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RA II/WG/PIW/Doc.3 __________ ITEM: 3 ENGLISH ONLY

REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WORKING GROUP ON PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WWW IN REGION II (Submitted by Dr K. Prasad the Chairman of the Working Group) _______________________________________________________ Summary and purpose of document This document contains an overview of the significant developments that have taken place in the operational matters of WWW with particular reference to RA II and activities of the working group since its establishment by the eleventh session of RA II. ________________________________________________________ ACTION PROPOSED The working group is invited to: (a) (b) Note the information contained in the document Consider the future work plan of the working group for the remaining period 1. Abridged Final Report of the eleventh session of the RA II (Ulaanbaatar, 24 September-3 October 1996), WMO-No 851 Final Report of the second session of the Working Group on Planning and Implementation of the WWW in Region II (New Delhi, 15-18 November, 1995) Abridged Final Report of the eleventh session of the CBS (Cairo, 28 October-7 November 1996), WMO-No 854 Abridged Final Report of the extraordinary session of the CBS (Karlsruhe, 30 September-9 October 1998), WMO-No893 World Weather Watch Nineteenth Status Report on Implementation, WMO-No. 894








The eleventh session of the Regional Association II (Asia) ( Ulaanbaatar, 24

September - 3 October 1996) re-established the Working Group on Planning and Implementation of World Weather Watch (WG/PIW) in Region II with terms of reference listed in Resolution 2 (XI-RA II) (see reference 1). The current membership of the working group consists of 17 experts from 12 countries, including the Chairman of the working group, the co-ordinator of the subgroup on GTS and four Rapporteurs. Dr. K.Prasad (India) was designated by the eleventh session of RA II as chairman of the group. Mr. A.I. Gusev (Russian Federation), Mr. Chen Yongqing (China), Mr. Woo-Jin Lee (Republic of Korea), Mr. Motoyasu Sato Japan) and Mr. A.A. Lyakhov (Russian Federation) were appointed as the co-ordinator of the subgroup on GTS and rapporteurs on the Regional Aspects of GOS, GDPS, Data Management and Public Weather Services respectively. Mr. Motoyasu Sato was later succeeded by Mr. Atsushi Shimazaki as Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of Data Management with effect from April 1999.


The Chairman of the working group prepared an outline of the work plan in

consultation with the World Weather Watch department of WMO, in accordance with the terms of reference of the working group, and taking into consideration the decisions of the eleventh session of RA II (Ulaanbaatar, September - October, 1996), the eleventh session of CBS (Cairo, October - November, 1996), the second session of WG/PIW (New Delhi, November, 1995), Implementation Co-ordination Meeting (ICM) on the GTS (Phuket, February 1997) and the WMO Long-Term Plans. The draft work plan was circulated amongst all the members of the working group for comments and suggestions. The work plan was finalised, incorporating the suggestions received, and circulated to the members of the working group for implementation trough WMO circular letter dated 20 January 1998, after approval by the President of RA II. The work plan addressed several important issues such as:  Data reporting by RBSN and a review of RBSN list

         3.

CLIMAT reporting Maintenance, updating and exchange of comprehensive catalogues of meteorological bulletins Introduction of new telecommunication technologies and services in the RMTN plan and upgrading of GTS in Region II Upgrading capabilities of NMCs in RA II in the interpretation of NWP products Harmonization of severe weather warnings issued by adjacent NMSs Environmental Emergency Response Activity Use of BUFR and CREX for data representation Use of Internet Implementation strategy for the Public Weather Services Programme Following circulation of the work plan, the co-ordinator of the sub-group on GTS

and Rapporteurs on Regional Aspects of GOS, GDPS, Data Management and Public Weather Services have done substantial work within their terms of reference. The progress in each individual component will be presented and discussed under relevant agenda item.


Many important developments have taken place and vital decisions taken by CBS,

the WMO body responsible for WWW, during the inter-sessional period since the second session of RA II Working Group (New Delhi, November, 1995). These developments have a bearing on the operation of WWW programme in Region II. The most significant development was the restructuring of the Commission for Basic Systems. A new

structure was adopted by the extraordinary session of CBS (Karlsruhe, 30 September - 9 October, 1998), whereby the system of large open working groups was done away with. The activities were grouped under four major "Programme Areas" - Integrated Observing Systems, Information Systems and Services, Data Processing and Forecasting Systems

and Public Weather Services. The functions of CBS will be carried out through smaller teams - the Expert Teams based on expertise in specific areas of activity and Implementation Co-ordination Teams, mainly based on regional representations to focus on co-ordinating operational and implementation aspects (see Doc. 4).


Under the Global Observing System component a significant development was to

recognize the need for an "Integrated Composite Observing System". The idea was mooted in view of the increasing requirements of observational data for high resolution NWP models and some additional factors, such as reduced national budgets for systematic measurements, changes in technologies, problem with allocation of radio frequencies etc. The motivation was to bring all observational systems under one

umbrella for a better coordination and management of heterogeneous upper air observational systems, as also to satisfy the long term needs of all WMO programmes. 6. The OMEGA radio navigation system, on which about 25% of the global upper

air network was dependent, closed down on September 30, 1997. Fortunately, due to the concerted efforts of the Members concerned and WMO, there was no dramatic loss of upper air data as some alternate arrangements had been initiated and mostly implemented. There are still some stations left to be replaced, including Region II. As of September 1999, there are six stations in Region II (middle east region) from which wind observations had not been received following the cessation of the Omega system. Some of the countries in Region II are now using GPS-based radiosondes. Reports indicate that there are operational problems with high rates of failures of these radiosondes, which has caused some concern. WMO has initiated action to conduct a survey to collect information on this matter and seek corrective measures to alleviate the problem. Secretariat will provide the results of survey under the relevant agenda item (see Doc.5). 7. The level of implementation of RBSN, as per annual global monitoring statistics

of 1-15 October 1998, continued to be high, being 95% for surface stations and 88% for upper air stations (Part A of TEMP reports). However, the percentage of reports received on GTS continued to be poor with only 79% and 60% reception rates respectively for the

surface and upper air data. The monitoring statistics further reveal that while the member of stations comprising RBSN has remained more or less at the same level, the availability of data reports has gone down substantially over the last few years. For example, the availability of SYNOP reports in 1998 was reduced to 3763 as compared to 3844 in 1994. The numbers for part A of TEMP reports were 389 in 1998 as against 477 in 1994. In fact, the number of TEMP reports has been steadily falling from a figure of 500 in 1991 to 389 in 1998. The Commission for Basic Systems in its XI Session (Cairo, October November, 1996) expressed serious concern at the severe degradation of upper air observations in Region II. Regional Association II (Ulaanbaatar September - October, 1996) identified the causes for unavailability of reports from stations implemented according to WMO Publication No.9, Volume A, as being due to deficiencies both in the operation of GOS and GTS. In particular, the Association stressed that the deficiencies in the GOS upper-air network related to a large degree on the high costs of consumables which led to the suspension of observational programmes/reduction in the number of observations from two to one per day in some countries. In addition, there are a

significant number of 'silent' stations in Region II, which are included in RBSN but do not report. The number of silent stations is 121 (107 implemented as per Vol. A) for surface and 71 (51 implemented as per Vol. A) for upper air. The report also brings out that there are 31 surface stations and 4 upper air stations which report their observations although not included in the RBSN. The situation calls for concerted efforts to find remedial measures to minimize the number of silent stations. The WG-PIW may like to make a recommendation to the Regional Association to take up the matter with the Members concerned to rehabilitate the silent stations in view of their great importance for WWW programme. Those stations which are reporting but not included in RBSN could be included forthwith. Revision of RBSN list needs to consider these aspects. Mr Chen Yongqing, Rapporteur on the Regional Aspects of Global Observing System has evaluated the implementation of RBSN in Region II and has developed proposals for redesign of the RBSN. The subject will be discussed under the relevant agenda item (see Doc.6).


