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Home > Cooperation with the UN > UIC and UN Agencies and Programs > Our Collaboration with the WMO

Our Collaboration with the WMO

Friday 7 September 2012

The Word Meteorological Organization asked us twice to write an article about adaptation to climate change.

Background information

Since 1950, the World Meteorological Organization has been a specialised UN agency for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and it plays a paramount role in climate change discussions as it provides the right and relevant information that enable the appropriate stakeholders to act.

As UIC and its members have mustered the will to adapt to climate change and because the WMO is interesting in widespreading best practices in order to reinforce cooperation, they asked us twice to write an article for the bi-annual WMO publication.

UIC first contribution

Our former Sustainable Development Senior Advisor, Margrethe Sagevik, wrote an article entitled “Railway infrastructure and adaptation to climate change” which was published in 2008 in the official UN-WMO book Climate Sense, published by Tudor Rose , under the section “Adaptation and mitigation strategies”. For more information about Climate Sense, click here.

UIC second contribution

Earlier on in August 2012, Mr. Sean Nicklin asked us to write a new article for the WMO new publication named Climate ExChange that will be published in November 2012, after having been launched during the Extraordinary Session of the World Meteorological Congress (Geneva 29-30 October 2012) as well as the Technical Conference on Climate Services (Geneva 26-27 October 2012).

According to him “Climate ExChange is a fully illustrated 250-page book with over one hundred authors relating their work in light of climate change and variability at international, regional, national, municipal and local levels of activity. Their commentaries will draw upon experiences around the world reflecting how the environment impacts them, how climate forecasting helps them make informed decisions, and to outline changes needed to improve that decision-making. In short the book will promote the application of climate information and predictions to societal problems, and how to enable adaptation to climate variability and change in areas such as agriculture, water, health, and sustainable development in general.” More information about Climate ExChange available here

The Sustainable Development Unit wrote an article about the ARISCC project, ( Adaptation of Railway Infrastructure to Climate Change) explaining how UIC members were able to improve their infrastructures, for instance, thanks to the information given by the climate and meteorological centre.

We showed that right information was paramount to achieve the vulnerability mapping process. Indeed, to make a vulnerability mapping, risks needed to be assessed and to do so, companies are advised to grab past weather information and store them into a database. These data can be provided by the climate centres.
Once this has been done, they also have to assess the quality of infrastructure’s assets.
Finally, they have to use regional models and approaches, generally provided by climate institutions, in order to see what will happen in the future.
With this three-fold process (past, present, future), railways companies know what happened, the current state of the art and what is likely to happen. This enables them to do vulnerability mappings that lead them to act concretely, for instance by reinforcing their infrastructure assets, taking preventive measures...
Railways have to adapt to many different kinds of weather : wet, nordic, desert conditions ... and we have made a lot of progresses.

A train adapting to Nordic conditions :

To have more information please see the ARISCC project or read our article in November !