World Wildlife Fund 1113

ority of the WMO, and the GOS is critical to the effective and efficient operations of the WMO. Long-term objectives of the GOS include the standardization of observation practices and the optimization of global observation systems.

The GTS consists of land and satellite telecommunication links that connect meteorological telecommunication centers. The GTS provides efficient and reliable communication service among the three World Meteorological Centers in Melbourne, Moscow and Washington, and the 15 Regional Telecommunication Hubs that make up the Main Telecommunication Network. The six Regional Meteorological Telecommunication Networks, covering Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South-West Pacific, and Europe, ensure the collection and distribution of data to members of the WMO. The National Meteorological Telecommunication Networks make it possible for the National Meteorological Centers to collect data and to receive and disseminate weather information on a national level.

The primary aim of the GDPFS is to prepare and provide meteorological analyses to members in the most cost-effective manner possible. The GDPFS is organized to implement functions at international, regional, and national levels through the World Meteorological Centers, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers, and the National Meteorological Centers. Real-time functions include preprocessing and postprocessing of data and the preparation of forecast products. Non-real-time functions include long-term storage of data and the preparation of products for climate-related analysis.

Increasingly, the World Weather Watch provides support for developing international programs related to global climate and other environmental issues and to sustainable development. The entire continent of Africa has only 1,150 World Weather Watch stations—one per 26,000 sq. km., (10,038 sq. mi.)—even though the continent's land mass is as large as North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan put together. This represents coverage eight times lower than the WMO's recommended minimum level. The changing climate of Africa necessitates greater capacity building on the part of institutions prepared to address the likely crises that lie ahead. The World Weather Watch is vital in developing that capacity.

The World Weather Watch and its parent organization, the WMO, through the development of a permanent global weather data network, have proven critical to defining global warming as a given. As a consequence, the political and policymaking debates about climate change and its very real consequences, such as those facing Africa, have moved to a new arena. Although the World Weather Watch cannot compel individual governments to act on its findings, it can and has framed the issue of climate change on a truly global scale.

sEE ALso: Climate; United Nations.

BIBLioGRAPHY. Paul N. Edwards, "Meteorology as Infra-structural Globalism," OSIRIS (v.21, 2006); The Environment in the News, The United Nations Environment Programme, _www.unep.org/cpi/briefs/2006Nov20.doc; "The View from Space," Weatherwise (v.48/3, 1995); WMO in Brief, www.wmo.ch/pages/ab out/index_en.html.

Robin K. Dillow Rotary International Archives

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