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WMO launches forum to improve Arctic weather forecasts

The first ever Pan-Arctic Regional Climate Outlook Forum (PARCOF) was held in May to provide predictions for the forthcoming summer season in the Arctic. The forum is part of an international drive to improve weather, climate and sea ice forecasts in a region undergoing rapid environmental change.

According to the outlook, surface temperatures are expected to continue to be above average for June, July and August 2018, and sea ice is forecast to be below normal for most of the Arctic.

The World Meteorological Organization co-sponsored the 15-16 May meeting, which was hosted by Environment and Climate Change Canada in Ottawa and was attended by member countries of the Arctic Council.

Designed as a two-way dialogue, the session heard from representatives of Arctic indigenous organisations who have lived for generations in the Arctic and were able to their knowledge about changing conditions. The climate forum also invited commercial shipping stakeholders from the dry-bulk and tourism sectors, who need access to climate and weather information in the Arctic to better inform their activities.

“Generations, over the past century, have felt temperatures increase [in the Arctic] at a rate almost twice that of the rest of the world. They’re seeing changes in permafrost that have serious implications for local infrastructure. And they’re facing threats to their food security and traditional ways of life,” said Martine Dubuc, associate deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

PARCOF is the first step towards the establishment of an Arctic Regional Climate Centre Network, which is based on WMO’s Regional Climate Centre concept and will receive active contributions from all the Arctic Council member countries.

To read a full summary of the Pan-Arctic Climate Outlook for summer 2018, click here. - May 2018

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