Typhoon Committee WMO by tonze.danzel


ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION                               WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3
FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC                                     (16.II.2009)

WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones                         ______________
Thirty-sixth session
Muscat, Oman
2 to 6 March 2009                                            ENGLISH ONLY


                     Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Component

                              (Submitted by the WMO Secretariat)

                 Utilization of tropical cyclone and related hazards’ warnings
                   and information for improved coastal risk management


       Between 1978 and 2007, windstorms and associated floods and storm surge have resulted
in 63% of
        all casualties and 85% economic losses due to hydrometeorological disasters (Source:
OFDA/CRED global disaster loss database) in the countries that are members of the
WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones. The hazards that have contributed most to disasters in
the region in the same period were floods (40%), windstorms (26%) and extreme temperatures
(7%). For example, in 2007, tropical cyclone Gonu that affected Oman, Iran and the United Arab
Emirates caused the death of nearly 50 people and damages estimated at 4 billion USD in Oman.
In 2008, Myanmar was affected by tropical Cyclone Nargis that caused the death of over 130000
people and losses estimated at 2.7% of the national GDP for 2008. According to IPCC 4th
assessment report, climate change will exacerbate the severity and frequency of
hydrometeorological hazards like tropical cyclones and flooding. Furthermore, it is expected that
sea level rise linked to impacts of climate change would increase the vulnerability of the coastal

       Under the crosscutting framework of its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme, WMO
conducted in 2006 a country-level fact-finding survey. The survey indicated that for the countries
that are members of the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones, tropical cyclones and
associated floods and storm surges were of major concern. More information about the WMO DRR
Programme, WMO strategic goals in disaster risk reduction and related capacity-development
action    plan     is    available    from     the     Fifteenth   Congress       document      at
(www.wmo.int/pages/governance/congress/documents/1026_E.pdf). Results of the WMO national
survey can be obtained at http://www.wmo.int/disasters.

       Effective preventive and preparedness strategies such as land-use planning, resource and
environmental management, early warning systems integrated with emergency preparedness,
could highly reduce risks associated with tropical cyclones and other related hazards in coastal
areas. This would require relevant meteorological, oceanographic and hydrological information to
support different decision processes. Improved risk management in coastal regions would require
concerted efforts by WMO constituent bodies and programmes concerned. The WMO/ESCAP
Panel on Tropical Cyclones is invited to participate in the following initiatives and projects as
relevant to its mission and activities.
                                     WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3, p. 2

1.     Enhanced tropical cyclone and other related hazards’ risk information

         Understanding and quantifying risks posed by tropical cyclones and marine-related hazards
are a fundamental requirement for improved coastal risk management. Coastal risk managers and
emergency responders could benefit from information about risks posed by tropical cyclones and
other related hazards, for purposes of emergency planning, mapping of evacuation routes, land-
use planning, resource and environmental management. At the national level, assessment of risks
still presents a considerable challenge, as it requires combination of information on hazards,
vulnerability, exposure, and historical impacts of such hazards.

1.1.    Hazards’ information

        A country-level survey conducted by WMO in 2006 indicated that windstorms and
associated floods and storm are of major concern for the members of the WMO/ESCAP Panel on
Tropical Cyclones. As a first step for the development of appropriate risk management strategies,
there is need for development of standard methodologies and tools for hazard data monitoring,
archiving (including metadata), analysis and mapping for tropical cyclones and marine-related

        WMO through JCOMM has initiated the development of a database of extreme wave
events, which provides a useful reference historical background to various studies and
applications, including modeling, monitoring and predicting extreme events and their impacts. More
information about the Extreme Wave Database is available at http://www.jcomm-
services.org/JCOMM-Extreme-Wave-Data-Base.html). In addition, the Sixth International
Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (San Jose, Costa Rica, 20-30 November 2006) recommended that
such efforts should be initiated for tropical cyclones, involving CAS and TCP.

