agriculture. In Tonga, Agriculture, fishing and tourism are major economic sectors. Since our food mainly comes from agriculture production, the agriculture sector is very important. Due to the severe drought since June, the government has to send emergency desalination devices to the public for daily use of fresh water. As a island country, we mainly depend on collecting rainfall for drinking.

Reporter: how much precipitation in average a year for Tonga?

Ofa Fa'anunu: Our country is composed of more than 150 islands, with over 100 thousand people. From north to south, we get yearly average precipitation from 250-1600mm.

Reporter: what meteorological services does Tonga provide to deal with disaster weather?

Ofa Fa'anunu: As I said, we have very small meteorological service. Presently, there are 30 people in our weather bureau, of which there are 3 climate staff, 6 forecasters, 7 marine radio operators. The rest are weather observers.

 

We can only provide very basic weather forecast. When I started working in 1998, the only thing I do is collecting weather observation information. From 2006, I began to do climate services. Up to now, we still provide very basic climate services.

 

Since we are shortage of staff, the cooperation in information dissemination is very important for us. We also relay NGOs to teach the communities such as the Red Cross.

 

In weather information dissemination, we rely on radio. Despite that there are over 90 percent people using mobile phones. However, the timeliness is limited in warning disseminating. Sometimes, citizens received information three days after we released. So in Tonga, we mainly broadcast weather warnings by radio. For example, when tropical cyclone is coming, I can release forecast information in every ten minutes by the radio.

 

Reporter: since you have visited some operations of CMA, what is your impression on China’s climate services?

 

Ofa Fa'anunu: I have been to China three times, with earliest from 2001. I found great changes of CMA when my every visiting. I join the 44th China study tour this time, to learn the climate services of China. Thanks for the opportunity of China provided, there is huge information here. Chinese meteorological department provides a lot of resources for specific users. Information provided is so detail and so good that it is beyond my imagining. China pays high attention to climate assessment. The operations are done by experts. That needs to learn by Tonga.

 

Reporter: in what fields do you think China and RAⅤ could strengthen cooperation?

 

Ofa Fa'anunu: I think we can carry out exchange and cooperation in a few fields. Firstly, one of the problems we face is without observation equipment maintenance technicians. This is a common issue faced by small island countries and least developed countries I think. Most of observing devices in Tonga are manual. Some equipment went bad without maintenance. I do not want to reduce our staff through using more automatic devices. So I want CMA can help to train our staff for equipment maintenance.

 

In addition, in Tonga, there are 3 thousand Chinese doing business, who are vulnerable to meteorological disasters due to their frequent migration. I hope China can help us to release Chinese warning.

 

In 2015, the RAⅤ congress will be held. We will prove the development strategy and implement the GFCS. We hope China could share with us on experience of climate services, using its region training centers of Nanjing and Beijing to training more staff for us, especially the observation device maintenance technique. I also hope China could provide more scholarship for us letting more staff come to China.

Editor Zhang Yong