Part 3

Prime position
on the world stage

International cooperation is part and parcel of the work of any meteorological and climate service, in that they need access to data produced all over the world in order to operate efficiently. Moreover, research activities are usually undertaken in an international context. Météo-France therefore sets great store by cooperation – particularly at European but also at global level.

In Europe, cooperation between the National Meteorological Services (NMSs) is organized around three organizations: two intergovernmental – the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) – and the European Meteorological Services Network EUMETNET, a grouping of 31 NMSs. Météo-France plays a very active part in the governance and work of these bodies, whose three directors currently in office have all incidentally worked at our institution.

Internationally, Météo-France primarily contributes through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), whose priorities are entirely in line with France’s own and bear on climate change, reducing the risk of disasters and supporting capacity-building in developing countries. Météo-France conducts a wide range of important activities within the WMO thanks to the willingness of its experts to take part in all sorts of operational or development activities. Not only that, but under the auspices of the WMO, Météo-France carries out various operational and/or coordination missions at regional level. One example is its Inter-Regional Management for the Indian Ocean (DIROI) which, as a tropical cyclone Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC), conducts operational monitoring of the development and movement of tropical low-pressure systems on behalf of some fifteen countries in the Indian Ocean.

David Goutx, Chairperson of the WMO’s Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South-West Indian Ocean

Photographie David Goutx
David Goutx. © Météo-France, Jean-François Boyer.

In May 2016, David Goutx, Director of the DIROI, was appointed as Chairperson of the Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South-West Indian Ocean for a four-year term. This committee brings together the heads of the meteorological services of the islands directly endangered by the cyclone risk (Comores, Reunion, Mayotte, Mauritius, Seychelles) and most of the Southern African countries directly or indirectly concerned (Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe). Its meetings provide an opportunity to go back over meteorological and cyclone events and the difficulties encountered in terms of hazard forecasting and management, with a view to improving regional cooperation procedures and updating the Operational Plan.

European programme Copernicus: Météo-France is contributing to the atmosphere, climate and marine environment components

Carte de prévision de la teneur en ozone atmosphérique
Forecast of the ozone levels in the atmosphere, in μg/m3 (7 February 2017).

The European programme Copernicus aims at pooling, between Member States, their skills and observations in situ as well as those retrieved from satellites on the environment and security, with a view to building "European general interest services underpinned by free, full and open access” for the benefit of environmental policies and citizens.

Between now and 2020 Copernicus is on target to deliver operational datasets and information services across the following six thematic streams: atmosphere monitoring, land monitoring, marine environment monitoring, emergency management, climate change and security.

Météo-France is committed to three of these:

– Atmosphere

Together with the French National competence centre for Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection (INERIS), Météo-France oversees the air quality analysis and forecasting services in Europe and contributes to research seeking to develop and improve different components of the services. Since June 2016, a large number of datasets and some 800 products (hourly forecasts for 10 pollutants with four-day lead times, analyses for the past day and annual reanalyses) can be accessed at www.regional.atmosphere.copernicus.eu.

– Climate change

Météo-France delivers global seasonal forecasts and will play a part in developing new seasonal forecasting products, particularly with respect to the occurrence of extreme weather events.

– Marine environment

The Copernicus Marine Service aspires to provide free and open access to datasets on the physical state of the ocean, its dynamics and on the marine ecosystems of the globe and European seas – on the surface and at depth. Mercator Océan, a subsidiary of Météo-France, coordinates this component on the European ocean zone. Météo-France also offers up its expertise in wave modelling.

Managing extreme weather events in the Antilles: stepping up cooperation

On 21 June, at the WMO headquarters, Météo-France and the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) signed a framework agreement aimed at stepping up regional cooperation in the Caribbean on meteorology, climate and weather hazards.

This agreement will particularly give Météo-France’s Antilles-Guiana Management a working framework, overseen by the WMO, for implementing a project aimed at better anticipating and managing severe weather events across the Antilles – from Trinidad as far as Haiti. Like the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami as regards forecasting cyclones and coordinating warnings during cyclone threats in the region, Météo-France’s Martinique centre will house a regional specialized meteorological centre in Lamentin. This will provide regional guidance and ongoing support for managing severe weather events, together with the NHC. The aim is to make sure each country or territory coming under threat can learn of the danger and organize itself accordingly

Météo-France committed alongside the National Meteorology Institute in Tunisia

The National Meteorology Institute in Tunisia (INM) and Météo-France have always worked closely together both in terms of training and research on numerical climate and weather prediction models.

In 2015, Météo-France was selected during a European Commission call for proposals – financed by the latter up to €1.35m – to lend institutional assistance in scaling up the INM’s capacities.

Started up in October 2015, this project is part of the INM’s new strategy geared towards renovating its technical infrastructure and modernizing its organizational and operational methods to enable it to fully meet the expectations of its beneficiaries.

This far-reaching, innovative initiative encompasses the full spectrum of a meteorological service’s remit. Over and above the posting of a meteorological engineer to work at the INM, some thirty experts at Météo-France have climbed aboard the initiative, which is also drawing on the whole of the institution’s expertise. In 2016, over 50 missions and 150 public expert appraisal days were accomplished by Météo-France staff for the benefit of the INM.

 

Météo-France at COP22

Affiche de la COP 22

A few days after the Paris Agreement entered into force, Marrakesh hosted the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) from 7 to 18 November. Météo-France attended as part of a conference in the “Blue Zone” on the topic: “Water cycle and climate change, from an understanding of the phenomena through to climate services”. Véronique Ducrocq and Maryvonne Kerdoncuff, both climatologists, presented the research conducted on understanding and modelling the water cycle, to support the development of climate services – not least as part of the international project HYMEX on the water cycle in the Mediterranean.