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Second WMO International Conference on Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change

The 2nd WMO International Conference on Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone and Climate Change will begin here tomorrow. The 3-daY Conference is being organized by the India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, in collaboration with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in order to shed light on the scientific basis and the complexities inherent in combating hazardous impacts of tropical cyclones. 

The first International conference on Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone & Climate Change was held in Muscat, Oman during 8-11 March 2009.

Tropical cyclones are one of the most devastating natural disasters having taken more than half a million lives all over the world in the last five decades. More than 75% of total tropical cyclones over the globe causing the human deaths of 5,000 or more have occurred over the north Indian Ocean during past 300 years. 

This high vulnerability may be attributed to various factors including geographical conditions and limitations of observations, prediction systems, understanding of physical processes, early warning systems and disaster management processes, apart from the socio-economic conditions of the region.

Understanding the patterns of genesis, intensity & movement of tropical cyclones and associated adverse weather like heavy rain, gale wind, storm surge & coastal inundation assumed even more importance in recent years in the scenario of global climate change. In association with an increasing trend in global temperature, it is of interest to examine all the above features of tropical cyclones. In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessed an increase in tropical cyclone intensity across various ocean basins as likely to occur with climate warming. The Indian Ocean region, including the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal is of particular concern because of the high population density along its coastlines.

The purpose of the Conference is to advance the science of climate change impacts on tropical cyclones, particularly for nations surrounding the Indian Ocean. Since adaptation and mitigation are important aspects of the problem, papers are also encouraged on operational Forecasting and Warning Systems in the Indian Ocean region, on societal impact of Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclones, on assessment of risk and vulnerability and on disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation for tropical cyclones. 

The Conference will include a number of Workshop sessions or Panel discussions to explore these and other issues. Papers will be presented by the renowned scientists from countries located within the Indian Ocean cyclone basins and also from international research community. It is hoped an assessment statement delineating the major issues will be an outcome of the Conference. It is envisioned that findings and recommendations from the Conference will inform the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), due in 2014. Accordingly the extended abstracts from this conference will be published as WMO conference proceedings.

The conference will bring together leading climate change and tropical cyclone experts, from both the research and operational meteorological environments, to discuss the latest research, including the assessments made by the WMO Expert Team (ET) on Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Cyclones (CCITC) published in the March 2010 issue of Nature Geoscience which mentions the likelihood of increased intense tropical cyclone activity in some regions over the coming century due to green house gas-induced climate warming. 

The main focus of the conference will be on the linkage between tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean and climate change. The broad thematic areas of the conference, focused on the Indian Ocean, are Climate change and tropical cyclone activity over the Indian Ocean, Tropical cyclone and climate change related physical science themes and Impact of cyclones on economy, infrastructure and society.



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