Overview of WMO Dust Forecast Centre in China

18-04-2018Source:China Meteorological News Press

Global Assessment of Sand and Dust Storms

From the end of March to the first half of April, 2018, central and eastern portions of China had been beset by dusty weather. In the meanwhile, an institution dubbed "WMO Asian Dust Forecast Regional Centre" has caught on among more people.

At the beginning of this century, severe sandstorm weather has consecutively blanketed northern Asian regions, engendering widespread attention of scientific community, media and the general public across the globe.

In September, 2004, in the wake of sandstorm international seminar held in China Meteorological Administration (CMA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) raised SDS RDP under the framework of GAW and WWRP. After that, the third session of WMO early warning meeting raised that based on SDS RDP, global sand and dust storm warning advisory and assessment system should be set up in a bid to carry forward sandstorm forecasting among WMO members and enhance early warning capabilities.

At that time, 40 WMO members responded actively to this initiative. Under the leadership of the core guiding committee of this project, in 2006, in Shanghai, sand and dust storm warning advisory and assessment system (SDS-WAS) project implement plan was rolled out and activated in 2007.

This project is characterized by the mission to enhance the ability of countries to deliver timely and qualified sand and dust storm forecasts, observations, information and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities.

In June 2008, the 60th meeting of the WMO Executive Council agreed that SDS-WAS, under the framework of WMO CAS, would establish Asian and Central Pacific Regional Centre, and European and Northern Africa Regional Centre, to underpin the implementation of this project in Asia-Central Pacific and North Africa-Europe.

At the fourteenth session of the Commission for Basic Systems (CBS-14), March 2009, the Commission requested appropriate experts in CBS to review the draft SDS-WAS Implementation Plan “to clarify the future of the SDS-WAS centres (and nodes) in the context of the WMO Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS) and Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) structures”, and recommended using its RSMC designation process for the establishment of the SDS-WAS centres, to ensure operational sustainability.

Sand and dust storm regional centre under the framework of CAS mainly focuses on scientific research and advisory. It is the predecessor of sand and dust storm forecast regional centre focusing on forecasting and early warning services.

CMA China Atmosphere Watch Network (CAWNET) observation 

In 2012,SDS-WAS project rounded out the first-phase research task. In the meanwhile, people have grown out of merely conducting scientific collaboration over sand and dust weather forecast,calling for regional forecast and early warning services. In September, 2012, during the 15th Session of CBS, RSMC-ASDF was finalized under the framework of CBS.

From CAS to CBS, it marks a landmark transition from scientific research to operational frontier in terms of sand and dust storm.

During the same event, SDS-WAS European Centre situated in Spain submitted the application and was approved. In 2014, this center was formally recognized by CBS as a professional regional meteorological centre in North Africa-Middle East-European sand and dust storm forecast area.

CMA dust-radiation feedback

In Asia, SDS-WAS Asian regional centre spearheaded by Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, and undertaken by National Meteorological Center and National Satellite Meteorological Center, through many years’ progress, has not only rounded out the construction of the sharing platform, but also enabled the sharing of sand and dust storm numerical weather prediction products with many countries, and connected to forecasting websites of countries like South Korea and Japan.

CMA : FY-2D satellite data assimilation

In March 2012, in Tsukuba, 20 experts from countries like South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan made the joint suggestion that SDS-WAS Asian Regional Centre should apply to WMO on the establishment of RSMC-ASDF. In March 2015, during the SDS-WAS Asian region advisory committee meeting, countries agreed that CMA would apply RSMC-ASDF on behalf of SDS-WAS Asian Regional Centre.

WMO SDS-WAS Asia/Central Pacific RC

In 2017, Asian sand and dust storm forecast regional professional meteorological center was formally accredited and was set up in Beijing, China. Its establishment bears significant importance to elevating sand and dust monitoring and forecasting capabilities of China.

Currently, at the global scale, there are only two ESMC-ASDFs. This bears on the monitoring and forecasting priorities of sand and dust storm, as well as forecasting capabilities of different regions.

Forecasting efficacy comparison of model dust concentration vs. PM10 observation

Sand and dust weather, especially sandstorm, is predominantly situated in landlocked desert areas. There are primarily four sand and dust storm areas: Sahara Desert and Middle East, from which the sand and dust weather may affect North Africa, West Asia, even portions of Mediterranean regions or Northern Europe; Central Asia sandstorm area, exerting effects on countries in Central Asia, Northwest China, Inner Mongolia, and North China, or even countries in East Asia like South Korea or Japan; Australian sandstorm area, in which 70% of the territory belongs to arid and semi-arid areas and large swaths of deserts in the west Australia; North America sandstorm area, including central-western America and northern Mexico.

The two established RSMC-ASDFs are targeted at two areas where sand and dust weather is frequent and myriad countries are situated.

The establishment of RSMC-ASDF calls for mighty operational capabilities. Actually, WMO has a stringent requirement of forecasting timing, product dissemination frequency, and data sharing capabilities. For instance, Barcelona Supercomputing Center and sandstorm model of ECMWF have laid the groundwork for the RSMC-ASDF in Spain. While China has done a raft of work oriented towards sand and dust weather regional forecast. Actually, China is the first country to realize sandstorm numerical weather prediction operational application. CUACE/Dust technical capacity has taken the lead across the globe.

CUACE is now being developed as a system for dust and air quality forecasts in China. Since it is envisioned as a unified system, it can be implemented into any meteorological models such as regional air quality and climate models. CUACE/Dust is an application of CUACE to dust aerosol forecasts and is an integrated system that combines a size segregated multi-component aerosol module with a 3D-Var data assimilation system implemented into two operational weather forecasting models.(Apri.18)

Reporter: Duan Haoshu

Editor: Liu Shuqiao