Thursday, December 19, 2013

Singapore News: Inaugural ASEAN Climate Outlook Forum Launched (5 Dec 2013)

Inaugural ASEAN Climate Outlook Forum Launched

Singapore hosts first-ever regional platform for ASEAN countries to
develop consensus-based regional seasonal climate outlook

Singapore, 5 December 2013 – In a new initiative to improve understanding of climate variability and change relevant to Southeast Asia, and to develop a consensus-based seasonal climate outlook for the region, Singapore hosted the first-ever ASEAN Climate Outlook Forum (ASEAN-COF) from 3 to 5 December 2013 at the Centre for Climate for Research.  The establishment of ASEAN-COF was endorsed in July 2013 by the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Meteorology and Geophysics (SCMG), comprising the National Meteorological Services (NMS) of ASEAN member countries.
2          A total of about 40 experts from the NMS of ASEAN member countries, international experts from China, Japan, South Korea, USA and Europe as well as representatives from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), participated in the three-day event. The meeting was supported by WMO under a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
3          The Director-General of the Meteorological Service Singapore, Ms Wong Chin Ling, explained the significance of the forum, “This inaugural session of ASEAN-COF brings together expertise from the leading climate modelling and prediction centres around the world, and marks an important milestone in advancing regional capabilities and collaboration in the area of seasonal climate prediction. Long-range forecasts of rainfall, temperature and other weather parameters have numerous useful applications such as risk assessment of transboundary smoke haze occurrences caused by regional land and forest fires during the dry season, as well as flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains during the rainy season.”
4          The inaugural ASEAN-COF saw a fruitful exchange of ideas and plans discussed to improve long-range forecasts for the region. In particular, the participants reached a consensus on the regional climate outlook for the current Northeast Monsoon season from December to February. For southern Southeast Asia, normal to above normal rainfall is expected, while normal to below normal rainfall is expected for northern Southeast Asia during the season[1]. There was also agreement that more scientific research was needed to improve understanding of the predictability of rainfall in the region as well as the key drivers of the region’s climate, such as the El Nino and La Nina phenomena. 
5          Dr Rupa Kumar Kolli, Acting Director of Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch of WMO said, “For more than 15 years, WMO has been supporting Regional Climate Outlook Forums which now serve more than half the world’s population with climate outlooks of up to three months ahead. Seasonal climate outlooks offer increasingly reliable and accessible decision-support tools for climate-sensitive sectors such as farming, public health, water as well as disaster risk reduction and translate advances in scientific knowledge into practical services for society. The new ASEAN Climate Outlook Forum will enable us to spread the benefits of these climate services to millions more people.”
6          The ASEAN-COF will meet annually in the fourth quarter of every year and will focus on forecasting the Northeast Monsoon season, evaluating end user requirements and putting in place plans for these to be addressed. Another ASEAN-COF will be held in conjunction with the annual ASEAN SCMG meeting in the second quarter every year and will focus on forecasting the Southwest Monsoon season. While ASEAN-COF provides regional climate outlooks, it is the responsibility of NMSs to update and downscale them to shorter time-frames and local levels for their respective countries.          
7          ASEAN-COF is considered to be a key initiative in the context of the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) in Southeast Asia. For more information on the GFCS, refer to the website                                                                
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