"Up Front" Newsletter: IABM The International Association of Broadcast Meteorologists: Up Front Digital Newsletter

IABM to Hold AGM

The 2019 Annual General Meeting of the IABM will be held concurrently with the European Meteorological Society conference in Lyngby, about 10 km north of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The conference is convening at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) on the Lyngby Campus. The IABM meeting is scheduled for the "Glass Hall" at 1800 on Wednesday, September 11th, directly after the conclusion of the Round Table on Accreditation. For anyone who is unable to attend, we will effort a Skype connection. Anyone interested should send their Skype handle to chairman@iabm.org . Information about the EMS conference, which will be held September 9-13, can be found at https://www.ems2019.eu/ .

16th International Weather Forum takes place in Paris

Two hundred participants from 30 countries gathered in Paris for the 2019 International Weather Forum (Le Forum International de la Météo et du Climat) in Paris.

The Forum has brought together TV weather presenters from across the world for many years. Christian Vannier is the long-time organizer of the Forum, which was originally created by the late François Fandeux in 1991. The Forum is closely associated with Météo et Climat, the French Meteorological Society.

The conference included a media workshop held at the CNES (French National Center for Space Studies), involving professionals discussing communication of climate change. It included talks about common strategies, and sharing of knowledge and expertise. Broadcasters also shared video airchecks of their television weather presentations with each other.

The main session of the conference included remarks from scientific and government leaders, including an address by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. There was also a weather and climate exhibition near the Hotel de Ville which the general public was invited to attend.

More information about this year’s media workshop can be found at:

Television weather presenters taking part in a round table discussion. From left: Paul Gross (USA), Evelyn Dheliat (France), Helga Van Leur (Netherlands), Martha Lunda (Malawi), and Deqiao Kong (China). FIM photo.

European Meteorological Society to meet in Denmark

The EMS Annual Meeting 2019 will be held from 9 to 13 September 2019 at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) on the Lyngby Campus near Copenhagen, Denmark.

The media session will be held on Thursday, September 12. During that session - in addition to a variety of presentations - the EMS media awards will be presented. The four media awards are the Broadcast Meteorologist Award, the Journalist Award, the Outreach and Communication Award, and the TV Weather Forecast Award.

The Harry Otten Prize for Innovation in Meteorology, which carries a cash prize of 25,000 euros, will also be presented. The three finalists competing for the award are:

EnLight – New way to communicate HD weather-data about the incoming weather hazards to citizens - Yann Dufournet, Igor Stepanov, and Geanny Amor dos Santos

ADS-B Interferometry - A new method of measuring atmospheric refractivity - Malcom Kitchen and Chris Brunt

VineForecast - An interactive tool to generate individual predictions of vine diseases and phenology - Paul Petersik

Last year, more than 700 participants from 50 countries attended EMS when it was held in Budapest.

AMS Broadcasters meet in San Diego

By President Jay Trobec

The 47th AMS Conference on Broadcast Meteorology was held jointly with the 5th AMS Conference on Weather Warnings and Communication in San Diego. About a hundred participants were in attendance for the three day event.

More than eighty presentations covering a wide variety of topics, such as western US weather, education and mentoring, fire weather, TV station science reporting, weather service operations, weather history, digital media, and the business of TV weather.

The entire Broadcast Conference program - along with recordings of all of the presentations - are available online at button:

At left: Broadcast meteorologist Bree Sunshine Smith (Nashville-USA) spoke on “Gender Equity: What to do and say when you don’t know what to do or say.”

The 48th Broadcast Conference will be held jointly with the AMS annual meeting in Boston, January 12-16, 2020. The meeting will be a special celebration of the centennial of the AMS, which was founded in 1919. Many special events are planned in addition to the usual programs for scientists, educators, students, and other professionals. Usually about four thousand people attend. Information on the Broadcast Conference and the AMS centennial meeting can be found at:

The first German WMO-President - A recognition of Germany’s global commitment to protection against weather impacts and climate change adaptation.

Inge Niedek, Vice-chair of IABM

The World Meteorological Congress elected Prof. Dr. Gerhard Adrian, the President of the German National Weather Service, as President of the World Meteorological Organization for a four-year term in office. https://www.dwd.de/EN/press/press_release/EN/2019/20190613_adrian_as_wmo_president

Prof. Adrian won against his US-colleague Louis Uccellini. His election could be valued as a signal against the tendency in the US to strengthen the private sector. Whereas Prof. Adrian propagates a further improvement for the global and free exchange of relevant weather-data between member-states of WMO (193 members) and engaging and supporting more less developed countries in this effort. Spirits might divide over this issue. Should the world follow the ideas of the Trump administration planning to strongly shorten the budget of the National Weather Service and supporting privatization and profit-maximization as the primary goal? Who when not NMHS’s would take on the responsibility and the role of protecting life and property by distributing freely available weather information and severe weather warnings? They also play a key role of research and building weather and climate resilience. The most important task of the WMO should be to strengthen the fundamental role of the NMHS’s as reliable collector and distributor of high-quality meteorological and climatological data, with public and private partnerships when necessary, but for the overall benefit and safety of the society.

