5

World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics.
World Meteorological Organization
Leadership team

Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General )

Headquarters
7bis, avenue de la Paix, Case postale 2300. CH-1211 Geneva 2. Switzerland.
Year stablished
1950
Summary

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes international cooperation in the fields of atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics. It traces its roots back to the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), a non-governmental organization established in 1873 for the exchange of weather data and research. The World Meteorological Convention of 1947 led to the formation of the WMO as an intergovernmental organization within the UN system, with operations commencing in 1950.

Comprising 193 countries and territories, the WMO facilitates the exchange of data, information, and research among meteorological and hydrological institutions of its members, ensuring the "free and unrestricted" flow of this vital information. It collaborates with non-governmental partners and other international organizations on matters related to environmental protection, climate change, resource management, and socioeconomic development.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the WMO is governed by the World Meteorological Congress, which convenes every four years to establish policies and priorities. The Congress is overseen by an Executive Council led by the President, currently Gerhard Adrian of Germany. The WMO plays a crucial role in fostering global cooperation and knowledge sharing to address challenges related to weather, climate, and water resources, contributing to the betterment of societies worldwide.


History

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has a long history that dates back to the 19th century. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873 in Vienna, Austria. The IMO was a nongovernmental organization that served as a forum for the exchange of weather data and research among its member countries.

The IMO initially focused on gathering meteorological observations and sharing them with other countries. However, as the importance of meteorology in various sectors of society became increasingly evident, the IMO began to expand its activities to include research on atmospheric phenomena, climate, and related fields. By the early 20th century, the IMO had become an important source of weather information and research.

In the aftermath of World War II, there was a growing recognition of the need for international cooperation on meteorology and related fields. In response, the IMO convened a conference in 1947 to consider proposals for the reform of its status and structure. The conference resulted in the World Meteorological Convention, which was signed on 11 October 1947 in Washington D.C., United States. The Convention formally established the World Meteorological Organization, which would become an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations system.

The World Meteorological Organization began operations on 23 March 1950, when the Convention entered into force. Its initial membership consisted of 53 countries, but this number has since grown to 193 member countries and territories. The WMO is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and operates through a network of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in member countries.

The primary goal of the WMO is to promote international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics. Its activities include the collection and dissemination of meteorological data and information, research on weather and climate-related phenomena, the development of standards and guidelines for meteorological observation and forecasting, and the provision of technical assistance to member countries.

Over the years, the WMO has played a key role in advancing the understanding of the Earth's atmosphere and its weather and climate systems. It has helped to develop new technologies for weather observation and forecasting, and has facilitated the exchange of data and information among its member countries. The WMO has also been instrumental in promoting international cooperation on issues related to climate change, natural disaster prevention, and environmental protection.

The WMO is governed by the World Meteorological Congress, which meets every four years to set policies and priorities. The Congress is composed of representatives from member countries and territories. The WMO is led by an Executive Council, which is elected by the Congress and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the organization. The current President of the Executive Council is Gerhard Adrian of Germany, who was elected in 2019.


Goals and Purpose

The primary goal of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is to promote international cooperation in the field of atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics. This includes facilitating the exchange of information and data between meteorological and hydrological institutions worldwide, as well as providing guidance and support to member states in the development of their own meteorological and hydrological capabilities. The WMO also seeks to promote the integration of environmental considerations into national and international policy making, and to facilitate the sustainable development of natural resources.

To achieve these goals, the WMO has several specific objectives, including:

Encouraging the integration of environmental considerations into national and international policy making, and promoting sustainable development practices.

Enhancing public awareness and understanding of meteorology and related sciences, and promoting the use of weather and climate information to support decision making.

In addition to these broad goals and objectives, the WMO has developed a number of specific programs and initiatives to address key challenges and priorities in the field of meteorology and hydrology. These include programs focused on climate variability and change, disaster risk reduction, water resources management, and aviation meteorology, among others.

To further advance its goals and objectives, the WMO could consider a number of proposals, including:

Strengthening its efforts to promote the use of advanced technologies and scientific methods in the field of atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics, including through increased investment in research and development.

Expanding its programs and initiatives to address emerging issues and challenges related to climate change and other environmental pressures, such as land degradation, air pollution, and marine litter.

Enhancing its support for the development of national meteorological and hydrological services, particularly in developing countries, through increased funding, technical assistance, and capacity building.

Strengthening its partnerships with other international organizations and stakeholders, including civil society groups, the private sector, and academic institutions, to promote more effective collaboration and knowledge sharing in the field of meteorology and hydrology.

Improving its communication and outreach efforts to raise public awareness and understanding of meteorology and related sciences, and to promote the use of weather and climate information to support decision making at all levels.


Impact

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has had a significant impact on international cooperation in the fields of atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology, and geophysics. Some of the notable impacts of the WMO are:

Improved weather forecasting: The WMO has been instrumental in improving weather forecasting through the exchange of data and information between member states. This has led to more accurate weather forecasts, which are crucial for disaster risk reduction and mitigation.

Climate change research: The WMO plays a crucial role in monitoring and researching climate change through its Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). This system provides data on the state of the global climate and tracks changes over time, helping to inform policy decisions.

Disaster risk reduction: The WMO has helped to reduce the impact of natural disasters by providing member states with early warning systems and information on extreme weather events. This has enabled countries to take preventive measures and evacuate people in high-risk areas, saving lives and reducing property damage.

Environmental protection: The WMO collaborates with other international organizations to promote environmental protection and sustainable development. This includes working on projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air and water quality, and protect biodiversity.

Capacity building: The WMO provides training and capacity building to member states, particularly those in developing countries, to help them improve their meteorological and hydrological services. This helps to ensure that all countries have access to accurate weather and climate information, which is crucial for sustainable development.


References
World Meteorological Organization
Leadership team

Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General )

Headquarters
7bis, avenue de la Paix, Case postale 2300. CH-1211 Geneva 2. Switzerland.
Year stablished
1950