The RA II eleventh session expressed deep concern at the disappointing situation

in regard to reporting of CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP messages. CLIMAT reports were received from only 340 stations, which represents only about 2 stations per 250000 km2 as against the requirement of "up to ten". The number of CLIMAT TEMP reports was of the order of 180 which was also far below the number of 280 operational upper air stations. The second session of RA II WG/PIW (November, 1995) reported that only 29% of the required CLIMAT reports and 54% of the required CLIMAT TEMP reports were available on the MTN. The annual global monitoring of October 1998 reveals these figures as 30% and 43% respectively, showing a further deterioration in CLIMAT TEMP reporting during the inter-sessional period. Initially it was thought that the complicated procedures with the CLIMAT code form were responsible for poor reporting. But the latest survey carried out by the Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of Data Management indicate that the poor reporting is not due to coding procedures. The primary reason for low percentages of reporting rates appears to be the lack of precisely defined target network of stations expected to report CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP messages. For example in the case of India, Rapporteur , in his survey paper, indicated figures of 79 and 25 respectively for the CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP reporting respectively. Whereas according to the information gathered by the Chairman from sources in Indian Meteorological Service, these numbers should have been 44 and 20 respectively as per WMO Publication No.9 Vol. A. The issue needs a closer scrutiny to reconcile the station list for CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP reporting. Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of Data Management will elaborate on the results of survey under the appropriate agenda item (see Doc.12).



The Regional Meteorological Telecommunication Network (RMTN) consisted of

67 GTS circuits. Only twenty two (one third) inter-regional and regional circuits operate at medium to high speed (1.2 to 64 kbit/s); most of these used X.25 protocol. Rest of the circuits still operate at low speeds of 50 to 200 baud. Nine RTHs and 18 NMCs were equipped with computerized facilities. Some countries in the Region including China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation and Thailand operate satellite based

telecommunication system for national purposes.

Many NMCs still use manually

operated equipment. Many circuits operate on telegraph and radio broadcasts. While the observational data collection in Region II is generally satisfactory, serious shortcomings still exist in some countries. New solutions using satellite-based telecommunications and managed data communication network services were being explored to upgrade the RMTN. 10. The eleventh session of Regional Association II desired that the WG-PIW should plans for the replacement of HF radio communication

coordinate implementation

systems by satellite based systems. This very important subject matter on the use of satellite based communication systems for WWW data exchange and improvement of RMTN in RA II has been under active consideration of WMO bodies. On a request from the Twelfth Congress, the Commission for Basic Systems invited an ad hoc expert team for a study on the possible use of satellite distribution system (SADIS) for transmission of WWW data and products by utilizing the offer made by UKMO to use its spare capacity on SADIS. The conclusion of the Expert Meeting was that the existing GTS could be envisaged as an integrated component of the GTS in Region II. The eleventh session of CBS expressed the opinion that the two way component of the SADIS service could not replace the operational and organizational arrangements for collecting and exchanging data which were implemented and planned in the framework of regional plans. The Commission, however, noted that the satellite based system offered by

UKMO should be used as an inter-regional complementary component of the GTS for facilitating distribution of meteorological data and products. The session laid emphasis on the need for looking into some of the related constraints in the system, such as meeting of the requirements of NMHSs by the system, ad hoc arrangements for uplinking of RSMCs' products to UKMO, and single vendor source and proprietary nature of VSAT equipment. 11. In pursuance to the views expressed by a majority of the countries operating HF

broadcasts at the "Implementation Coordination Meeting on the GTS in Region II" (Phuket, 18-22 February, 1997), in favour of discontinuing these broadcasts, a need was reiterated for making an assessment of the alternative telecommunication means to

support GTS in Region II. As a follow up action, WMO issued a circular letter dated September 24, 1997 on the subject "Survey on the remaining requirements for HF broadcasts in Region II and alternative telecommunication means". The circular referred to a pilot project based on "UK Satellite Facility" (UKSF) proposed by UKMO, in which one or two RAII Members would install equipment capable of receiving the UKSF/WWW data and products. Bahrain and Macao expressed their willingness to participate in the proposed pilot project. During the fourteenth session of CBS Working Group on Telecommunications, a side meeting on the regional aspects of the GTS in RA II, held on 3rd June 1998, recommended inclusion of Sri Lanka also in the pilot project. Sri Lanka accepted the proposal in response to a suggestion from WMO. The issue of the proposed pilot project came up for deliberation at the extraordinary session of CBS in Karlsruhe, which was attended by the chairman. The session was informed by the United Kingdom that some technical difficulties had delayed the pilot project. These were expected to be solved very soon. The working group may like to make a recommendation for speedier implementation of the project.


As a further follow up action on the subject of improvements in GTS in Region II,

the Regional Training Seminar on GTS techniques and procedures in RA II (Guangzhou, 7-10 December, 1998) developed recommendations, which included study on the replacement of the HF radio communication systems by satellite based systems and the study of an improved RMTN. In a circular letter dated 3 February 1999, Secretary General drew attention to the fact that an analysis of the results of survey on the remaining requirements for HF broadcasts showed that only 11 countries had responded to the questionnaire. The co-ordinator of the sub-group on Telecommunications has sent out another circular dated June 11, 1999 on the same subject. Detailed report on the replies received are expected to be presented by him at the meeting. 13. The CBS extraordinary session, Karlsruhe laid emphasis on the need for updating

of the routing catalogues and comprehensive catalogues of meteorological bulletins by WMCs/RTHs on MTN. The second session of RA II WG-PIW had recommended that routeing catalogues of RTHs be exchanged every three months both between RTHs and

their associated NMCs on electronic media, possibily via ftp. These catalogues provide essential information for effective operation of WWW. Coordinator of the sub-group on Telecommunication shall provide a status of implementation of the above recommendations.


Significant developments have taken place in the operational GDPS in the

Region. According to latest available information, about 15 GDPS centers, RSMCs Beijing, Jeddah, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, New Delhi, Tokyo, and NMCs Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Pyongyang, Seoul, Tehran, Ulaanbaatar operate some kind of NWP models - limited area or global. NMCs Almaty and Karachi use PCs for data processing. While these developments are encouraging, there are still large gaps in the data-processing capabilities of some Members. The data processing systems in some countries have not been automated. As a result such countries are unable to derive full benefits from the technological advances that have taken place in the recent past. For example, some centers still plot GTS/GRID products manually. The processing of NWP guidance available from major centers at NMCs which do not operate their own NWP models for weather forecasting, has become much simpler now with the availability of low cost workstations. Graphical processing of grid point values (GPV) data on workstations/PCs may be accomplished at many centers in the region with not much investment. It should be possible to implement PC based software to receive and process GTS/GRID products. RSMC New Delhi has developed a PC based Fortran decoder for the GRID messages received on GTS. The PC based decoding system is used as a backup in the event of outages of routine mainframe system for preparing operational products. The availability on Internet of high quality products from advanced fine resolution NWP systems operated by major GDPS centers within and outside the region has opened up new opportunities for NMHSs to enhance their capability in providing weather forecast service to the users.


Many of the products available from major NWP centers, e.g. extended range

forecasts from ECMWF, are in graphics image form. Our experience shows that it is

often difficult to handle the downloaded graphics image files and produce hard copy outputs in a viewable form with the commonly available software. CBS-XI had recommended that exchange of products in binary form offered a definite advantage over traditional graphical method in that the digital form of product made it possible to significantly reduce the size of the data to be transmitted. In addition, the availability of product in digital form greatly facilitated the production of charts on a variety of map projections and formats. The Working Group may like to deliberate on the issue and make recommendation to the effect that the products placed on Internet may be in digital (GRIB) form along with the decoder program (executable) to read the data file, as far as possible, in preference to the graphics image file.


Though a large number of NWP products are available to the NMHSs from the

global centers, requirements still exist for GPV products from fine resolution models for short-and very-short-range forecasting. The eleventh session of Regional Association II felt that these products should be available from within the Region. This requirement has assumed particular significance in view of the renewed emphasis on the extension of NWP outputs to provide more explicit guidance on the occurrence of severe weather in support of public weather services. The CBS extraordinary session, Karlsruhe

recommended a cascade approach for providing guidance on severe weather as a regional arrangement which includes a preliminary indicative guidance by a large center with a lead time of more than 48 hours based on probabilistic Ensemble Prediction System (EPS), a more specific warning guidance for periods less than 48 hours based on high resolution NWP output, and issue of warnings by the responsible center. The Commission noted that there were some constraints and complications in this procedures such as: (i) the definition of severe weather varies from one geographic region to another; (ii) the formulation of warnings most often requires human intervention which can be done only at the NMC level; and (iii) the predictability of some components of severe weather such as intense thunderstorms and tornadoes is limited and requires nowcasting approaches which can be operated only locally. The Commission proposed that Regional Associations make a beginning by inviting some larger centers in the respective regions to extend the range of disseminated products appropriate for

forecasting severe weather. The working group may like to take a view on this issue and make a recommendation in regard to inviting larger centers in the region to take up the above responsibility. Members' requirements will have to be ascertained through a survey. 17. One of the important issues identified by CBS-XI in regard to provision of

guidance on the occurrence of severe weather, was the exchange of severe weather warnings and advisories within the international meteorological community, the distribution of such information to the media, and coordination of activities with relief agencies, in particular the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (UN/DHA). The Commission recommended that Regional Associations should review and possibly encourage harmonization of severe weather thresholds between adjacent NMSs and the criteria by which warnings should be exchanged between NMSs. As a severe weather event might affect the areas of more than one NMS, there was the potential for conflicting warnings being issued by neighboring NMSs. The Commission therefore also recommended that RAs should review the prevailing procedures and seek to minimize the issuing of conflicting warnings within the Region. The working group may deliberate on the issue and make appropriate recommendations for undertaking the task of making a survey on the existing practices and procedures for issue of severe weather warnings by NMSs in the Region. 18. The eleventh session of Regional Association II had stated a requirement for

specialised transport/dispersion model products to be made available to the Members in Region in case of a nuclear accident or other environmental emergency. The Association invited RSMCs Beijing, Tokyo and the Regional Operational Centre (ROC) Obninsk to develop their operational facilities in the area and demonstrate their capabilities to CBSXI with a view to seeking designation as RSMCs with activity specialization in the provision of transport model products for environmental emergency response. The three centers accordingly made presentations before CBS-XI. The Commission recommended the designation of the above GDPS centers as RSMCs with activity specialization in transport model products. In this connection the Commission took note of the request made by the UN/DHA for assistance in developing and implementing an emergency

response system for chemical incidents (other than radiological events) and other nonnuclear emergencies like the recent southeast Asian forest fires. The Commission agreed that these incidents should be considered as a part of the Emergency Response Activity Programme. The RSMCs in the Region may like to take note of this requirement and tune their systems accordingly.


The CBS extraordinary session, Karlsruhe adopted the new CREX code as an

operational WMO code form (FM 95-XI Ext.98). CBS in turn recommended that CREX, in principle, should be used to represent all environmental data for which no traditional character code existed and which for various reasons, could not be transmitted in BUFR. CREX is designed to serve as a tool to avoid proliferation of new alphanumeric code forms. The Rapporteur on Data Management has made a survey on the current and planned future use of CREX by Members in Region II. A detailed report on the results of the survey is made available to the session. The working group may decide on the future course of action to promote the use of CREX/BUFR/GRIB in Region II.


Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of Data Management has conducted a survey on

the status of Y2k compliance of the computer systems in use at WWW centers in RA II. A report on the results of the survey is presented to the session (see Docs. 9 and 12).


An important recommendation of the CBS-Ext.(98), was to establish a centralised

office to provide software support, which would be the best mechanism to ensure development and ongoing maintenance of commercial quality software for dealing with WMO codes. Further developments in this activity are awaited. 22. On the use of Internet, the CBS recommended that all NMHSs should have

Internet connections, which could help NMHSs in many ways. Results of a survey on the use of Internet in Region II is presented by the Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of Data Management (see Doc.12).


The twelfth session of RA II is planned to be held in the second half of 2000. In

the course of preparing for the session, the Working Group activities should be focused on the following major issues identified in the report above: 

To review the RBSN station list in light of the remarks made in the chairman's report, taking into consideration the strategy for silent stations and stations reporting but not included in the RBSN, distribute among RA II Members proposals concerning the redesign of the RBSN prepared by the Rapporteur on Regional Aspects of GOS and adopted by the session in order to seek their concurrence or amendments; to submit updated draft proposals to the session of RA II;


To review and finalize the target list of CLIMAT and CLIMAT TEMP reporting stations in the light of the remarks made in the text;


To review the status of pilot project of UKMO in regard to use of UKSF for WWW in RA II;


To review the status of maintenance, updating and exchange of the catalogues of meteorological messages in various RTHs;


To assess the data processing requirements of NMCs in the region not equipped with any automated systems and provide necessary assistance to them to acquire the minimum level of data processing capability;


To make necessary arrangements for providing high resolution NWP output products to Members for severe weather warning guidance from within the region;

Acknowledgements 24. The Chairman of the Working Group takes this opportunity to express his sincere

gratitude to all members of the working group who actively participated in its activities and made significant contribution in achieving the objectives set out in the work

programme. Special thanks are due to all the Rapporteurs and the Co-ordinator of the subgroup on GTS who made notable contribution in accomplishment of the tasks assigned to the working group. 25. The Chairman also wishes to thank the WMO Secretariat, especially the WWW

Department for their cooperation and ready assistance in carrying out activities of the Working Group.

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