888 WMO's Emergency Response Activities (ERA) Programme and Its Practice

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Xu Tang, WMO, Geneva, Switzerland

WMO’s programme Emergency Response Activities (ERA) includes in general terms the broad area of the application of specialized atmospheric dispersion-modelling techniques to track and predict the spread of airborne hazardous substances in the event of an environmental emergency. This kind of specialized application depends directly on the operational infrastructure of the numerical weather prediction systems that are implemented and maintained at many of WMO’s World Weather Watch system of global, regional and national meteorological centres.

The ERA programme was established to assist National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), their respective national agencies and relevant international organizations to respond effectively to environmental emergencies involving large-scale dispersion of air-borne hazardous substances. Following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, the programme focused its operational arrangements and support on nuclear facility accidents. The programme is now expanding to emergency response for non-nuclear environmental emergencies such as the dispersion of smoke from large fires, ash and other emissions from volcanic eruptions, and chemical releases from industrial accidents.

Meteorological data and information, while they can be integrated into  emergency preparedness and response systems, could also be effective in reducing the risk of incidents and emergencies if they are introduced into environmental emergency prevention programmes.

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