IABM and WMO (see also our history: https://www.iabm.org/history )

Members of IABM are working in the world of Weather and Media, depending on both for high-quality resources to do their job properly but belonging fully to neither. Most of our members are professional Weather broadcasters, whether private, state or independent. They are making a huge contribution in communicating weather, climate and warnings as trusted persons to a broad spectrum of viewers all over the world and thus helping WMO in the communication-process during ongoing climate-change and future challenges. Our efforts entering into dialogue with WMO date back to 1998, where IABM was granted consultative status with WMO.

Our Mission Statement (see below) is a mirror of the profound capabilities of our members and should drive further activities.


• To represent the worldwide broadcast meteorology community.
• To collaboratively work with WMO through our Observer Status, and with other appropriate organizations including SMF/FIM, AMS, EMS and NMHS’s, to support and promote the profession of Broadcast Meteorology.
• To support and encourage members in the improved delivery of weather and climate services to the public, especially those from developing countries.
• To promote, encourage and organize conferences and other opportunities for members to network and engage in Continuing Professional Development.
• To actively encourage members to maintain the highest professional standards through promoting appropriate initiatives and mechanisms.
• To encourage members to contribute to disaster risk reduction through the provision of timely and accurate weather forecasts and warnings to the public.
• To actively support and develop regional sub-groups to enhance the focus on national and regional weather broadcast issues.

Image: Bildkraftwerk/Bernd Lammel/DWD

The IABM and the Global Weather Enterprise.

By IABM Treasurer Gerald Flemming

Over the past few years, a new term has entered the language of international meteorology – the Global Weather Enterprise. In the U.S.A., the term “Weather Enterprise” has been long in use, describing holistically the work of the public, private and academic sectors in the US weather business. The concept of the “Global Weather Enterprise” can be traced back to the “World Weather Open Science Conference” (WWOSC) held in Montreal, Canada in August 2014, and the concept seeks to extend the US practice worldwide, recognising the mutual benefits to be gained from all three sectors working together in a coordinated and collaborative manner in the global context.

To understand why this focus on global collaboration has come about now, we must look a little into the history of operational meteorology. The costs involved in collecting weather observations in an organised and consistent manner are not small, and up to very recently this activity was the exclusive preserve of government agencies, either military of civil in nature. The launch of the first weather satellites in the early 1960’s continued this reality; the cost of such endeavours was such that only the most wealthy and advanced countries could provide this technology. Indeed, in Europe the provision of weather satellites was only realised through a collaborative effort when 14 countries (now 30) came together to pool their resources.

Similarly, the development and operational provision of numerical weather prediction on a global basis was always an expensive business, and while there are now many global models to choose from they are still primarily provided by well-resourced countries such as the US, UK, Germany, France, China, Russia, Japan, Canada etc along with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting.

This landscape is rapidly changing. With the automation of weather observations and the rapid miniaturisation of weather sensors, putting together a weather observation network can now be accomplished at much lower cost. Private companies such as Panasonic have moved into the business of developing and running global-scale weather models. It is worth noting that the weather broadcast industry prefigured many of these developments. Many broadcast companies developed mesoscale observing networks within their areas of coverage to augment the observations available from the public Met Services; similarly many installed weather radars to provide a better forecast service to their viewers.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is the pre-eminent global body for the coordination of world meteorology. As a UN treaty-based organisation it is composed of nation-states as Members. Permanent Representatives (PRs) of Members who attend WMO meetings are supposed to represent the entirety of the meteorological enterprise in their countries. However, PRs are typically the Directors of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), so they tend to represent only the public sector; the NMHSs. In many countries of course – especially developing countries – the NMHSs represent the entirety of meteorology in that country; there is no private sector to speak of. That, however, is changing quickly.

WMO has been open to voices from the private sector and academia for some decades; indeed it was again the weather broadcast sector that led the way in this regard when the IABM was granted Observer status with WMO back in 1997. Since then the organisation for the “Hydrometeorological Equipment Industry” (HMEI) has also been granted such status, as have a number of bodies such as the International Council for Science (ICSU) representing the academic sector.