        Furthermore, WMO Fifteenth Congress (May 2007) requested Secretary-General to
“coordinate the collection and dissemination of information on meteorological, hydrological and
climate-related hazards and their impacts, when possible and available”. There is need for
development of guidelines for maintenance of standard databases, metadata, and tools for
mapping and analysis of tropical cyclones, storm surges, extreme waves and related coastal

1.2.    Loss databases

         Impacts (e.g., casualties, economic losses) from tropical cyclones and other related
hazards are realised through wind and/or water damage. Most disaster loss databases aggregate
these impacts under a single “tropical cyclone” category. However, there is need for systematic
methodologies to document impacts associated with each of the specific hazards associated with
tropical cyclones in coastal areas (extreme waves, storm surges and flooding).

        Since 2003 and 2004, the WMO Tropical Cyclone Programme participated in the
development of the global unique disaster identifier number (GLIDE: www.glidenumber.net),
developed to facilitate quality management of databases, avoiding duplicates, enabling inter-
operability and linking hazard events with the related disasters, inside and across national borders.

         In June 2007, the Global Risk Identification Program (GRIP: www.gri-p.net) was launched,
with the goal to improve utilisation of information on disaster risks and losses into risk management
decision-making. Specifically, GRIP is involved in the development and enhancement of national to
international disaster losses databases, and is promoting utilisation of the GLIDE number for
linking information about hazards and associated losses.

1.3.    Development of risk information
                                      WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3, p. 3

Information about hazards, vulnerability and exposure at national level is often available, even
though it may not be complete, under different agencies, with different data management, analysis
and mapping techniques. Assessment of the risk posed by different hazards related to tropical
cyclones would therefore require systematic collaborations and information exchange among these

       Through efforts of international agencies and programmes such as the World Bank and
Global Risk Identification Project (GRIP), projects are underway for disaster impact databases
development and probabilistic risk modelling in different regions and countries.

          WMO is supporting the World Bank’s “Central America Probabilistic Risk Assessment”
(CAPRA: go.worldbank.org/YJ5KU1G5R0) project, launched in Managua on 22 February 2008, by
facilitating NMHS’ and regional specialized meteorological centres’ participation for provision of
hazard and forecast information for development of the hazard modules for these models.

        WMO, through its HWR Programme is also contributing to GRIP, with the goal to improve
tools and methodologies for flood hazard and risk analysis. This effort could consider coastal
flooding linked to tropical cyclones and marine-related hazards, such as storm surge and extreme

2.      Integration of marine warnings and related information for improved coastal risk

2.1.    Integrated modelling and forecasting of tropical cyclone and other related hazards

        Early warning systems and services related to coastal risk management depend on the
crosscutting cooperation of several scientific disciplines. An integrated approach to tropical
cyclone, storm surge, wind-waves and flood forecasting, through model-based marine-related
forecasting systems, would be the strategy for building improved operational forecasts and
warnings capability for coastal inundation. Atmospheric, oceanic and hydrological models form the
basis for a coupled operational marine-related forecasting system.

        In order to provide timely and accurate information on coastal inundation, it is essential to
estimate accurately the state of the atmosphere (in particular winds, atmospheric pressure and
precipitation), the state of the ocean (sea surface elevation and currents – driven by wind,
atmospheric pressure, waves and tides), and flooding, particularly by river run-off.

        WMO has initiated an integrated effort by setting up or strengthening existing collaboration
mechanisms among the Tropical Cyclone Programme regional bodies, the Regional Associations
and the technical commissions concerned, foremost JCOMM, CAS, CHy and CBS for developing
and improving the service delivery in coastal risk management, with an emphasis on:
(1) Developing guidelines for early warning systems related to detecting and forecasting marine-
related hazards (a JCOMM guide on storm surge forecasting and a set of guidelines for coping
with tsunami, storm surge and other sea-level related hazard are foreseen to be published by mid-
2009); and (2) Implementing, through forecast demonstration projects, improved operational
forecast and warning systems for coastal inundation.

        These efforts will be built upon activities such as those through WMO WWRP’s Working
Group on Tropical Meteorology Research (WGTMR) which is working on high-impact weather
events associated with tropical cyclones and monsoons that primarily affect the tropical and
subtropical countries. Specifically, WGTMR’s Tropical Cyclone Panel is currently working on four
projects namely: (1) an intercomparison of the recently developed advanced numerical modeling
systems for the prediction of tropical cyclone structure/intensity changes; (2) a tropical cyclone field
experiment sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research in conjunction with the Naval Research
laboratory and the US Air Force whose overall goal is to increase predictability associated with all
aspects of tropical cyclones over the western North (3) a field campaign focused on the extra
                                      WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3, p. 4

tropical transition of tropical cyclones (4) a forecast demonstration project (FDP) based on
THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) for tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall.

        The socio-economic impacts of the disaster during 2007-2008 resulting from tropical
cyclones such as Gonu in June 2007 and Nargis in May 2008 and their associated coastal marine
hazards stressed the need for a storm surge watch scheme to help increase advisory lead-time
and thus contribute to saving lives and property. Such a scheme would be the first step towards a
comprehensive and integrated marine multi-hazard forecasting and warning system for improved
coastal risk management. In this regard, RSMC New-Delhi, based on technical advice from
JCOMM, is invited to consider participation in a regional storm surge watch scheme, and to
develop a proposal for consideration by the WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones.

2.2.    Warning communication and dissemination

         Coastal risk management would require cooperation of several technical agencies with
disaster management agencies and other coastal zone managers. Collaboration among agencies
should ensure that authoritative information is available in a timely, understandable, and easily
accessible fashion for emergency operators and decision makers. Dissemination of warnings and
related information on tropical cyclones, storm surges, waves, coastal floods and tides usually are
decentralised, falling under the responsibilities of different agencies at national level. To this end,
National Meteorological Services, together with other technical agencies (e.g. hydrological
services, ocean services), could facilitate the establishment of information portals to ensure easy
access to information by decision-makers and emergency operators.

2.3.    Utilization of warnings in emergency preparedness and response operations

         Impacts of tropical cyclone, storm surge, extreme waves and related flooding can only be
reduced if the warnings are linked in the emergency preparedness and response operations.
Effective emergency response should be underpinned by clear plans and legislation at national to
local levels, where the key stakeholders are identified along with their roles and responsibilities in
the different stages of the operational process. Effective operational early warning system and
emergency preparedness should include:

            Ability to observe, detect and manage data and information;
            Forecasting tools, capacities and infrastructure;
            Segmentation of users (decision makers, emergency responders), mapping of their
             decision processes (e.g. how warnings trigger response), identification of their specific
             requirements (e.g., lead time, accuracy, information content, distribution channels),
             and feedback mechanisms that would lead to improved warning messages and
             utilisation over time;
            Ongoing capacity building and training between forecasters and their stakeholders to
             train them on the technical limitation and accuracy of forecast-related product and
            Dissemination infrastructure/mechanisms/channels for distribution of the products
             developed by NMHS to the stakeholders. Quality assurance that the products and
             services are received and understood;
            Provision of information products to the public and stakeholders in emergency
             preparedness and response operations to improve understanding of forecast and
             warning products and services;
            Bidirectional feedback mechanisms (stakeholder/NMHS) during and after an event to
             improve the products and service;
            Concept of operations of EWS involving coordination and cooperation of the NMHS
             with the disaster risk management agencies
                                     WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3, p. 5

         Following a request by the 58th Executive Council and further stressed by the15th
Congress, WMO is initiating pilot projects on early warning systems with a multi-hazard approach
to better understand institutional cooperation, and operational aspects of early warning systems.
The goal of the pilot projects is to develop guidelines on effective multi-hazard early warning
systems with respect to governance, organizational coordination and operational aspects and the
role of NMHS therein (See para 3.0).

2.4.    Utilization of tropical cyclone and related hazards information for regional and international
        humanitarian contingency planning and response

        When a disaster happens, many countries rely on the assistance from humanitarian
agencies. In the context of the humanitarian reform and under the framework of the Inter-Agency
Standing Committee (IASC), the humanitarian community is working together to improve
contingency planning and more coordinated response to potential disasters. This requires access
to relevant official forecasts and other advanced information that can assist them in assessing
potential disaster situations. These agencies would benefit from systematic cooperation with
NMHSs (i.e. access to official warnings) and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres
(RSMCs, i.e. access to specialised forecasts and bulletins). However, these linkages are either ad-
hoc or non-existent and need to be established or strengthened. Furthermore, the information
available through NMHSs and RSMCs is generally too technical and not targeted at this user

        Strengthening of operational linkages between national and regional offices of these
agencies with NMHSs and RSMCs, and development of meteorological, oceanographic,
hydrological and climate products and services that would address their needs and requirements
could improve the coordination of humanitarian response and relief operations following a disaster.
Under the crosscutting framework of the DRR Programme a project is being initiated by CBS
(through its Open Programme Area Groups (OPAGs) in Public Weather Services (PWS), Global
Data Processing and Forecasting Systems (GDPFSs), WMO Information System (WIS)) and the
DRR Division to facilitate development of these capacities, which can then be demonstrated in

2.5.    Development of value-added products combining meteorological, oceanographic, and
        hydrological information and forecasts with high resolution satellite imagery

       Value-added products developed by combining meteorological, oceanographic, and
hydrological information and forecasts with high resolution satellite imagery could assist
emergency responders to facilitate emergency planning, response, relief and post-disaster

        The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters (cf. www.disasterscharter.org),
has facilitated access to high resolution satellite images, for the use by emergency responders,
humanitarian and civil protection agencies, free of charge, in anticipation of a disaster or after a
disaster has occurred. Currently, this Charter can be activated either by the national civil security
agencies or selected international humanitarian agencies.

        As an example, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Dec 2005, through a partnership
between WMO and UNOSAT, specialised products were developed based on overlaying high
resolution satellite with daily to seasonal forecasts of snow cover provided by ECMWF. This
information enabled improved rescue missions, provision of shelters and other relief operations.

        Through collaboration of the space agencies, humanitarian agencies, NMHSs and RSMCs,
value-added products based on combining the high-resolution satellite images provided by the
Charter with various hydro-meteorological forecast outputs could be developed systematically.

3.     WMO coordinated multi-hazard early warning systems pilot projects
                                      WRD/PTC.36/Doc. 5.3, p. 6

       In 2007 WMO initiated the development of early warning system projects with a multi-
hazard approach, starting in Central America. The goal of the projects is to strengthen regional
operational cooperation and concept of operations for improved cooperation of the NMHS with the
disaster risk management agencies at national to local levels.

       In November 2007 a Regional Planning and Advisory Group (RPAG) was established
under leadership of RA IV President, involving WMO network’s experts in the region and other key
partner agencies, including the World Bank and the Regional Office of the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The RPAG:

       1.     Facilitated project     proposal     development      and    integrated   planning   for

       2.     Developed a clear regional and national cooperation strategy and facilitate relevant
              cooperation and buy-in among the stakeholders for implementation of the project;

       3.     Is facilitating resource mobilization for funding of the project;

       4.     Will serve as an advisory committee during implementation of the project and
              documentation of project outcomes, successes and expansion.

       The project is expected to be launched for the first three pilot countries (Costa Rica, El
Salvador and Nicaragua) in late 2009. The RA IV Hurricane committee, together with additional
experts in disaster risk management from RA IV will serve as the primary mechanism to, i) review
lessons learned from these pilots ii) provide guidance on the future course of the project based on
lessons learned from the pilots and, iii) make recommendations to RA IV meeting in 2009 for the
expansion of the project to other countries in the region with a strong emphasis on the SIDs in the
Caribbean. Similar projects can be initiated, upon request from the Members and with cooperation
and coordination WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones in this region.

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