2.6 Practical education for developing country scientists: WMO commission for climatology experience and perspective

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 2:45 PM
604 (Washington State Convention Center)
Thomas C. Peterson, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC
Manuscript (23.0 kB)

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change made it clear that climate change is a global phenomenon – all the countries of the world are in it together. Yet Meteorological Services personnel of many developing countries need education and guidance in order to provide climate services for the benefit their citizens. The World Meteorological Organization's Commission for Climatology has been providing some of the required education as part of its capacity building activities. To give one example, a series of over well over a dozen hands-on workshops were held in different parts of the world that focused on analysis of changes in extremes. Scientists from about 5 to 10 countries would bring their daily data to the workshops where, under the guidance of experts, they performed quality control on their data, tested the station time series for inhomogeneities, and then calculated a suite of indices that highlight how extremes are changing. This was often the first time anyone in their countries' meteorological service had used their historical data to determine how their climate was changing. In response, a new appreciation for long-term data developed which has resulted in increased digitization of historical data. In addition to educating the local meteorologists, these workshops contributed peer-reviewed analysis of changes in extremes that were used by the IPCC. While the WMO Commission for Climatology is engaged in many educational, capacity building activities, ranging from basic data management to climate change risk management, the most successful activities were those that were win/win. That is, they were wins for the local scientists who were increasing their knowledge base and they were wins for the international experts in their efforts to better exchange information and data to improve the understanding and documentation of climate variability and change across the entire world.
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