WMO has many strengths but, being a UN treaty-based organisation, speed of reaction and agility are not conspicuous amongst them. Thus the need to create a forum where Public, Private and Academic sectors could meet on neutral” ground. The World Bank, which has invested heavily in the infrastructure and development of many NMHSs in vulnerable parts of the world, took on this task in the wake of the WWOSC conference, and has organised a series of “World Café” events where the “big issues” facing the Global Weather Enterprise can be discussed openly and informally. The IABM has participated at a number of these events, including those held in conjunction with the AMS Annual Meeting in Austin (Jan 2018), the EMS Annual Meeting in Budapest (Sept 2018), the Meteorology International Exhibition in Amsterdam (Oct 2018) and InterMet Asia in Singapore (March 2019).

The discussions and interactions at these World Café gatherings paved the way for WMO-organised “Open Consultative Platform” which was held in conjunction with the quadrennial WMO Congress in Geneva in early June. The Chair of the IABM, Dr Jay Trobec, participated in the OCP and contributed as one of the 42 global leaders in Meteorology gathered there; he has written a separate account of this event, which was moderated by to other distinguished broadcast meteorologists; Erica Grow and Tomas Molina.

Engagement with the WMO and the GWE has provided the IABM with a strong voice to represent Broadcast Meteorology. What that voice should say depends on you – the members of the IABM and the active weather broadcasters, both public and private sector, worldwide. We need your strong input into IABM affairs so that the offices and committee of the Association can fully and adequately represent you and your interests.

IABM presence at the WMO Congress

By IABM President Jay Trobec

Television broadcasters Tomas Molina (left) and Erica Grow lead the discussion in Geneva.

The IAM contributed to discussions leading to the Open Consultative Platform, created during the 2019 WMO Congress in Geneva.

The Open Consultative Platform stresses the importance of utilizing all three sectors (public, private, and academic) in the global weather enterprise. Many – though not all – IABM members are broadcasters in the private sector. The private sector is taking on an increasingly important role in weather forecasting worldwide. More about the meeting can be found here: https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/public-private-sector-link-vital-weather-forecasting

The high-level meeting in Geneva was co-moderated by Erica Grow (WNBC-New York City) and Tomas Molina (TV Catalunya-Barcelona). Having observer status with the WMO, the IABM was also invited to participate as a delegate during the two-day meeting. IABM Treasurer Gerald Fleming (Irish Met Service) was heavily involved in the drafting of the statement resulting from the meeting.

Further discussions regarding the Open Consultative Platform are planned for 2020.

Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Annual Meeting

By Claire Martin

CMOS is the national society of individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing atmospheric and oceanic sciences and related environmental disciplines in Canada. The Society’s aim is to promote meteorology and oceanography in Canada, and it is a major non-governmental organization serving the interests of meteorologists, climatologists, oceanographers, hydrologists and cryospheric scientists in Canada.

The annual CMOS meeting will be held in Montreal, QC in July 2019 in conjunction with the centennial congress of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.

During this large joint meeting a “special session” is being offered - a meteorological broadcaster/climate communicators workshop.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is proud to host this workshop to improve the overall understanding of the needs of broadcasters, to develop mutually acceptable best practices in delivering weather and climate messages, and to strengthen the relationships that already exist within the broader science communication community.

The goal of this workshop is to bring broadcast meteorologists together with government and academic climate scientists to discuss challenges, to identify areas of greatest need, and to come together as a community to prioritize next steps for resolution.

Gerald Fleming receives EMS Silver Medal

For outstanding contribution to enhancing communication

New Executive Leadership

The IABM would like to congratulate and welcome the new IABM President, Jay Trobec.

Climate Politics in the USA

-Contributed by Inge Niedek

"As you like it", climate sience in the light of the Trump-Administration - when Politics take over and shape climate-policy, so that it fits in the frame of unique economical interests. Environmental and health-aspects - neglected! Trump is planning a "Roll-Back" of siginificant climate-legislation and -rules of the Obama-administration, muggle with the National Climate Assessment and make everything suitable "as he likes it".

New IABM Secretary

Mike Favetta elected Secretary and Director of Publications at EMS 2018.


By Dr. José Rubiera*, Canal Caribe TV

Photos of tornado destruction from Jose Rubiera, Cuba
A rare tornado broke the quietness of Havana on Sunday evening January 27, 2019. It was such a weird occurrence that it hasn´t happened in the 500 year of existence of the City, which is celebrating this year the 500th Anniversary of its founding.

Tornadoes are few in Cuba, however. There is an average of 10 tornados a year, but much weather EF-O and EF-1 most of them, and they are generated usually in Summer severe thunderstorms that develop in the flat terrain inland over Western and Central Cuba.

But there are also tornados during Winter, and very important ones because of their strength. These are generated in conditions that are quite similar to those that happen in the US Midwest during Winter. These tornadoes are usually stronger that the Cuban Summer tornadoes. They have also a longer life span and track.

As an example, the tornado of December 26, 1940, another EF-4, destroyed the town of Bejucal in Western Cuba, with a death toll of 13 people. Or, the tornado outbreak of March 16, 1983, in which 7 tornados were generated near Mariel, in Western Cuba, with damages and dead people, as well.

These Winter tornados have their origin in a similar weather pattern, such as an approaching cold front, a low pressure system developing in the front over the Gulf of Mexico or over Western Cuba, and a flow of warm and humid air coming from the Northwestern Caribbean Sea.

There was a watch for severe thunderstorm issued from Friday January 25th for Western Cuba, because of the general weather patthen predicted for Sunday with the approaching from and the development of the low pressure system in low latitude. This watch was sustained during Saturday and Sunday in every one of the TV weather shows. Of course, nobody could know beforehand that a tornado would happen just over Havana.

The tornado began its destruction path around 8:20 pm Sunday January 27, 2019, over José Marti neighborhood and Casino Deportivo, with a general movement towards the ENE, and exited the Northern coast East of Havana, over a point known as Celimar, but much weaker at 8: 46 pm. It affected five very populated municipalities. The death toll was of 7 people, 200 injured and almost 10,000 displaced people that had to go to temporary shelters. There was great destruction in the whole swath, that included a hospital, that had to be evacuated when the storm was already being felt. A number of 804 well built houses were completely destroyed, while more than 7,800 were partially damaged.

An assessment was made with the use of helicopters and drones. In this survey, it could be seen that the entire tornado swath over land was 20 kilometers long, with a life span of 26 minutes and a medium translational speed of 46 kilometers per hour.

The width of the swath varied from 50 meters wide at the beginning to an average of 200 meters, though in several areas it had a width of 350 meters.

The damage survey showed that it was an intense EF-4 tornado in the Enhance Fujita Tornado Scale (winds 267 - 322 kilometers per hour). The picture of damages greatly supports this assessment.

There was only one photograph taken of the tornado which I showed on TV immediately after the tornado to explain the audience what happened, but there was only one video clip taken from a home security camera that was located on the roof of a family home in 10 de Octubre municipality, that I could recover one day after the hit. One frame of this video accompany this note, where the tornado can be seen in the middle of the screen as well as the time the image was taken. I presented this video, along with a map, as well as more information and details of the tornado track, in my Canal Caribe TV Weather Show on Monday January 28th .

There were a fast and great movement towards recovery. Just 10 days after the hit of the tornado all the area had electricity. One month after, 60 % of partially destroyed homes were repaired, while 101 homes of the 804 completely destroyed, had been rebuilt. Almost all, or 95%, of health, water, energy and communication infrastructure were operational.

*Jose Rubiera is a Ph.D, Full Professor at Havana University, and Honored Academician of the Cuban National Academy of Sciences. He is also Vice-Chairman of the WMO RA-IV Hurricane Committee, and a Member of the Steering Group for Disaster Risk Reduction of the International Council for Science (ICS) Latin-American and Caribbean Office. He began presenting Weather for the first time in National television in 1981, and currently has 3 daily TV shows in Canal Caribe TV, broadcasted to Cuba and the Caribbean area.

Tornado Touches Down in Cuba

A tornado ripped through the Cuban capital late Sunday, killing at least three people and injuring 172...

Tsunamis in Ireland

It's not just tsunamis that can change the landscape: storms shifted giant boulders four times the size of a house on the coast of Ireland in the winter of 2013-14, leading researchers to rethink the maximum energy storm waves can have -- and the damage they can do.

El Niño is back

On Thursday, scientists at the Climate Prediction Center confirmed the climate pattern formed in the Pacific this week and will likely last though Spring.

UK has hottest Winter weather ever

The mercury shot up past 70 degrees Tuesday (21.2 Celsius) in southwest London’s Kew Gardens, breaking the record for the United Kingdom’s hottest temperature in February or any winter month (December through February), set just the day before.

See the video explanation from the Met Office

Torrential Rains in Greece cause Flooding

Contributed by Sakis Arnaoutoglou

A breeder is missing after his car was swept away and two women were trapped in their home when rocks fell on it bringing the roof to collapse.


Created with images by Kaushik Panchal - "untitled image" • Alto Crew - "untitled image" • O12 - "thunderstorm flashes night" • Matt Hardy - "untitled image" • Daniel Brubaker - "untitled image" • PublicDomainPictures - "celsius centigrade gauge" • Hermann - "high water shield setting"