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World Meteorological Day 2005

22 March 2005

World Meteorological Day 2005 - averting the impact of extreme weather

March 23rd is set aside each year by meteorologists as World Meteorological Day. This celebrates the coming into force of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as an agency of the United Nations on 23 March 1950. This year's theme is "Weather, Climate, Water and Sustainable development"

In a message marking this occasion the Secretary-General of WMO, Mr.Michel Jarraud commented that sustaining development is related to averting the impacts of extreme weather. "Over the ten year period ending 2001 some ninety per cent of all natural disasters were weather-related, killing 622, 000 people, and affecting two billion more. The total economic loss was estimated to be $US450 Billion. While no one can control the weather, accurate observations and predictions with higher levels of accuracy and lead-time can radically improve people's chances."

A special article has been released to mark World Meteorological Day 2005. This concentrates on the latest developments in "Weather, Climate, Water, and Sustainable Development" and copies are available on the www.wmo.int website, or from MetService Weather Ambassador, Bob McDavitt.

McDavitt commented that MetService has in the past year added more forecast products to alert New Zealanders of the possibilities of damaging weather. "Our severe weather outlook and severe thunderstorm outlook maps provide important information for anyone planning weather-dependent activities in New Zealand. These are available on our website at www.metservice.com and are provided under contract to the New Zealand Government."

Another facet for sustaining development is to make better use of renewable energy. To mark World Meteorological Day 2005 the United Kingdom Met Office has added to its web site some freely downloadable plans for schools about how to make your own wind mill, water wheel, solar heater or solar panel. The links are at the bottom of the "http://www.metoffice.gov. uk/education/wmd2005/index.html" page.

New Zealand's Ministry of Education Curriculum Team leader, Chris Arcus, is pleased that professional bodies are willing to play such a key part in helping our students learn.

Arcus pointed out that the current science curriculum provides students with opportunities to develop an understanding of the processes which have helped shape planet Earth and to consider the impact on and by people on these phenomena and processes. "These renewable energy projects help improve our ability to understand weather processes and how they can be used to help sustain us in our daily activities."

ENDS


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