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  • Date 2023-09-21
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No. 4 May 2020

WMO Sand and Dust Storm – Warning Advisory and Assessment System SDS-WAS
Sand and dust storms SDSs have been recognized by recent United Nations General Assemblies and World Meteorological Congresses as severe hazards that can affect weather, climate, the environment, health and economies in many parts of the world. To combat these hazards, operational SDS foreting, warning advisory and information assessment services need to be provided for various regions of the world in a globally coordinated and harmonized manner. Since 2004, and at the request of more than 40 countries, WMO has taken the lead in this area and established the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System SDS-WAS to develop, refine and provide a basis for distributing to the global community products that can be used to reduce the adverse impacts of SDSs and to assess the effects of SDSs on societies and on the environment.
At present, SDS-WAS nodes are spread all over the world, including Asian, European and Pan-American nodes. China Meteorological Administration CMA plays an important role in SDS-WAS. Aside from the fact that China was the initiating country of SDS-WAS, as well as the country responsible for establishing the initial Asian regional center, the WMO SDS-WAS Asian dust storm operational foret regional center was also set up in the CMA in 2017, with the National Meteorological Center being responsible for the specific operational foreting assignments and the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences CAMS providing scientific support. Prof. Xiaoye Zhang, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, is currently the Chairman of the WMO SDS-WAS Steering Committee SC.
In June 2019, the Eighteenth World Meteorological Congress approved Resolution 19 Cg-18 – Enhancing cooperation for monitoring and foreting sand and dust storms. Congress noted the progress made regarding the implementation of SDS-WAS and suggested that Member Countries promote international cooperation to combat SDSs through the exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices and by offering training courses. Congress also suggested that Member Countries enhance their capacity-building efforts and their provision of technical assistance in order to monitor and foret SDSs and to support the implementation of the national, regional and global action plans of affected countries.

In May 2020, WMO published the fourth dust Bulletin which will be subsequently translated into multiple languages. The bulletin outlined the atmospheric dust content and main sandstorm events over the world in 2019, and introduced the Asian dust source identification, ice core foret experiments, predictability in sub-seasonal-to-seasonal forets, dust aerosol in east Asia, seasonal Asian dust prediction in East Asia, impact of aerosol including dust on weather foreting, observation support of aerosol radiative properties from CARSNET, CMA to SDS-WAS, as well as the collaboration with United Nations Coalition to combat sand and dust storms.

Figure 1. a Annual mean surface concentration of mineral dust in 2019 and b Anomaly of the annual mean surface dust concentration in 2019 relative to the 1981–2010 mean.

Figure 2: Comparison between observed SDS concentrations and foret dust surface concentrations μg/m3 by best ensemble foret at 0000 UTC on 28 October 2019 from the Asian Node. Blue symbols S indicate the weather stations dust was recorded. Source: Beijing Dust Foret Centre

Details of the bulletin can be found at the following website: